What to Do With a Dryer Not Heating Up?

Wet clothes after a dryer run can be frustrating but also a sign of potential dryer issues. It’s possible that a dryer not heating up is due to common electrical malfunctions or simply forgetting to turn it on or close the door. However, the underlying reason is usually more complex and warrants a DIY investigation.
If our advice doesn’t help, contact We Repair Appliance for professional appliance troubleshooting and repairs.

Common Reasons for a Dryer Not Heating Up

Most dryers need two 120 V breakers to function. One is used for the motor that spins the drum, while the other supplies power to the thermostat and heating element. If the breaker for the heating has tripped (perhaps due to a sudden power surge), the dryer will start up and spin, but will never start heating to dry the clothes properly. The best way to check is to look at your service panel and reset any flipped breakers.
Some dryers also have a “cool” setting which only spins the clothes at lower temperatures. These cycles can dry clothes that don’t tolerate high heat, but some items won’t dry. The dryer will also usually be relatively cool to the touch while operating.
If you own a gas dryer, check the gas line for any obstructions and ensure the appliance line is the correct size for the model (most brands like LG, Bosch, or Frigidaire will use ¾ inch lines). Additionally, check to see if you’re still receiving gas. If you didn’t pay the utility bill, that might be the primary reason why the dryer doesn’t work.
The dryer not heating up can also be due to a clogged lint trap or duct. Modern dryers will detect when the lint screen is full and obstructing the heating element, which then shuts off the heat to prevent fires. If you have a dryer duct, inspect it for any obstructions or clogs. Professional duct cleaning services can also assist and seal leaking ducts for more security and peace of mind when needed.

Other Problems Behind Dryer Not Heating Up

If these common fixes don’t yield any results, it might be time to inspect the appliance itself for underlying problems.
The first area of concern is the heating element. It provides the drum with all the heat needed to dry the clothes during the cycle. A defective heating element won’t work at all. To locate and inspect the element, remove the appliance from the power supply. For some models, you might need to open the cabinet, while others have the heating element near the drum. Any signs of burning or damage can indicate that a replacement is due. Use a multimeter on the Rx1 to test whether the heating element can conduct electricity properly on the terminals. A reading of infinity indicates that it is most likely broken.
Gas dryers can suffer from a faulty igniter. The igniter is the part responsible for lighting the gas to provide heat. It is usually located in the dryer cabinet next to the gas valve and burner tube. You need to shut off the gas and remove the dryer from the power supply to prevent any accidents. Igniters are fragile and don’t need a lot of force to break, so handle them carefully or contact a professional like We Repair Appliance to troubleshoot them. Use a multimeter to check the igniter’s resistance. A reading between 50 and 400 ohms is usually fine, but anything else warrants a replacement.
Dryer fuse and thermostat
A broken thermostat can also lead to the dryer not heating up. If it detects a higher temperature than what is actually in the drum, it will never turn on the heating element or the igniter to supply the heat. Depending on the brand or model, thermostats can vary in size or location. Check your appliance’s manual for the thermostat’s location and how to extract it from the housing. Use a multimeter to check for continuity (using the Rx1 function). A reading of zero or infinity indicates the thermostat has continuity and most likely works. Other readings usually point towards a defective part. You can use the manual for more information on readings and additional troubleshooting steps.

What to Do if You Didn’t Find the Problem?

If DIY troubleshooting hasn’t yielded a positive result, you might have a more complex electrical or gas issue for the dryer not heating up. While some of the well-known brands (like Samsung, KitchenAid, Viking, or GE) have extensive warranties and high-quality parts to ensure the dryer lasts for as long as possible, accidents happen, and parts can burn out eventually. We Repair Appliance has a quick professional appliance repair service that covers all sorts of dryer repairs or part replacements. If you have a problem that’s troublesome to diagnose, contact us for professional help and hassle-free assistance.

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