Your dryer is on one side while the designated outlet for it is on the other. And you don’t want to move around the heavy machine. The solution? An extension cord.
How to pick and install an extension cord for the dryer?
First, you’ll have to measure the distance between the dryer and the outlet. Now get an extension cord that’s a bit longer than that. Make sure the extension cord matches your dryer power cord’s prong layout. For a DIY extension cord, you’ll need 4 11/16 boxes, a dryer plug, and an extension cable. Wire everything properly and you’ll have an extension cord.
There you have a brief solution to the extension cord problem. But you’ll need more than that. Read along to learn about the process in detail.
Let’s get on with it then!
Off the Shelf Extension Cord Solution
You can find off-the-shelf extension cords that are simply plug and play. But you have to choose the right one.
For that, you need to check your dryer power cord, as well as the dryer outlet. You’ll need to match the prong layouts.
All newer houses are required by the NEC to use 4 prong dryer outlets. However, some older houses still use 3 prong outlets.
There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when getting a new extension cord.
As the cord’s length increases so does the resistance in the wire. That’s why longer wires are rated for lower currents.
You need to first decide on the length of the extension cord. Then look at the gauge. The lower the gauge the more conductive the wire. A lower gauge means the wire has a larger diameter.
This larger diameter allows for a greater flow of electrons. Thus conducting more electricity. You should look for an extension cord that uses 10 gauge wire.
Last of all, remember that the cord must be rated for 30 amps. Most household dryers pull 30 amps from the wall.
The NEC actually requires houses to put the dryer outlet on a dedicated 240V circuit. And put a 30 amp breaker on the circuit.
Hook a dryer up to a shared circuit and you’ll be tripping the circuit very often. So it’s best to abide by the guidelines.
Longer cords or one’s that use thinner wires are rated for lower amperage. So you have to make sure to check the current rating while buying the cord.
Here are a few suggestions from us:
Either of the products will do the job.
DIY Extension Cord Solution
Maybe you can’t find an off-the-shelf solution or don’t need a 25ft extender. What then? Well, then you can go for a DIY solution.
It’s best you try this only if you have experience with electrical works. Since you’ll be handling wires you risk getting shocked without proper safety measures.
You should also put a child-safe outlet box over the dryer outlet. The dryer outlet supplies both a high current and high voltage.
It’s necessary to keep your child safe from electrical outlets. Almost 2500 children are rushed to the hospital with electrical injuries every year.
You’ll need experience and a few tools to get this DIY project done.
Keep the following tools on hand:
- A screwdriver
- A pair of pliers
- A 4 11/16 box
- A 30 amp dryer plug
- A dryer power cable
When you have these on hand you can get to the project. The process is quite simple. We’ve broken it down to make it easy for you.
Step 1: Dealing with the Box
Ensure your own safety first. Now you need to take the box and make a hole for the cable. Conveniently, the box comes with holes. They’re covered with knockouts.
Take out a knockout of your choosing. Choose the one that matches your cable’s width.
Step 2: Threading the Cable
Next step is putting the cable into the box. For this step, you’ll need the screwdriver and the pliers.
First, loosen the threaded piece on the cable. Next, take out the tightening nut. Then screw the threaded piece back on.
Now, stick the cable into the box and put the tightening nut on the inside. Hold the nut with the pliers while you thread the cable by hand.
Step 3: Attaching the Dryer Plug
This step will require some wiring. First, attach the ground wire from the cable to the box. Next, take an additional piece of wire and attach it to the box as well.
When that’s done, put the dryer plug on. And unscrew all of the screws behind the contact points.
Now you get to the wiring. First, attach the additional ground wire in the box to the top contact point.
Next, you’ll need to attach the neutral wire to the contact point opposite to ground. And finally, put the black and red wires in.
Step 4: Tying It All Up
Once the wiring is done, it’s time to put the lid on. Don’t just put the outlet on top and screw it in place.
Instead, twist the outlet once. Match up the grooves on the outlet to the screw on the box. And then slide one end of the outlet in.
The other end of the outlet should just drop in place. Now tighten all the screws and voilà! You have yourself an extension cord.
Mismatched Dryer Cord and Outlet Solution
Your dryer cord and your outlet might not have the same prong layout. That doesn’t mean you need to look for a new outlet. There are a few solutions.
Use an Adapter
You can run an adapter from the power cord to the outlet. Both 3-prong to 4-prong and 4-prong to 3-prong adapters are available.
Adapters are easy to use. You just plug them in and turn on your dryer.
Replace the Power Cord
If you’re confident working with electricity, you can also replace the power cord. Buy a power cord from the shop.
Wiring will differ based on the prong layout. If it’s a three-pronged cable it’s simple. Put the neutral wire on the center connector on the back of your dryer.
The black and the red wires can go on either end. If it’s a 4 pronged one, there’s only one difference. You need to attach the ground wire to the ground screw on the machine.
Replace the Outlet
Your last option is replacing the dryer outlet. If your house is a bit old, you might have a 3 slot outlet. You can switch this out for a 4 slot one.
Just take off the screws and remove the outlet from the box. Then take out the wires. Now put in the 4 slot outlet. Attach the 2 hot wires on either side and the neutral to the bottom.
Take a piece of bare copper wire. And run it from the top contact point to the electrical box. Newer outlets require a ground wire.
Now screw everything back in and you’re good to go. And that covers everything there’s to cover the extension cord for the dryer.
Question: Is it okay to use the dryer outlet for other appliances?
Answer: Absolutely not. The dryer outlet is on a 240V circuit. Most other household appliances use 120V. Plugging other appliances in that outlet can cause the appliance to malfunction.
Question: Can I use a power strip instead of an extension cord for my dryer?
Answer: No. Power strips come with standard outlets that run at a much lower voltage. You would not be able to plug the dryer into it. Even if you could, it would not run at that Voltage.
Question: Is it okay to plug a treadmill in using an extension cord?
Answer: It is. However, it’s better to not use an extension cord for a treadmill. Make sure the cord is at least 14 gauge and no more than 6 feet.
That’s how you use an extension cord for the dryer. The process of picking out an extension cord is pretty easy. You just need to make sure the cord is 10 gauge and rated for 30 amps. Anything less and you might cause a fire. Or you can whip up a DIY extension cord.
Whichever you choose to do make sure you keep yourself safe.