8 Reasons Your Whirlpool Dryer Is Not Starting | How To Fix

If your Whirlpool dryer is not starting, your first instinct might be to contact a professional repair technician. Although the help of a repairman is sometimes necessary, there might actually be a somewhat simple solution to why your dryer won’t start. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to fix the problem yourself and save a lot of money.

Whirlpool Dryer Has No Power

If your dryer won’t start due to a lack of power, there are three simple check we can make to to identify where the failure is in the power supply. The first place we will look is the incoming power supply from the plug, we will then work back to the circuit breaker and finally inspect the dryers thermal switch.

1. Is Your Whirlpool Dryer Plugged In

It might sound obvious, but you will have to check whether your Whirlpool dryer is actually plugged in. Make sure you also inspect the power source. Most people today leave their appliances unplugged when they’re not using them. After all, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends you do exactly that, primarily for safety reasons. Another reason to unplug your appliances when you’re not using them is to avoid wasting electrical energy, whilst the machine sits on standby.

But if you regularly unplug devices when they’re not in use, there’s a chance you might forget to plug them back in, or maybe someone else in your home unplugged it. You would be surprised how many callout I’ve been on and solved it by plugging int he appliance. That’s exactly why the first thing you should do is check if your dryer is plugged in.

2. Check That the Circuit Breaker Is Off

The circuit breaker in your home is there to prevent circuits from overheating and potentially causing a fire. One of the most common reasons why a circuit breaker trips is running too many appliances at the same time. You will either need to be more mindful of how and when you use your appliances or upgrade the electrical system in your home to prevent overload problems like this happening.

3. Check If Thermal Fuse Has Tripped

Your dryer has a thermal fuse installed inside of it, which serves the same purpose as a circuit breaker. The thermal fuse is there to shut the dryer off if it detects that the appliance is overheating. This is a safety mechanism intended to prevent a fire from breaking out. However, the thermal fuse suffer irreparable damage when it trips, meaning its safety function will only work once before it needs to be replaced. If you’re not sure whether the thermal fuse in your dryer has blown, you will need to test it for continuity. Below is a step by step guide demonstrating how to test for continuity.

Whirlpool dryer thermal fuse
Whirlpool dryer thermal fuse

Testing a Thermal Fuse

  1. First you will need to unplug the dryer to prevent the risk of electric shock. If you have a gas dryer, make sure that you turn shut off the gas valve.
  2. Next take a screwdriver and remove the screws that secure the front and rear panels.
  3. Remove the panels, along with the top panel and the drum.
  4. You will now be able to locate the thermal fuse, which is located near the heating element in electric models. When it comes to gas models, you’ll see the fuse near the burner.
  5. The thermal fuse is a small device up to 2 inches in length, see image above for a visual reference.
  6. Remove the thermal fuse and grab your multimeter.
  7. You’ll need to set the multimeter to the lowest resistance setting and connect its leads to the fuse’s terminals.
  8. If you get a reading of 0 ohms, it means that the fuse is in good condition. In case you get any other reading, it means that you’ll need to replace it with a new thermal fuse.

How to Replace a Thermal Fuse

You’ve already located and tested the thermal fuse in your dryer for continuity. If you determine that there is no continuity, you’ll have to replace this component to get your dryer working again. To replace it you simply remove the connecting wires and unscrew the fuse and replace it with the new unit.

If you’re looking for a visual guide on how to replace a thermal fuse, you should check out the video below.

Dryer Repair- Replacing the Thermal Fuse (Whirlpool Part# 3392519)

Whirlpool Dryer is On But Won’t Start

Blown-out thermal fuses and tripped-out circuit breakers are common reasons why your dryer might not have any power. However, there are also instances where your dryer is receiving power, but won’t start a program. There are several reasons why this could be happening, such as the child lock, a problem with the door latch or switch, a defective start switch or even a faulty drive motor. With this many possible causes, you will need to follow the sequence of troubleshooting steps below in order to diagnose the root cause.

4. Check The Child Lock

Children are unpredictable and tend to play around with just about anything as a natural part of their learning process. That’s exactly why modern dryers need to feature a child lock. This feature is designed to prevent children from operating the dryer or changing its settings.

If your dryer has power but won’t start, the first thing that you should check is whether the child lock is on. It’s normal to forget that you enabled this setting the last time you were using your dryer. If you have a Whirlpool dryer with an LCD display, you’ll notice an error code pop-up reading “Loc” when you try to use the appliance. This means that the child lock is on.

How to Unlock the Child Lock

If the child lock is preventing the dryer from starting, you can get it up and running within a few seconds. All you’ll have to do is hold down the control lock button for five seconds and then you’ll be able to use your dryer again. Some Whirlpool dryer models require you to swipe the lock away on the touchscreen instead of holding down the button.

