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Why Is My Dryer Hot Heating?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Learn Why Your Dryer is Not Heating and What to do With it

There are many possible reasons why a dryer will not heat up adequately enough to get your clothes dry. Some are simple enough that you can fix them on your own, while others need professional servicing. No matter the reason, it is possible to investigate the cause of the problem and be better informed about the solution. If you’re faced with the same problem, read on to learn some dryer troubleshooting tips.

Reasons for a Dryer Not Heating Up

An unheated dryer can seem like it’s taking forever to get clothes dry. It is essentially a spinning machine with a fan, drying clothes the way line drying works. While it will eventually dry your laundry, it takes much longer and almost defeats the purpose of having a dryer in the first place.

Fortunately, there are ways to restore the heating capabilities of your dryer.  A dryer not drying is a common issue and there are tried and tested solutions you can try to restore its heating capability. If you’re confident about doing some repair work, try and troubleshoot a dryer not heating with the following tips:

Appliance Repair Clothes Dryer Not Heating Best Practices
Always check the lint screen to make sure it’s free of debris and be sure to clean it out after each dryer cycle.

Dirty Lint Screen

One common (and easy to resolve) reason why dryers fail to get clothes dry is a blocked or dirty lint screen. Your dryer should ideally dry clothes properly if you clean the screen whenever you use it. If you don’t clean the lint screen, the buildup of excess lint will decrease the device’s airflow and cause additional stress on the machine’s heating system.

Clean the lint screen following the instructions below:

  • Locate the lint screen in the door opening or at the top of the dryer
  • Open the lint screen and remove the lint using your fingers
  • Once the lint is removed, close the screen and push it back in

If you are cleaning the lint screen after each load, be careful not to rinse it with water or it will make removing the lint more difficult. As for deep cleaning the lint trap, it’s recommended to do so every six months.

Lack of Power

You may not have noticed, but your dryer may not be heating because it doesn’t have enough power. There’s a possibility your electric dryer is not heating because it is connected to an outlet that sends less than 240 volts of power. Electric dryers need a 240-volt supply for them to work, so less power is sure to cause some issues.

In the case of gas dryers, gas is supplied to the appliance through a valve. It opens when the handle is turned parallel to the gas pipe. The drum of the dryer still turns even when the valve is closed, but it will not heat if this is the case. If your gas dryer is not heating, check first and ensure that there is gas flowing through it.

Appliance Repair Clothes Dryer Overload Problem
One common reason for dryers not heating is that they’re overloaded with too many clothes to effectively work.

Too Big of a Load Size

For the clothes to tumble and hot air to circulate in the dryer, there has to be enough space inside. This means that if your dryer isn’t working properly and not drying clothes fast enough, your load might be too big. Ensure that the dryer has enough airflow by checking that your load is the right size.

If you suspect that the load size is the problem, confirm it by removing the clothes you were drying and drying them again with clothes removed so that only ¾ of the drum is filled. If you observe that the clothes are finally drying, then you have successfully solved the issue.

Our resident home improvement guru, John Turpin, has compiled these common tips and tricks for improving the function of your clothes dryer or fix issues with it not heating.

Clothes Are Soaking Wet

Did you place soaking wet clothes in the dryer? If so, It’s a likely reason why your dryer is not getting clothes dry. The reason is the excess moisture of the too-wet clothes make it much more difficult for the dryer to dry the laundry.

If your laundry is sopping wet, try running a drain and spin or spin cycle in the washer. Doing so will remove the load’s excess water. Or, if you washed clothing by hand, you can just wring every piece of sopping wet clothes by hand before you put them in the dryer. This will ensure that the clothes aren’t too wet and too difficult to dry.

Appliance Repair Clothes Dryer Not Heating Fix Ideas
Blown thermal fuses or problems with heating elements are other common issues that prevent clothes dryers from not functioning optimally.

Blown Thermal Fuse

One of the more serious reasons behind a dryer not getting warm is a blown fuse. Dryers have a thermal fuse for preventing fires. The fuse goes off when the dryer’s temperature gets a bit too high, effectively shutting the appliance down. It is a one-time device, though, and that means it has to be replaced after it gets blown. Call a professional to replace the fuse.

Problem With the Heating Elements

Electric dryers heat the air in the drum using a heating element. This is as opposed to the burner used in gas dryers. The heating element is crucial because if it ends up damaged, then there is no way to heat the air. This obviously means there is no way for the electric dryer to produce heat.

When this happens, the best solution is to call a professional. Fixing or replacing the heating element involves disassembling the dryer, which an ordinary homeowner isn’t capable of doing. It is best to let an experienced contractor take care of it to prevent further damage to the dryer’s heating system.

Appliance Repair Clothes Dryer Not Heating Repair Tips
To have your clothes dryer working well, consider a professional appliance repair service.

DIY vs. Professional

Should you work on your dryer or let a professional fix it for you? Most homeowners don’t know how to replace or fix dryer parts unless they are a particularly experienced DIY-er. If you have the tools, skills, and experience to fix a dryer that’s not heating all on your own, it’s perfectly okay to try repairing it.

If you don’t have experience repairing appliances, calling a professional is often your best option. Appliance repair technicians are not only experienced repairmen. They’re also capable of fixing different brands, such as Kenmore, Bosch, Samsung, Amana, and LG. More importantly, their services come with warranties and will not likely void your dryer’s original warranty.

Dryer Not Heating Repair FAQs

What do I do to ensure my dryer works properly?

Clearing and cleaning the lint screen of the dryer after each use is essential to ensure the device’s optimal performance. Clean the lint screen with soap, water, and a nylon brush every six months or as needed. You should do the same with venting that extends to the exterior of your home. Clean it every one or two years or when you notice that the dryer isn’t working as well as before. Cleaning your dryer as frequently as possible is one of the easiest ways to extend the appliance’s lifespan.

Can a dryer still dry clothes without heat?

Your dryer may still be able to dry clothes without it blowing hot air, but of limited capacity. It will have the same drying performance as line drying. The dryer is unlikely to be able to do much effectively, possibly just removing lint or fluffing up clothes. Therefore, you should get your dryer checked by a professional as soon as possible.

How do I know that my dryer vent is clogged?

One sign that tells your dryer vent might be clogged is if it’s not producing heat even when the device is still running. Another sign is if there’s a significant lint buildup around the dryer’s outside vent. You can also tell if the dryer is clogged if the outside of the device is extremely hot. The possibility that it is clogged is even more reinforced if there is a burning smell coming from the dryer.

How do I unclog my dryer vent?

The easiest and safest approach to unclogging a clogged dryer vent is hiring a professional duct cleaning company. But if you have the time, you can try to unclog it yourself by clearing the lint trap. You should also vacuum the area around the trap to remove any remaining lint. Don’t forget to check the back of your dryer, remove the vent hose and shake out any lint and debris. Also, gently vacuum the inside of the dryer and the inside of the vent hose.

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