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Dryer Not Heating? Uncover 7 Top Fixes You Should Try

by Ann Ferguson

We've all been there. You load up your dryer, set the timer, and expect to come back to a warm, fluffy pile of clothes. But instead, you're met with a damp disappointment.

Yikes — your dryer's not heating up! Not only are your clothes still damp, but who knows how long they've been sitting like that? And air drying takes forever. But don't worry; your dryer on the fritz doesn't have to blow up all your laundry plans.

We'll go over the top fixes for you, so you can turn the heat up on laundry day!

1. The Lint Trap

Woman cleaning lint trap from dryer

You might be surprised to learn that a full lint trap is one of the most common reasons for a dryer not heating up. That's right, that little screen you're supposed to clean out after every load can cause big problems if ignored.

When the lint trap is full, air can't circulate properly in the dryer. This can cause the heating element to work overtime, leading to potential overheating and, ironically, a lack of heat for your clothes.

So, before you panic, check your lint trap. If it's full, give it a good clean. It's a small task that can make a big difference. And remember, a clean lint trap isn't just good for your dryer — it's also a simple step to prevent fires. But if your lint trap is clean and your dryer still isn't heating, something else is causing the issue!

Pro Tip: Don't forget to check the vent hose for lint buildup—if it's clogged, then it'll keep the air from flowing in the dryer!

2. Tripped Circuit Breaker

Sometimes, the problem isn't with the dryer but with your home's electrical system. If your dryer isn't heating up, a tripped circuit breaker could be the culprit. Your dryer needs a lot of power to operate, and if other appliances are drawing power from the same circuit, it can cause the circuit breaker to trip and cut off the power to the dryer.

So, check your electrical panel. If the breaker for your dryer has tripped, flip it back to the 'on' position. But remember, safety first! If you're unsure, call a professional to check out your electrical panel.

3. Blown Thermal Fuse

Closeup of a person using a multimeter to check a fuse

Another common culprit when your dryer isn't heating up is a broken thermal fuse, the safety feature that prevents the dryer from overheating. When it works correctly, it's a real hero, protecting your dryer from potential damage. But if it breaks, it can stop the heat altogether.

The thermal fuse is usually located on the exhaust duct inside the back cover panel. If blown, your dryer might run, but it won't heat up. While you can check the thermal fuse yourself using a multimeter, replacing it is a job for our appliance technicians, so call us if you think the fuse is the culprit!

4. Heating Element

If your dryer's thermal fuse is intact but still not heating, the heating element might be to blame. This is the part of your dryer that does the actual heating. When it's working properly, it heats up and warms the air inside the dryer. But if it's broken, your clothes will stay cold and damp.

The heating element is usually located in the back of the dryer and can break due to wear and tear over time. If you suspect it's the issue, you'll need a multimeter to test it. But remember, replacing the heating element can be tricky, and it's usually best left to professionals.

5. Thermostat Troubles

Closeup of dryer control cycles to indicate the dryer thermostat

The thermostat in your dryer plays a crucial role in regulating the temperature. If it's not working correctly, it could be why your dryer isn't heating up. The thermostat monitors the temperature inside the dryer and switches the heat on and off to maintain the right temperature.

If the thermostat malfunctions, it might not signal the heating element to turn on. You can check the thermostat using a multimeter, but just like with the heating element and thermal fuse, replacing it should be left to a professional.

6. Gas Valve Solenoid

If you have a gas dryer, a faulty gas valve solenoid could be why your dryer isn't heating. The gas valve solenoids open the gas valve ports to allow gas to flow into the burner assembly. If one or more of the solenoids are defective, the dryer won't heat.

Checking the gas valve solenoids requires special knowledge and tools, and dealing with gas appliances can be dangerous if you're not experienced. So, if you suspect a problem with the gas valve solenoids, it's best to let appliance pros (like us!) check it out.

7. Damaged Timer Motor

Service technician trying to fix the timer motor

Last but not least, a damaged timer motor could be the reason your dryer isn't heating up. The timer motor plays a crucial role in managing the different cycles in your dryer. If it's not working properly, it might not send the right signals to the heating element, causing your clothes to come out cold and damp.

The timer motor is usually located behind the control console and can be checked using a multimeter. However, replacing it can be complex, so we recommend letting appliance service techs like our team handle the problem.

But if the timer isn't the issue and it's still not heating for some reason, it'll require more in-depth analysis. So, don't hesitate to set up an appointment!

Fire it Up

So, there you have it — the most common culprits behind your dryer not bringing the heat. But remember, while it's good to know potential issues, some fixes are best left to the pros, like our experienced technicians at Culligan of Le Mars! So, if your dryer's giving you the cold shoulder, don’t hesitate to reach out by giving us a call or stopping by!