Why Is My Dryer Not Getting Hot? Causes and Solutions

Fred's Appliance Academy
September 8, 2023
Dryer Training

You’ve been doing your laundry and suddenly realize that your clothes are still wet after being in the dryer for more than an hour. You touch the clothes only to realize that the dryer isn’t getting hot, leaving you with damp laundry. This can be frustrating, and you may even worry that you’ll need to call a maintenance specialist to come and fix the problem.

However, before you go down that road, there are a few things you could look out for to try to solve the problem. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some common causes of a dryer not getting hot and possible solutions to help get your dryer back in working condition.

Power Problems

The first thing to check is if the dryer is properly plugged in. You might be surprised to find out that sometimes the plug gets slightly dislodged, which could cut off the power supply. 

If the plug is properly in and the dryer still isn’t turning on, check to see if the circuit breaker has tripped. Locate the circuit breaker switch and turn it off and on to be sure that it’s indeed functional.

If you have a gas dryer, check to see if the gas supply is turned on and ensure there are no leaks. Check for the smell of rotten eggs, which can signal a gas leak. You can also use a little soapy water along the connection hoses’ valves. The mix will bubble if there is any gas leaking.

If there is a gas leak, turn off the gas immediately and call a repair professional. 

If you have any concerns about a gas leak, call your local fire department.

Clogged Air Vents

Another possible reason that your dryer is not getting hot is airflow. The airflow is key to the drying process, and any blockages in the dryer’s vent could be a problem. 

Clogged air vents can affect the efficiency of the dryer, which can affect its ability to effectively dry clothes. Not to mention being a fire hazard.

Ensure you clean the vents regularly to allow for maximum airflow, preventing any clogs and dust build-up that could affect the dryer’s functioning. Be sure to clear the air vent hose regularly as well. Cleaning the vents every six months can go a long way to keeping your dryer running smoothly.

Filthy Lint Filter

The lint filter is another essential component of the dryer system that should never be ignored. A clogged lint filter will significantly reduce a dryer’s efficiency, leading to damp clothes even after hours in the machine. 

To prevent this, ensure you clean the filter after every cycle. A clean filter will allow the air to flow freely, heating up the drum and efficiently drying clothes, leaving them fresh and clean.

Thermostat Malfunctions

If you’ve ruled out power problems and cleared the vents and filter, the thermostat is the next thing to check. The thermostat is responsible for regulating the heat in your dryer, ensuring that it’s not too hot for your clothes. A dryer that isn’t heating up to the required temperatures could be a sign that the thermostat has failed. In this case, you may need to have it replaced.

You can check it yourself if you are not afraid of a little DIY and disassembly.

First, unplug the dryer, turn off the gas (if you have a gas dryer), and pull it away from the wall. Next, disconnect the vents and gas connections. 

Next, use a screwdriver to remove the back panel of the dryer. Then, locate the thermostat. The thermostat is a small oval mechanism next to the vent system. You can detach the wires connected to the thermostat and test for continuity with a multimeter.

If the thermostat has continuity, then it is working well, and you’ll need to keep looking. Fortunately, the next likely culprit is right nearby.

Faulty Heating Element

Another reason your dryer isn’t getting hot is that the heating element may be faulty. The heating element is what provides heat to the drum to ensure efficient drying of your clothes. If it’s faulty, it’ll affect the machine’s ability to heat up, leaving your clothes cold and still damp. You’ll need to test the heating element with a multimeter to help identify the extent of the damage, and a faulty heating element usually needs to be replaced.  This assumes your dryer has a heating element at all, gas dryers will typically use an ignitor.  

To access the heating element, follow the steps above to access the interior of the dryer. Locate the thermostat. It is the small oval-shaped mechanism next to the vents system.

Remove the thermostat. Now, unscrew the little box the thermostat was attached to. That box is your heating element. Test the heating element for continuity. If it is faulty, it will need to be replaced.

To replace the heating element, reattach the thermostat to the new element, and secure the element in place by screwing it back in. From there, you can reverse the steps above to put your dryer back together.

Plug it in, and run a short test cycle to ensure the dryer is heating now. If it still is not, the problem may be deeper.

Thermal Fuse Blown 

The thermal fuse is a safety feature installed in your dryer that is designed to stop the machine from overheating due to a mechanical fault. If the thermal fuse has blown, it could be why your dryer isn’t getting hot. To test for this, follow the instructions in the previous sections to access the interior of the dryer. Once you have completed this, locate the thermal fuse.

To test the fuse for a break in continuity, use a multimeter. If it shows no continuity, then the fuse is blown and must be replaced. To replace the fuse, buy a new one from a hardware store that matches your dryer’s specifications and install it in place of the old one. 

In summary, there could be various reasons your dryer isn’t heating up. Power problems, thermostat malfunctions, clogged air vents, and a dirty lint filter all need to be checked.

However, with some basic troubleshooting, you should be able to quickly identify the problem and, in some cases, fix it yourself. 

Remember, for more serious problems, it’s always best to get a professional electrician or maintenance technician to take a look to keep you and your appliance safe.

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