Is Your Dryer Not Heating? Here’s Why

True disappointment is pulling your favorite sweats out of the dryer, eager to snuggle up in warm clothes, only to grab soaking items that never went through a dry cycle. Frustrated, you throw everything back in and try to run the dryer, but nothing is happening.

Potential Dryer Problems and What to Do

Let’s run through various scenarios, how you can diagnose your situation, and what your solution options are.

Power or Gas Supply Shortage

If you have a gas dryer, one of the first things you should check is whether it has enough gas. Then inspect:

  • Is the gas valve on?
  • Is the gas pipe properly connected?
  • Have you paid your monthly bill?

Electric dryers require working two circuits, one for heating, and another for power. If your dryer is running but not heating up, it’s likely the heating circuit breaker tripped. If there’s no power, check:

  • To be sure the machine is plugged in
  • Your electrical panel for any trips
  • Reset any breakers and replace any fuses that have blown

Lint Trap Buildup

Excess lint is a common and potentially dangerous cause for dryers to stop working. This can cause house fires, plus lint can get through the lint screen and cause blockages that stop the machine from working. If you’ve determined the lint trap to be the issue, there are a few things you can do:

  • Remove the lint screen and gently wash it with soapy water
  • Get your vacuum and suction out any lint from the lint trap holder
  • Turn the power and/or gas off and remove the panel around the lint trap for a deeper clean

Even if you aren’t positive that this is the culprit, you should empty the lint trap after each dry cycle, and routinely give it a thorough cleaning to be safe.

Internal & External Vent Problems

Along with staying on top of your lint trap, some vents also clog up, making it critical not to forget about them. At Mr. Appliance of Memphis, we offer professional dryer vent cleaning to ensure that everything is in great working condition.

Pro tip: A rigid vent that’s 4 inches in diameter helps optimize drying efficiency, as opposed to a more flexible metal or a smaller size.

Blown Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is a safety feature. But it's also a relatively common cause of dryers not working. Sensing the temperature, if the thermal fuse detects a certain heat level, it will trip the fuse to prevent a fire. In newer models, when the fuse trips, the dryer shuts off. In older models, the fuse may trip, but the dryer still runs without emitting heat.

Replacing a thermal fuse is often not too challenging, but you’ll want to locate the source of the blown fuse to take preventative measures moving forward.

Broken Heating Element

Regular wear and tear in combination with not removing lint often can cause the coils in the heating element to become damaged. If you have a multimeter, you can test the heating element (it’s also helpful for checking the thermal fuse) for continuity. Another telltale sign is broken coils.

Machine Overload

Even though it may look like you can stuff endless amounts of clothing into a dryer, it needs enough room to circulate airflow properly. So, while it might seem like your dryer isn’t working to dry your clothes, it could be a simple matter of using less material in each cycle.

Door Switch Issue

A dryer won’t run unless the door is closed and the door switch activates. First, check to see if the door is fully closed. If it is, try manually pressing the door switch before starting the machine to see if that makes a difference. If the dryer turns on at that point, you’ll need to repair or replace the door switch. We’re here to help if you have questions!

Wrong Setting

Another common cause of clients believing there is a problem with their dryer is actually a result of the settings they're using. Timed drying makes the dryer stop at a specific point, even if the clothes are still wet. This can lead to confusion, thinking that repairs are necessary. Try using the auto dry setting instead to see if things come out warm and fluffy. Auto dry settings don’t let the machine stop running until it can sense that the items aren’t damp.

If you've tried these tips but your dryer still won't heat, reach out to us for speedy, expert dryer repair!

Our friendly team is a quick phone call away for any of your dryer problems.