Is your GE dryer not heating up? Regardless of whether you have a gas or electric dryer, you’re bound to experience a problem with the machine sooner or later. In this troubleshooting guide we will help you find the source of the problem, and offer you actionable and clear advice, allowing you to get your dryer back into action, fast.
- Why Your GE Dryer Is Not Heating and Drying Clothes
- Why is My Brand New GE Dryer Not Heating
- Resetting A GE Dryer That's Not Heating
Why Your GE Dryer Is Not Heating and Drying Clothes
Whenever an appliance fails, 95% of the time its down to a few common issues, and if your GE dryer won’t heat, we can pinpoint our focus on the following areas. First we will check for a blown circuit breaker, then we can inspect for good airflow and ignition, and if that fails finally we can test the heating element and thermostat.
1. Blown Circuit Breaker
It is possible that your dryer is plugged in, but you are not receiving enough power to heat it. GE dryers require 240V to function – two legs of 120 volts AC (240 volts). If one of the circuit breakers in your home has tripped or blown, you will experience restricted power input or no power at all, meaning your dryer will fail to function properly and produce the level of heat needed to dry clothes.
A blown circuit breaker occurs when your household electrical circuit is overloaded, and this can be due to a power surge or having too many high-voltage appliances on the same circuit, running at the same time.
Resetting a Blown Circuit Breaker
- To reset a blown circuit breaker, you’ll first have to unplug all devices on the circuit.
- Then locate your circuit breaker board in your home and look for a tripped switch in the center position in between ‘On’ and ‘Off’.
- Flick the switch back to the ‘On’ position and try your dryer again.
- If the dryer still fails to power, you can test the switch using a Multi-meter. If it is not reading 120V the switch is faulty and will need replacing.
You can watch this short video below demonstrating how to test the circuit breaker switch using a multimeter.
2. Clogged Dryer Vent or Lint Filter
f you have restricted or blocked airflow through the dryer vent, it can lead to the retention of moisture within the drum. This is not so much a problem with the drum not heating, but more to do with the clothes inside not drying, giving the impression the drum is not heating. If your clothes feel warm but damp, you need to check the vent and most likely you will need to clean it.
Run your dryer on maximum heat for a few minutes. Then place your hand over the vent and check for a high level of airflow pushing out of the event, and also check the temperature of the airflow. If it feels slightly warm on your hand, but the airflow is weak, the vent is partially blocked and needs cleaning.
How to Clear a Blocked Vent
- Unplug your dryer from the main power outlet
- Disconnect the dryer vent hose from the wall plate
- Try to pull out as much of the lint and dust clumps as you can
- Then use your vacuum to clear the remaining buildup
- Finally use a flexible handle vent brush to push out any remaining lint to clear the
3. No Gas Flow or Defective Ignitor
Your dryer has several gas valve solenoids, which are small flow valves that open and close allowing gas to flow into the ignition chamber. When gas flows into the ignition chamber the ignitor glows hot and the gas combusts. However, when a defective solenoid fails to open up, the ignitor will put out a glow, but fail to ignite due to the absence of gas in the ignition chamber.
You can check the solenoid value by simply observing if the gas in the chamber ignites when the ignitor glows.
- Unplug the dryer and remove the side panel to locate the solenoid
- Check your user manual to help locate the solenoid valve on your particular dryer model. They are usually located at the bottom of the dryer at the back
- Then observe the ignitor, to see if it glows and fails to ignite. It should ignite and produce a blue gas flame, it just glows with no ignition this indicates the gas valve has failed.
- If this happens it is likely the whole set of solenoids will need to be changed
If the ignitor does not give off a glow, you will need to test it, as this could well be the problem. So let’s work through the testing process. Here’s a video guide that you may find helpful.
How to Test for a Defective Ignitor
Follow these steps to test the ignitor in your GE dryer for continuity:
- Unplug your dryer
- Grab a screwdriver and use it to remove the screws that hold the front panel.
- Now remove the entire front panel, as well as the drum and the belt.
- Once you’re finished removing these parts, you’ll notice a long metallic cylinder on the inside of your dryer. The ignitor is attached to the cylinder, see an image of the ignitor below.
- Take your multimeter and set it to the lowest ohm setting.
- As long as you get a reading of 50-400 ohms, the component is working properly.
