How To Troubleshoot A Dryer Not Heating| Quick & Free Solutions

When a dryer stops working properly, you’re going to be left with clothes that are cold and damp, which is the last thing you want to happen in any day. If your dryer is not heating, you may be thinking of calling in a repairman the first chance you have, but sometimes, the problem is so simple and can be fixed by a complete novice--like wiring a new light switch!

You’ll not only save money, but you can also troubleshoot the problem quickly without having to wait for a service technician to arrive. In my case, I determined the defect in my dryer in about half an hour and had the part replaced within a day!

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In this article, we are going to learn about the common dryer problems and how to fix a dryer that is not heating. Most times, one or two components of your dryer has malfunctioned or is broken entirely, and this is the cause of insufficient heat that is leaving your clothes wet after a cycle.

Therefore, we’re going to go through the possible sources of malfunction one by one.

How to Fix a Dryer that is Not Heating

Materials:

You may need some of the following items:

Step 1: Opening Up a Dryer Cabinet

In order to find out what the problem is, you need to open up the dryer cabinet and see what’s inside. However, varying brands entail different methods of opening the cabinet properly. Here is website that lists the most popular brands and how to open them.

Pro tip

Do not proceed unless you are sure about how to properly open your dryer cabinet. Some people have damaged their units by doing otherwise.

Step 2: Inspecting the Components

In this step, we’ll be considering every area that may be causing your problem, from the most common cause to the least common.

1. Voltage

You need to check if your dryer is getting adequate voltage to produce enough heat, otherwise, your clothes will still be wet after a cycle. To do this, go to your circuit panel and make sure the circuit breakers are in place. Inspect the fuses carefully to ensure that none of them have blown. If you see a blown fuse, replace it immediately with a new fuse that has the same amp rating.

In my experience, most “broken” dryers have this simple solution for the problem, and many people resort to calling in a repairman immediately, only to have their problem fixed in just five minutes. So waste not, and check this area first before anything else.

2. Heating Element

Your dryer becomes hot enough to dry your clothes because of the heating element. If this component burns out due to overheating, your dryer will not heat at all! In this case, you have to test it with a multimeter. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Cut off electricity from your dryer; either by unplugging the device or turning off the corresponding switch in your electrical panel.
  • Open your dryer’s cabinet and locate the heating element. Refer to the image below.
  • You will see wires connected to the heating element through metal wire connectors. Remove the wire connectors to remove the wires themselves.
  • Your multimeter should be set to the R x 1 resistance scale.
  • Touch one multimeter probe to one of the heating element’s terminals and the second probe to another terminal. This should produce a reading.
  • Check the reading on your multimeter.
heating-element

Via Amazon.com

If the reading shows you infinite resistance, this means that it is not working properly anymore. It is time to replace your heating element.

3. Thermal Fuse

A thermal fuse functions to prevent a dryer from overheating as a safety feature. If your unit has overheated, the thermal fuse is blown out and thus disrupt the circuit of electricity that goes into the dryer. To test if the thermal fuse is the source of the problem:

  • Cut off electricity from your dryer; either by unplugging the device or turning off the corresponding switch in your electrical panel.
  • Open your dryer’s cabinet and locate the thermal fuse. This component is usually adjacent to the heating element.
  • You will see wires connected to the thermal fuse through metal wire connectors. Remove the wire connectors to remove the wires themselves.
  • Your multimeter should be set to the R x 1 resistance scale.
  • Touch one multimeter probe to one of the thermal fuse’s terminals and the second probe to another terminal (as pictured below). This should produce a reading.
  • Check the reading on your multimeter.
thermal-fuse

Via Amazon.com

If you are testing your thermal fuse at room temperature, the reading should be zero. If you get a result other than zero, you need to replace your thermal fuse immediately.

4. Thermostat

There are two types of thermostats in your dryer system. One is the high limit thermostat, which automatically shuts off the dryer if the temperature gets too high; and the cycling thermostat, which regulates the air temperature in your dryer by cycling the heat between on and off.

If either of the two are malfunctioning, you need to replace them. However, you need to test them first and see if they are the problem:

  • Cut off electricity from your dryer; either by unplugging the device or turning off the corresponding switch in your electrical panel.
  • Open your dryer’s cabinet and locate the thermostat. Refer to the image below.
  • You will see wires connected to the thermostat through metal wire connectors. Remove the wire connectors to remove the wires themselves.
  • Your multimeter should be set to the R x 1 resistance scale.
  • Touch one multimeter probe to one of the thermostat’s terminals and the second probe to another terminal. This should produce a reading.
  • Check the reading on your multimeter.
thermostat

Via Amazon.com

If you get a reading of zero at room temperature, your thermostat is working properly. Otherwise, your thermostat needs to be replaced.

