A dryer that’s running but not heating can be a frustrating problem to deal with. Not only does it throw off your laundry routine, but it can also cause damage to your dryer, clothes, and even your home’s electrical or gas system.
In this article, we’ll explore the most common reasons why your dryer may be running but not heating and how you can diagnose and fix the issue. Cleaning the lint filter and addressing power or gas valve issues can help you diagnose and fix your dryer. Taking the right steps can get your dryer back to working like new.
You will also learn the following as you continue reading:
- Most common causes why dryer not heating
- What to do if your gas dryer not heating
- What to do if your electric dryer not heating
- More tips to prolong the life of your dryer
Keep scrolling to learn all you need to know about heating your dryer up efficiently!
Reasons Why Your Dryer Is Not Heating
There could be several reasons why your dryer is not heating. Some of the most common reasons are:
Clogged lint screen
The lint screen is designed to trap lint and other debris from your clothes, but over time, it can become clogged with too much buildup. If the lint screen is clogged, it can restrict airflow, causing the dryer to overheat and shut down for safety reasons.
Here are some steps to take if the lint screen is clogged:
- Remove the lint screen from the dryer and use your hands or a soft brush to remove any lint or debris.
- Wash the lint screen in warm, soapy water to remove lint buildup.
- Allow the screen to dry completely before replacing it in the dryer.
- If the lint screen is damaged or worn, replace it with a new one.
Obstructed vent hose
An obstructed vent hose is a common cause of dryer problems. If the hose that connects your dryer to the outside vent becomes clogged, your dryer may not be able to function correctly. A clogged vent hose can cause a buildup of heat and moisture in the drum, making it difficult to effectively dry clothes.
Here are a few things to check if you suspect your exhaust vent hose may be obstructed:
- Disconnect the vent hose from the back of the dryer and inspect it for any signs of debris, such as lint or animal nests.
- Clean out any obstructions that you find, either by hand or with a vacuum cleaner.
- Check the outside vent where the hose leads, and clear away any debris or obstructions.
- Reconnect the vent hose to the dryer, ensuring it’s securely fastened.
Lack of power
If the dryer is not receiving enough power, it won’t be able to operate effectively. Here are a few things to check if you suspect a lack of power is causing the issue:
- Check the power cord to ensure it’s securely plugged into an outlet or power source.
- Inspect the circuit breaker or fuse box to see if the breaker has tripped or the fuse has blown. If so, reset or replace it.
- Ensure that the outlet itself is functioning normally by plugging a different appliance into the same outlet.
- If none of these steps resolves the issue, it could be a problem with the dryer’s electrical system. In this case, it’s best to consult a professional technician to diagnose and fix the problem.
When there are too many clothes inside the dryer drum, this causes a reduce airflow. This means that the hot air won’t be able to circulate properly throughout the drum, leading to uneven or inadequate drying.
The heat sensor in the dryer may detect that the air inside the drum is not getting hot enough, causing it to shut off the heating element as a safety measure. To prevent this from happening, ensure to follow the recommended load capacity for your dryer written in the dryer door owner’s manual.
If you put excessively wet clothes in the dryer, it may appear that the dryer is malfunctioning because of a mechanical problem. Unlike damp clothes, excessively wet garments create excess moisture that is challenging to evaporate from the drum.
To prevent this from happening, you may want to follow these steps:
- Before putting your clothes in the dryer, wring them out as much as possible to remove the excess water.
- If your clothes are still exceptionally wet, consider hanging them up to air dry for a while before using the dryer.
- Use the appropriate drying setting for your clothes. Delicate fabrics need low heat to avoid damage, while thicker items like towels require higher heat for complete dryness.
Faulty heating elements
The heating element is the most common cause of a dryer not heating. If the heating element in most dryers is faulty, it will not generate the heat necessary in having your clothes drying properly. To fix this, you need to:
- Disconnect the power supply: Ensure the dryer is unplugged before beginning any repair work.
- Locate the heating element: The heating element is usually found in the back of the dryer.
- Remove the faulty heating element: Depending on your dryer’s make and model, you may need to remove the dryer’s back panel to access the heating element. Once you have removed the panel, locate the heating element and disconnect it from the rest of the dryer’s electrical system.
- Replace the heating element: Purchase a replacement element compatible with your dryer’s make and model. Install the new heating element in the same position as the old one and reconnect it to the dryer’s electrical system.