- If you get any other readings, you should replace the ignitor
4. Heating Element Burnt Out
Electric dryers use a heating element to generate the heat used to dry your clothes. In simple terms, the heating element works on the same principle as the glowing coil in an electric heater. If the coil gets too hot it will overheat and burn out, which can happen if there is restricted airflow or some other electrical failure within the system. You can use a multimeter to test the heating element for continuity, and if it fails it will need to be replaced.
Inspecting The Heating Element
- To access the dryer heating element, you will need to remove the back panel.
- Take a multimeter and set it to the continuity setting.
- Connect its leads to the heating element’s terminals one by one.
- If the heating element is working, you’ll hear a beeping sound when you connect the leads.
Is The Heating Element Worth Replacing
The cost of a replacement heating element for a GE dryer ranges between $15 and $40, depending on the model of your appliance. With that being said, it’s absolutely worth replacing this component, even if you are not confident in performing the task yourself, it is still cost-effective to call in a professional appliance technician.
5. Blown Thermal Fuse
The thermal fuse is a critically important safety component within any clothes dryer. Its primary function is to detect when your dryer starts to overheat and respond by switching off the heating element. If there was no thermal fuse in your dryer, the heat would gradually increase until it hit extreme temperatures and potentially start a fire.
If the thermal fuse blows or is defective in any way, it will send an irregular message to your dryer’s control board, triggering a shutdown, as a preventative message against fire risk. So this means the fuse will need replacing before the dryer’s control board receives a ‘safe’ signal to heat the dryer again.
Check The Thermal Fuse on Your GE Dryer
The thermal fuse, also known as the high-limit thermostat will need a continuity test to check that it is working.
- Switch off the power by unplugging your dryer
- It’s a good idea to refer to your User Manual to locate the thermal fuse on your specific dryer model
- Use a multimeter to check the thermostat for continuity. If it fails, it will need to be replaced
Once have the correct replacement thermal fuse for your dryer, you can watch the short video below, offering clear instructions on how to install it.
6. Inspecting The Cycling Thermostat
The cycling thermostat is a component that regulates the temperature in your dryer, by controlling the voltage flowing to the burner assembly. This component is typically located inside the blower housing, where it monitors the air temperature to prevent overheating. The standard operating temperatures inside the heating assembly will range between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and the cycling thermostat will switch off the flow of power to the heating assembly on reaching the upper limits of this normal air temperature range, 160 degrees.
If it fails there is a potential risk of overheating, but it can also block power from reaching the burner assembly, leading to no heat being produced in your dryer. You can check whether this component is faulty with a multimeter.
How to Test the Cycling Thermostat in Your GE Dryer
- Before you do anything, you should first make sure that your dryer is unplugged from the power outlet
- Use a screwdriver to remove the back access panel.
- You will find the thermostat in either the venting system or the blower wheel housing, depending on the model of your dryer.
- Take your multimeter and connect its leads to the thermostat’s terminals.
- If the cycling thermostat is working properly, you’ll get a reading of 0 ohms.
You can find a detailed guide on how to test a dryer thermostat in the video below.
Why is My Brand New GE Dryer Not Heating
It’s very unusual for brand-new dryers to not heat up. Below is a list detailing the most probable causes. However, if it’s brand-new it will be under guarantee so take advantage of this cover and contact the manufacturer, as attempting to fix the dryer yourself may void the guarantee.
- Check the power supply, at the outlet and the circuit breaker
- Check the dryer vent for blockage or clogging
- It may be a faulty gas solenoid valve or ignitor
- The heating element may be faulty or possibly a wiring connection issue
- It could also be a blown thermal fuse or faulty cycling thermostat
The first thing you should remember is that your appliance is under warranty, so it won’t cost you a dime to get it fixed. You can try testing different components for continuity to figure out which one is faulty, but the best option is simply to get the dryer replaced free of charge under your warranty agreement.
Resetting A GE Dryer That’s Not Heating
If your GE dryer stops not heating it may be possible to fix it by performing a simple reset. Just the same as when your computer or TV starts to malfunction and you reset it to get it working as normal. Some GE dyer models have a specific reset button, so it’s simply a case of pressing it. If there is no dedicated reset button try this reboot method:
- Turn the power off at the well and unplug the dryer for a few minutes
- Plug it back in and try to run a drying program
There’s no guarantee that this method will get your GE dryer working properly, but it’s always worth a try.
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.