Of all the times that a drying machine could fail on its primary directive, it has to be now. Actually, there is never a better time. Your dryer not heating up means wet clothes, and if that were to happen during winter… No, before you lose your composure, stay calm because there might be some simple solutions – hopefully.
Once a dryer stops producing enough heat, or none at all, there are only two ways to go. The best-case scenario, of course, is that the cause is so minor that even someone who is not technically proficient can make the repair. Unfortunately, machines do break. As such, you should call for service and arrange to have a technician come and diagnose the problem.
Go through the basics of troubleshooting a problem.
A dirty lint trap or lint screen can lead to debris accumulating and clogging the heating element. If so, you can remove and clean. An easy way to accomplish that is to use a vacuum cleaner. Alternatively, you can roll the lint off the screen and scrub away residue buildup using a brush and hot water with liquid detergent.
Electric dryers require 240V electricity, provided by two 120V lines. Quite possibly, one of the two breakers tripped. If so, the dryer will run but would not have enough power to produce heat. All you have to do, in this case, is to reset the breaker.
Some parts of the dryer may have broken down due to wear and tear. These are more complicated to troubleshoot and are best left for the pros to diagnose and fix.
For fire safety, dryers come with a thermal fuse that trip in case the temperature gets too high. Older generations of dryers continue to run, but the heating elements no longer receive power and thus do not produce heat. The newer models, on the other hand, shut down.
Consult the manual to see where it is located. You should see it near the exhaust vent. Replacing the fuse is not at all complicated. Still, there might be an underlying reason that caused tripping. For that reason, you would prefer having a professional come over to investigate the cause of tripping to rule out future fire hazards.
One thing you can do, if the cause of the dryer not heating up is a blown thermal fuse, is to check the exhaust vent.
Locate the flexible metal hose that runs from the dryer to the vent. Check and see if there is any blockage. Even a partial block can hinder the release of hot air, causing the temperature to rise and blowing the thermal fuse. You can remove the debris and see if the dryer functions as it should.
Although the dryer may produce heat, you cannot be sure that you have already fixed the problem. It is still best to call in a trained technician to come and check the appliance as well as your home ventilation system.
An exhaust vent that has blockage causes hot air to be confined to the dryer. The inability to dispense the hot air causes the high-limit thermostat in the heating chamber to trip. This safety mechanism stops the flow of electric current to the gas valve or heating element.
Eventually, the high-limit thermostat fails when the blockage in the exhaust vent is not fixed. Consequently, your dryer would fail to produce heat.
The temperature in the drum is controlled by the cycling thermostat. It functions by opening when it gets too hot to stop the heating element from continuing to heat up. If this happens, the dryer needs to cool down first before it can operate normally again.
The cycling thermostat is located in the internal airflow ducting, usually on the blower housing.
The internal temperature of mechanical dryers is managed by a cycling thermostat. Electronic dryers, on the other hand, are equipped with a temperature sensor that controls the degree of heat. In principle, they operate by changing resistance as temperature changes.
If the temperature sensor is not providing the proper resistance, then the dryer is not able to regulate the heat.
An electric dryer will have a heating element comprising a metal chamber housing a coil of heating wire. During operation, electricity heats up the wire. Air that passes through is heated, which subsequently dries your clothes.
The gas burner valve of gas dryers operates when the coils are heated up by the heating circuit. If the coil is defective, some dryers may start while it is cool. Once heated, the machines stop functioning.
Mechanical-based dryers do not have an electronic main control board. Instead, they have a timer on the control console. It consists of a tiny motor that is connected to gears that rotate cams to turn electronic contacts on and off. This timer controls the dryer motor and heat circuit.
Depending on the model, a defective timer leads to some units running too hot, while others produce no heat.
The gas valve is an indispensable part of the gas burner system. It opens up when the coils are heated by the igniter and flame sensor circuit to release gas into the burner.
When this valve is defective, the igniter may glow. However, since gas is not being sent to the burner, no flame is produced as the igniter exterminates itself. Sometimes, a dryer may run in the beginning. Later into the drying cycle, it could fail, resulting in not enough heat being generated to dry clothes.
Most gas dryers today feature an igniter (or glow bar) next to the gas valve burner tube. Depending on the brand, some are located in the coil while others are flat. Regardless, its primary function is to glow until the radiant sensor opens the valve, and the gas is ignited to produce flame and heat.
Sitting by the burner assembly, next to the igniter, is a sensor that detects heat. The radiant flame sensor monitors the heat signals of the igniter, which is responsible for opening the gas valve. It also controls the burner flame.
When this sensor is broken, the gas control valve will not open, or the igniter would not glow.
Related article: Why Is My Dryer Squeaking and How to Stop
Not even the best brands can manufacture appliances that last a lifetime. Yes, sometimes, the cause of a dryer not heating up is as simple as the power cord not plugged in properly or the gas supply turned off. A broken thermal fuse, for example, is easily replaceable – even by someone who is not handy.
When should you contact a reputable service center?
Generally, when there are parts to replace, a defective part may not be the sole cause of dryers not heating up. There could be other underlying causes. Having a trained professional of Prime Appliance Repairs take a look is as much about getting an assurance as getting the dryer fixed.
Contact them today if you have a dryer that is not producing heat at all or not enough heat – they can service these brands: