Why Your Dryer Is Not Heating
There are several reasons why you might find your dryer not heating, from simple issues like incorrect settings all the way to thermal fuse and thermostat malfunctioning. In today’s guide, we’ll help you fix this problem by walking you through 9 of the most common culprits. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
1. Blown Thermal Fuse
The thermal fuse is the dryer’s first-line defense system that protects dryers from catching fire if it exceeds safe temperatures. However, in old mechanical dryers, the dryer will continue working but it won’t heat up.
To fix this problem, you’ll need to replace the blown fuse with a new one. If you’re handy enough, here’s how to solve the problem:
- Disconnect the dryer from eclectic power
- Shutting off the gas supply
- In some models, you may also need to loosen the dryer belt to remove the drum
- Find the fuse, which is usually located on the opposite side of the lint screen
- Check the fuse with a multimeter to make sure that it’s blown
- Replace the fuse with a new one
2. Tripped Heating Circuit Breaker
The circuit breaker’s function is to trip whenever an electric surge occurs, which is pretty similar to how fuses work. Some dryer models have two separate circuit breakers for heating and power.
Here’s how to check and fix this problem:
- Unplug your dryer from the outlet
- Check your electric panel for the dryer breakers
- Reset the tripped breakers
- Plug the dryer and test if it works
- Replace blown fuses if the dryer still doesn’t work
Make sure that you also check for the reasons why the breakers were tipped to prevent it from happening again.
3. Malfunctioning Thermostat or Thermistor
The thermostat is responsible for activating the heating element of the dryer and controlling its temperature. The thermistor is a resistor that measures the temperature of the dryer. If any of them malfunction, the dryer would still work but it won’t heat up.
To check your dryer’s thermostat/thermistor and solve that problem, you’ll need to do the following:
- Unplug your dryer and shut off any gas supply
- Locate the thermostat, which is usually located near the metal frame that houses the heating coils.
- Check the thermostat by connecting its leads to a multimeter.
- Repeat the same process with the thermistor, which is usually right next to the thermostat.
- Replace the malfunctioning part with an identical one.
4. Dirty Lint Screen
The lint screen catches some of the loose lint the device produces while drying clothes. As more and more lint builds up, the screen gets dirty or even blocked. This interrupts the airflow of the exhaust, preventing the dryer from heat from reaching damp clothes.
Here’s how to properly clean the lint screen, which you should do occasionally to prevent future blockage (which may overheat and damage the dryer further):
- Disconnect the dryer from the electricity and gas supply
- Locate and Remove the screen, which is usually at the top of the dryer
- Wash it with warm soapy water, then rinse, and allow it to dry
- Check the lint screen area in the dryer and remove any loose lint by vacuuming
- Reassemble the dryer and give it a try
5. Problems in Gas Flow
If you have a gas heater, the problem might be caused due to a problem within the gas supply line itself. Of course, this can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
- The gas valve was shut off
- Problems and leaks in gas pipes
- The gas source is blocked
Problems associated with the gas flow are plenty and some of them can be quite dangerous, so it’s usually best that you contact a certified expert to handle them if you’re certain that they’re the culprit.
6. Worn Heating Element
Electric dryers rely on internal heating coils to heat up the air used for drying. However, as you continue using the dryer, the coils start to wear. Since they heat up the surrounding air, blockage due to lint may suffocate the heating element and speed up the damage.
Here’s how to troubleshoot this problem:
- Unplug the dryer
- Locate the heating element, which is usually close to the thermostat
- Check the coils for signs of damage, and do a multimeter test to make sure that they’re still functional
- If the coil is not working, carefully remove it and replace it with a new one. (make sure that you record the connections that you’ll undo to return everything as it was when you’re done).
7. Incorrect Dryer Mode or Settings
Some modern dryers are designed with Eco modes and non-heating modes to save money on the electricity bill. If you accidentally activate this mode, the dryer heat will not work. While this is a simple issue, a lot of people overlook it and look for more complicated issues.
So, here’s how to solve this problem:
- Check the dryer’s manual for any modes that don’t use heat, and make sure that they’re not activated in the dryer.
- If you’re unsure about the settings, you can reset the dryer to factory settings.
Resetting the dryer is usually done by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds. But, it may vary depending on your model (check the manual for the correct method)
8. Above-Limit Load Size
Many dryers are designed to not work when they’re loaded above the limit, which blocks the ventilation of heat. However, in older models, the dryer would still work but the heat won’t function properly. To solve that, try reducing the load amount and try again.
9. Malfunctioning Mechanical Timer
Older models rely on a mechanical system that times when the heat goes on and off. If that timer malfunctions, the dryer will work but it won’t heat. If the timer fails the multimeter continuity test, you simply need to replace it. Unfortunately, this problem relies on whether the timer is still available by the manufacturer. If it’s discontinued and you can’t find functional used ones, you may need to buy a new dryer.
With this troubleshooting guide, you now have a better understanding of the most common reasons why your dryer is not working. As you can see, the previously mentioned reasons vary in terms of complexity, so make sure that you call a certified dryer repair technician if simple fixes don’t work!