We all depend on our washing machine and clothes dryer to keep us ready for every day we face, so there’s nothing worse than opening a dryer door and asking yourself that question: “Why is my dryer not heating up?” If you’re faced with a cold dryer, it can be hard to understand what steps to take. This simple guide will help you understand what problems could be causing your dryer not to heat up, and how you might fix this inconvenient problem.
Before embarking on any DIY project, it’s good to check a few basics before digging in. If your dryer is not heating up, there are a few preliminary steps to take. First, try unplugging your clothes dryer, waiting 30 seconds, and plugging it back in. You can also power it down at the circuit breaker in your home, and power it back up after 30 seconds. This can sometimes act as a “hard reset” to bring your dryer back up to specifications.
Next, check your dryer’s lint trap. Although this trap should be cleaned after every use, it is possible that it has been overlooked. A clogged trap can cause poor heating in the dryer. Related to this issue is the exhaust hose. After the air is filtered through the lint trap, it leaves your dryer through a foil hose in the back. In some homes, this hose exits the house nearby the dryer. In other homes, the exhaust vent is farther from the dryer, and the hose takes a longer route to the outside. In either case, check to make sure there are no visible blockages of the hose, and that air (whether hot, or cold) is being exhausted from the outdoor vent effectively. If it’s not, you need to clean out the hose before proceeding. Blocked dryer exhausts are one of the most common causes of house fires in the US.
If everything seems okay, proceed to the next diagnostic steps.
If your dryer won’t heat up, one of the first components to check is that it is getting proper voltage. Dryers consume a lot of energy, and have special plugs and outlets designed to deliver the appropriate amount of juice. To make sure proper power is getting to your dryer, take these steps: First, confirm that your clothes dryer is plugged in. Second, check the circuit breaker panel in your home to make sure all the circuit breakers are in the correct “on” positions. Last, confirm that there are no fuses in your fuse panel blown out. Any of these problems could result in your dryer not getting power, and in your dryer not heating up.
Most handy homeowners are familiar with heating elements. They exist in your furnace, in your water heater, your dishwasher, and—of course—in your clothes dryer. It is this element that glows red hot to heat the air that will dry your clothes. If your dryer isn’t heating, use the owner’s manual to access the heating element. Check to see if it shows signs of wear, tear, or breakage. Heating elements cannot be repaired, so if there is an issue, it needs to be replaced. It will be located inside the dryer cabinet, so be sure that you have unplugged the appliance before servicing. Luckily, heating elements are relatively inexpensive, and—by following the diagrams in your owner’s manual—are relatively easy to replace. Always use the right part, as specified in your manual, to avoid safety or longevity issues.
If your dryer is not heating up, another possible issue can reside with your thermal fuse. A thermal fuse exists to stop all dryer functions (including heating) if the dryer reaches too high a temperature. This important safety feature keeps you and your family safe, but once a thermal fuse blows, it disabled the dryer until it is replaced. If your dryer is not heating up, check the thermal fuse according to the owner’s manual. It will be located inside the dryer cabinet, so be sure that you have unplugged the appliance before servicing. If the thermal fuse appears to be damaged, blown, or very old, it is time to replace it. As with heating elements, thermal fuses are not too expensive and are fairly easy to replace. Always use the right part, as specified in your manual, to avoid safety or longevity issues.
Modern dryers have sophisticated and numerous cycle options, and they all use a timer motor to keep operations running as they should. If your timer motor has become defective, it can be the root cause for your dryer to not heat up. It can be difficult to assess and test a timer motor, but you can check on it by following the diagram in your dryer’s owner manual. Be sure to unplug the unit before opening up the cabinet. Locate the timer motor and examine it for signs of wear or defectiveness. If you suspect it is the issue, it can be replaced to fix your dryer.
Dryers are equipped with a thermostat (sometimes multiple thermostats) to regulate temperature according to how the user sets the cycle. If one or more of these thermostats goes bad, wears out, or breaks, it can cause your dryer to not heat up. The thermostats will be located inside the dryer cabinet, so be sure that you have unplugged the appliance before servicing. Follow the diagram in your owner’s manual to locate the thermostat, and check that they are not worn out or broken. If they are faulty, they will have to be replaced for your dryer to start working again. Always use the right part, as specified in your manual, to avoid safety or longevity issues.
We hope this guide helped you find the problem and repair your dryer. If you still need a professionals help, give us a call.