5. Door Not Latched Shut

Your dryer won’t start unless the door is securely closed. This is a safety mechanism to prevent the dryer accidently spinning whilst you are loading the drum. When you shut the door, it will engage with the latch to signal to the machine that it’s safe to operate. It often happens that an item of clothing lodges where the latch is, preventing the latch closing, therefore also preventing the drying cycle from starting a cycle. You probably wouldn’t even notice that this happened, so be sure to double-check that the door is fully closed and the latch has engaged.

How to Replace a Broken Door Latch

You should hear a clicking sound when you close the door. If you don’t and there are no clothes obstructing it, it is more than likely means that the latch is broken. Thankfully, it’s very easy to replace a broken door latch. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. Start by unplugging the dryer as a safety precaution.
  2. Take a pair of needle nose pliers and clamp onto the latch and push it from one side to the other until you get it out.
  3. Get the replacement latch and a pair of needle nose pliers.
  4. You will have to carefully push the latch with the pliers to one side until it fits into position.
  5. The final step is to grab the latch with your hands and slightly push it until it snaps into place.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to replace the door latch on your dryer, you should check out the video below.

279570 - Replacing Your Dryer's Door Latch

6. Faulty Start Switch

The start switch is a simple and durable components, but it get a lot use and won’t last forever. The start switch serves the purpose of sending a signal to the motor that it should begin running. When it, the motor can’t receive the signal.

You can easily check whether the start switch is causing the issue. All you’ll have to do is listen carefully to the appliance after you push the button. If you hear any type of clicking or any other noises implying the dryer is trying to activate, the start switch will not be the problem. If when pressing the start switch there is no sign of the dryer attempting to move into action, the start switch is most likely defective and needs replacing.

Whirlpool dryer start switch
Whirlpool dryer start switch

How to Test a Faulty Start Switch

It’s easy to get an idea of whether the start switch is working properly using the method described above. However, there’s a more reliable way of determining for certain whether the component is defective. This method involves using a multimeter. Here’s how you can test a start switch for continuity.

  1. Start by shutting the power off to your dryer.
  2. Grab a screwdriver and remove the screws that secure the control panel.
  3. Remove all of the wires leading to the start switch your find but take a photo before you do that to know how to reattach them later.
  4. After you remove the start switch from the appliance, you should grab your multimeter.
  5. Set the multimeter to the lowest resistance setting and connect its leads to the terminals of the start switch.
  6. You should get a reading of infinity if the switch is in good condition.
  7. It’s important that you do another test while the leads are still touching the switch’s terminals. Press in on the component and the reading should now be 0 ohms. This is another sign that the switch is working as it should.
  8. In case you get different results while testing the start switch for continuity, it means that the component should be replaced.

7. Defective Drive Motor

A faulty drive motor is one of the more serious problems you can have with this type appliance. The motor has the critical function of rotating the drum, and you won’t get far without if. A buildup of lint buildup can cause the motor to overheat and ultimately fail. If this motor stops working, you’ll likely hear a slight humming sound coming from the dryer, as the motor attempts to start.

Replacing the drive motor is a job that’s better left to the professionals. It takes a lot more time and knowledge and should only be undertaken by a skilled appliance repair technician.

8. Broken Drive Belt or Pulleys

If all of the components checked so far are working properly, it’s highly likely that your dryer has a problem with the drive belt. You can usually establish this by turning the dryer drum by hand. The drive belt should give some level of resistance when you try to turn the drum. If there is no resistance, it’s likely that the drive belt is broken and will need to be replaced.

How to Replace a Drive Belt

You will be able to replace a drive belt in under an hour. The process itself isn’t difficult at all and you’ll only need a screwdriver and a replacement belt. Here’s how you can go about replacing a drive belt in your Whirlpool dryer.

  1. Make sure that you first shut the power off to your dryer. In case you have a gas dryer, then you should shut off the gas valve.
  2. You will need to disassemble the dryer, so move it away from the wall so that you have enough space to remove certain parts.
  3. Remove the screws which secure the front and the top panel. After you’ve finished that, remove the two panels.
  4. It’s easy to spot the drive belt since it’s wrapped around the drum.
  5. Remove it and wrap the replacement belt around the drum.
  6. The final step is to attach the new belt to both the motor and the idler pulleys.

Whirlpool Dryer Is Not Starting – Solved

Hopefully, this troubleshooting guide has proven to be a useful and easy-to-follow process for you, resulting in a satisfactory diagnosis and fix. Once you have confirmed the power supply is good the most probable cause will be a faulty door switch or door latch, so be sure to thoroughly check these two areas before moving on to the next option within this guide.

Andrew Brown
Appliance Service Technician | Website

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.