Common Dryer Issues And Solutions: Part 1 - Dryer Is Not Heating

In this first of a two-part series on common dryer issues, we discuss why your dryer is not heating, and solutions to get you fluffing and folding in...

After over 20 years repairing and serving appliances in Southern Colorado, we have come across just about every appliance problem you can imagine. So when we receive calls about a misbehaving dryer, chances are the problem is one of several common dryer issues. This month, we examine why your dryer is not heating and the solutions you can try before calling in an appliance repair technician. 

Come back next month for solutions to two more common dryer issues!

Issue: Dryer Is Not Heating

When you put your wet clothes in the dryer, you expect them to come out dry at the end of the cycle. When you can hear the drum spinning and tumbling your clothes, the issue is likely that the dryer is not heating. While there could be several reasons why this is happening, the first troubleshooting steps are pretty easy. The key to efficient drying is enough airflow circulating, so the dryer has to be taking in air. So your first step is to make sure that there isn’t anything blocking the front or the back of the dryer. In particular, you should double-check that the rear exhaust duct behind the dryer isn't crushed. Sometimes the appliance can get pushed back too far, pressing on the duct and restricting airflow. 

Next, ensure that your dryer is set to the proper settings for the load of clothes you’re drying. To properly dry clothes, the fabric selection, the timer selection and the temperature selection must be correct. If adjustments to these settings do not solve your issue, try one of these steps, depending on the kind of dryer you own:

Electric Dryers - Check The Heating Element

The heating element of an electric dryer looks like a wire coil, and it’s made from nichrome. If you know how to use a multimeter, check the coil for continuity. If there is no continuity, you likely have a bad element that will need to be replaced. 

If you don’t have a multimeter or you are not comfortable using one, call an appliance repair technician to diagnose your why your dryer is not heating and make the needed repairs.

Gas Dryer - Check The Burner

All gas dryers have a burner that heats the circulating air. Your first step with a gas dryer is to make sure the gas is on to the appliance by looking at the burner. This is a coil which resembles a black cylinder with wires coming out of the top of the cylinder. The burner is located near where the burner valve assembly is. If the burner is working correctly, then the flame will be blue and clean. If not, call an appliance repair technician. Any issues involving natural gas should be handled by professionals who are trained to alleviate the dangers involved with repairs.

Related: Troubleshooting a Broken Washing Machine

Check The Thermal Fuse

If everything passes to this point, then you’ll need to check the thermal fuse. This fuse is a safety feature that responds to heat instead of an electrical current and will shut your dryer down if the dryer is overheating. The thermal fuse is usually found in the exhaust duct in the back panel of the dryer. Look for a white plastic housing with the thermal fuse inside (typically it is about an inch long). 

When replacing the thermal fuse, remember to also check for any dryer lint buildup in the exhaust duct. Dryer lint buildup can cause the thermal fuse to blow again because lint traps heat.

If your thermal fuse needs replacement, calling in an appliance repair technician is your best way to ensure that the issue does stem from a blown fuse and not another issue that could potentially cause a fire in your laundry room. 

You May Have A Wiring Problem

The back of the dryer is enclosed in a casing that, when opened, reveals a terminal block that the power cord connects to. Occasionally, the terminal will burn out or get grounded to the dryer. 

Before you touch anything, make sure that the power is turned off!

Look for anything that is burned, scorched or broken. A broken connection in an electrical dryer may allow the timer to operate and the drum to roll, but there won’t be any heat. Once again, if this is beyond your DYI skills, call in the professionals.

Read the next article in the series: Common Dryer Issues And Solutions: Part 2 - Power and Drums

Reliable Appliance Repair: The Only Solution You Need To Common Dryer Issues

Like most modern appliances, there is never a good time to discover your dryer is not heating and that you need dryer repair services. Reliable Appliance Repair is available to help with 24-hour service, 7 days a week. Our name says it all, we are your Reliable choice for Appliance Repair in Southern Colorado. Contact us today to schedule your appliance repair!

More From Our Southern Colorado Appliance Repair Blog:

How to Clean and Sanitize Your Washing Machine and Dryer

How to Make a Washing Machine Stop Shaking

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