Dryer Not Heating Up | Gas and Electric SOLVED

One day your dryer is working fine and the next it completely stops heating. Why does this sometimes happen all of a sudden? The issue is most likely caused by either one or more components failing. 

You may be wondering how to figure out why is your dryer not heating up. To ensure that you can easily figure out the problem and fix it, I’ve written this troubleshooting guide. Here’s what you should do if your dryer is not drying clothes.

Fix That Dryer Not Heating or Drying Clothes

There are a number of common causes for clothes dryers to break down when it comes to heating and consequently drying your clothes. I am going to guide you through a troubleshooting approach that starts with the most obvious cause. Leading to more technical issues that are typically less common causes. 

1. Blown or Tripped Circuit Breaker

Your dryer might not even start in the event of a tripped circuit breaker. There is also a chance that it might spin but won’t heat. This happens when the appliance receives 110 volts instead of the 220 volts it needs to operate properly. 

You can easily overwhelm the electrical system in your home by turning on too many appliances at the same time. Although this may temporarily stop your appliances from working, you can easily get them running again.

Reset the Tripped Circuit Breaker

Your first step should be to unplug all appliances on the circuit. Now go to the circuit breaker board in your home and locate the tripped breaker. Breakers that are not tripped have their handles either on the off or the on side. Tripped breakers will be in the middle position. To reset the breaker, you should first set it to the off position and then to the on position.

2. Blocked Dryer Vent or Lint Filter

If you rarely or never clean the dryer vent, it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise when it gets clogged. You are supposed to remove debris, dust, and lint from the vent every once in a while to minimize the risk of your dryer malfunctioning. But even if you never cleaned the dryer vent and it caused your dryer to stop heating, the good news is that you can quickly get the appliance working again. All you’ll have to do is clean the vent.

Cleaning a Blocked Vent

Before you begin cleaning the vent, you should first unplug the dryer. The dryer vent duct is easy to find since it’s located in the back of the appliance and features an exhaust that’s 4 inches in diameter. You should be able to get all of the debris and dust out of the vent with a vacuum cleaner. However, you can also use a dry towel to remove any additional dirt.

3. Burnt Out Heating Element

The heating element in your dryer has only one purpose – to generate heat. This is one of the most durable components in a dryer, but it too can stop working after some time. When the heating element becomes defective, you won’t be able to repair it. In other words, you will have to replace it with a new one. Before you start thinking about buying a replacement part, you should first check whether this component is defective by doing a continuity test.

Checking Heating Element

You can find the heating element in a metal box in the back of the dryer. Remove the back panel to access it. You’ll recognize this component due to its heating coils. Once you remove the heating element from your dryer, you can test it for continuity. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. Grab your multimeter and set it to the continuity setting.
  2. You will now have to connect the leads of your multimeter to all of the terminals of the heating element one by one.
  3. In case the heating element is working, you should hear a beeping sound when you connect the leads to the terminals.
  4. If you don’t hear any sound, the heating element needs to be replaced.

Is The Heating Element Worth Replacing

The price of a heating element varies depending on the model and make of your dryer. For Maytag and Whirlpool dryers, a heating element costs $40, while this component can cost up to $120 for Samsung dryers. You can save a lot of money if you replace this component yourself instead of calling a professional repair technician.

You can find out how to replace the heating element in your dryer in the video below.

how to change a heating element in a dryer

4. Check For A Blown Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is located close to the dryer exhaust vent. You can reach it by removing the front panel and the drum. You’ll be able to instantly notice the thermal fuse since it’s only two inches in length and is attached to two wires. Each thermal fuse has its own product number. This is important information that you should search online to find out exactly which replacement to order.

Locating the Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is located close to the dryer exhaust vent. You can reach it by removing the front panel and the drum. You’ll be able to instantly notice the thermal fuse since it’s only two inches in length and is attached to two wires. Each thermal fuse has its own product number. This is important information that you should search online to find out exactly which replacement to order.

After you locate the thermal fuse in your dryer, the next step is to check whether it’s working. Sometimes, you might notice a burning smell coming from the component. This is a good indicator that it’s blown. However, if you want to be sure that it’s not working, you can always test it for continuity with a multimeter.

Here’s a great video on how to test a thermal fuse for continuity.