- Test the new heating element: After replacing the heating element, plug the dryer back in and turn it on. Verify that the dryer is heating properly by running a load of laundry through it.
- Reassemble the dryer: Once you have verified that the heating element is working properly, reattach the dryer’s back panel and secure it in place.
Blown thermal fuses
A thermal fuse prevents the dryer from overheating by shutting off the power to the heating element if the temperature gets too high. A blown or faulty thermal fuse causes the dryer to stop heating. Here are the steps to fix a blown thermal fuse:
- Unplug the dryer: Before beginning any repair work, ensure the dryer is unplugged.
- Locate the thermal fuse: The thermal fuse is typically located on the blower housing or near the dryer’s heating element. Refer to your manual if you are having difficulty locating it.
- Test the thermal fuse: Use a multimeter or ohmmeter to test the thermal fuse for continuity. If it doesn’t have continuity, it needs to be replaced.
- Replace the thermal fuse: Purchase a replacement one that matches your dryer’s make and model. Remove the old thermal fuse and install the new one.
- Reassemble the dryer: Put everything back in its place, plug it in, and turn it on to ensure the new thermal fuse is working correctly.
Broken gas valve
The gas valve solenoid may be broken if you have a gas dryer. This device controls the gas flow to the dryer’s burner; the dryer will not heat if it’s broken. Here are the steps to fix a broken gas valve solenoid:
- Turn off the gas supply: Before beginning any repair work, shut off the gas supply to the dryer.
- Access the gas valve assembly: Access the gas valve assembly in your dryer. This location will vary based on your dryer’s model.
- Disconnect the gas valve solenoid: Disconnect the gas valve solenoid from the wiring harness and from the gas valve. Note the position of the solenoid since it needs to be repositioned correctly during reassembly.
- Test the gas valve solenoid: Use a multimeter or ohmmeter to test the gas valve solenoid for continuity. If it doesn’t have continuity, it needs to be replaced.
- Replace the gas valve solenoid: Purchase a replacement gas valve solenoid that matches the make and model of your dryer. Install the new gas valve solenoid in the same position it was before and reconnect it to the wiring harness and the gas valve.
- Turn on the gas line to the dryer and test it: Once you have replaced the gas valve solenoid, turn on the gas line and test the dryer to ensure that it’s heating properly.
It’s important to note that working with gas appliances can be dangerous. If you are not confident in your abilities, consider hiring a professional technician to complete the repair for you.
What to do for the gas dryer not heating?
If the gas shutoff valve is closed, a gas dryer drum may still turn, but the dryer won’t generate heat. To fix this, check if the valve is open by observing the handle’s position relative to the pipe. The valve may be closed if the handle is not parallel to the pipe. In this case, open the valve to restore gas flow to the dryer.
What to do for an electric dryer not heating?
Electric dryers require separate circuits, each fused on both sides, with one circuit breaker for the motor and one for the heating element. If your electric dryer is still not heating, examine if there is a tripped breaker.
In addition, electric dryers mandate a 240-volt power source along with a 3 or 4-prong power supply cord. It is advised to check with a certified technician to determine whether your power supply or cord needs to be updated.
Tips for keeping your dryers working properly
Here are some tips for your dryer performance, keeping your dryer working in excellent condition:
- Clean the lint filter after every use: A clogged filter can cause your dryer to work inefficiently and pose a potential fire hazard.
- Clean the dryer vent: Ensure the vent leading outside is clean and clear of blockages. Clogged vents can cause overheating, leading to malfunction or even fire.
- Do not overload the dryer: Overloading the dryer can cause damage to the machine, decrease its efficiency and even affect your clothes’ dryness.
- Check for obstructions: From time to time, check the dryer drum and door seal for any small objects or obstructions
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, including load capacity, which programs to use, and maintenance.
Conclusion: Know When to Fix or Replace Your Dryer With Newer Models
If you are experiencing issues with your dryer running but not heating up, there are many reasons why this could happen.
Whether it’s as simple as cleaning the excess lint or filter or more complex issues like a gas valve or power supply problems, the quick and correct action is crucial.
Follow the tips outlined in this article to help diagnose the problem and take the appropriate steps to fix it. Your dryer can provide reliable, efficient performance for many years with proper care and maintenance.