Pro tip

It is the recommendation of most handymen to replace your thermostats as a pair (cycling and high heat thermostats)

5. Gas Valve Solenoid

This component allows gas to flow freely into the burner assembly of your dryer, which will then ignite and produce heat. If the gas valves aren’t opening or are malfunctioning, there will be no fuel to produce heat in the dryer. To determine if the gas valves are the source of your problem, do the following steps:

  • Cut off electricity from your dryer; either by unplugging the device or turning off the corresponding switch in your electrical panel.
  • Open your dryer’s cabinet and locate the gas valve solenoids, which will be adjacent to the igniter.
  • Plug in the dryer again and turn it on; let the igniter glow.
gas-valve-solenoid

Via Amazon.com

If the igniter glows and goes out, but does not produce a flame, your valves are defective and should be replaced.

6. Igniter

The igniter lights up the gas that is released by the gas valve, which will then produce heat for the drying process to begin. This component is very fragile and is susceptible to burning out when overheating. In order to test if the igniter is still working:

  • Cut off electricity from your dryer; either by unplugging the device or turning off the corresponding switch in your electrical panel.
  • Open your dryer’s cabinet and locate the igniter, which is near the gas valves. Refer to the image below.
  • You will see wires connected to the igniter through metal wire connectors. Remove the wire connectors to remove the wires themselves.
  • Your multimeter should be set to the R x 1 resistance scale.
  • Touch one multimeter probe to one of the igniter’s terminals and the second probe to another terminal. This should produce a reading.
  • Check the reading on your multimeter.
igniter

Via Amazon.com

If you find that the reading is 50-400 ohms, your igniter is functioning properly. If the reading doesn’t change, the igniter needs to be replaced.

7. Radiant Flame Sensor

A flame sensor functions to perceive heat from the heating components. It detects heat coming from the igniter in order to open the gas valves, and detects heat from the flame to keep the gas valves open. A malfunctioning sensor can prevent the valves from opening and the igniter from glowing. To test the radiant flame sensor, follow these steps:

  • Cut off electricity from your dryer; either by unplugging the device or turning off the corresponding switch in your electrical panel.
  • Open your dryer’s cabinet and locate the radiant flame sensor, which is near the igniter. Refer to the image below.
  • You will see wires connected to the sensor through metal wire connectors. Remove the wire connectors to remove the wires themselves.
  • Your multimeter should be set to the R x 1 resistance scale.
  • Touch one multimeter probe to one of the sensor’s terminals and the second probe to another terminal. This should produce a reading.
  • Check the reading on your multimeter.
radiant-flame-sensor

Via Amazon.com

If you see zero on the reading, your flame sensor is working properly. Any other result entails the replacement of your radiant flame sensor.

8. Timer

A malfunctioning timer motor can disable the entire system in the dryer because it controls how much time power is connected to the components of the dryer. However, it is rare that timer motors are cause of the problem. To test if the timer is defective:

  • Cut off electricity from your dryer; either by unplugging the device or turning off the corresponding switch in your electrical panel.
  • Open your dryer’s cabinet and locate the timer. It is easy to identify; refer to the image below.
  • You will see wires connected to the timer through metal wire connectors. Remove the wire connectors to remove the wires themselves.
  • Your multimeter should be set to the R x 1 resistance scale.
  • Touch one multimeter probe to one of the timer’s terminals and the second probe to another terminal. This should produce a reading.
  • Check the reading on your multimeter.
timer

Via Amazon.com

A reading below or above the 2000-3000 ohm range can mean that the timer motor is defective and should be replaced immediately.

Step 3: Replace Defective Parts

When you find that one or two components of your dryer has malfunctioned, you can enlist the help of a service technician to replace the broken part for you, or replace the component yourself. Be reminded to choose parts that are up to par with your unit, otherwise, they may not function properly.

Tip

Always remember to disconnect your unit from the power source before doing any reparing/replacing.

Conclusion

No one likes damp clothes, especially not on a busy day when you have no time to dry your laundry. And like a garage heater and a furnace, things can go awry when one or two parts of your unit isn't working properly. But before calling for help and spending maybe a few hundred dollars, why not try fixing the problem yourself? As you can see, determining the problem is the most vital part, and the rest will follow easily, so read the instructions above carefully to ensure that you’re replacing the right part.

If you found this article helpful, and if these tips fixed your dryer problems, leave a comment below and tell us about your experience. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends! Thanks for reading!

VIDEO: Reasons Why A Dryer Won't Heat

Emma Clark

Hey there! My name is Emma Clark, a part-time interior designer and full-time mom of one pretty little lady. This blog is the fruit of my extensive experiences as an interior designer and home improvement enthusiast. More so, I'm here to share with you a lot of great ideas on what YOU can do to make your home into a masterpiece: all cost-effective and amazingly creative.

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