How To Test A Dryer Thermal Fuse For Continuity

5. Check the Thermostat and Thermistor

The thermostat adds a layer of protection to the dryer. It regulates the temperature in the machine and it also stops it from overheating. This component will cut off the voltage to the heating element in an electric dryer to stop overheating. It’ll also stop the voltage to the burner assembly in gas dryers. But when it stops working, your thermostat will prevent you from using your dryer until it is replaced.

Testing a Dryer Thermostat

It only takes 10-15 minutes to find out whether the thermostat in your dryer is working. Grab a screwdriver and a multimeter to conduct the test.

  • You’ll first need to take your screwdriver and use it to remove the screws that hold the back panel.
  • Remove the back panel to reach the thermostat, which is either inside the venting system or on the blower wheel housing. You can check the exact location in the user manual of your dryer.
  • The thermostat is a device that’s about 1.5 inches in diameter and is oval-shaped.
  • Take your multimeter, set it to the lowest resistance setting, and connect its leads to the thermostat’s terminals.
  • You will get a reading of 0 ohms in case the thermostat is working.

How to Test a Dryer Thermistor

The thermistor monitors the air temperature inside a dryer. This component is located atop the blower housing. To test it, set your multimeter to the ohm setting and connect its leads to the thermistor’s terminals. You should get a reading of ~10kΩ if the thermistor is working.

Check out the video below for a more detailed guide on how to test a thermistor.

How To Test Thermistor Part # DC32-00007A & WP35001191

6. No Gas or Faulty Ignition Switch

The ignition switch is a component found in gas dryers that’s constantly exposed to high temperatures. The high temperatures are why the ignition switch may stop working after a while. To check if it’s working properly, you can test it with a multimeter.

Testing a Faulty Ignition Switch

Here’s a simple guide on how to test the ignition switch for continuity.

  1. Remove the front panel of your dryer. Now remove the drum and the belt.
  2. You will notice a metallic cylinder located on the lower left side of the dryer. This is the ignition switch.
  3. Remove the ignition switch from the dryer and set your multimeter to the lowest resistance setting.
  4. You should be getting a reading of 50-400 ohms in case the ignition switch is working.

7. Faulty Gas Flame Sensor

Flame sensors serve a very important purpose in gas dryers. They are tasked with monitoring the burner assembly and making sure it’s working. This component is located right next to the ignition switch, so make sure you inspect both of them one after the other.

How to Test a Gas Flame Sensor

The flame sensor looks like a black box and has two wires that are connected to it. To test this component, make sure to first set your multimeter to the lowest resistance setting. Now connect its leads to the sensor’s terminals. In case you get a reading of 0 ohms, the gas flame sensor is working properly.

8. Faulty Timer

In case the timer in your dryer is defective, it may prevent the machine from moving from one cycle to the next. This will lead to either your dryer not heating because of it or overheating to the point that it trips the thermal fuse. In any case, you will have to replace the timer to get the machine to work normally.

How to Test a Faulty Timer

To be certain that you need to replace the timer in your dryer, you’ll have to perform a continuity test on it. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. Remove the control console from the dryer and the rear panel behind it.
  2. After you remove the console and the panel, you’ll instantly notice the timer.
  3. Set your multimeter to Rx1 and connect its leads to the timer’s terminals.
  4. If you get a reading in the range of 2,000-3,000 ohms, the timer is working fine.

Here’s a short video on how to test the timer in a dryer.

How To Test A Whirlpool Dryer Timer (No Heat)

FAQs Dryer Won’t Heat

SOLVED: Dryer Not Heating

If your dryer stops heating, you can perform some routine troubleshooting tests to figure out exactly which component has failed. In this article, we have demonstrated how to use a multimeter to isolate the problem. Using this simple low-cost device allows you to test components for continuity and find out whether they need to be replaced, and as we have hopefully demonstrated replacing parts in your dryer is not such a difficult task and can be done without the help of a repair technician.

Appliance Service Technician | Website | + posts

Andy has over 8 years of experience working on residential household appliances, performing diagnostics, and repairs across most major brands. He graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology, is NASTeC certified, and has worked for Mr. Appliance. Andy has contributed to features on major publications including Better Home & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Yahoo.com.