Troubleshooting Common Dryer Problems

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It’s always frustrating to throw a load of wet clothes in the dryer, then discover that your dryer isn’t working. Whether it won’t start, it won’t produce heat, or it won’t spin, you want to take care of the problem as soon as possible. Here are several common problems you may face with your dryer.

Always unplug your dryer before attempting to make repairs.

Dryer Will Not Turn On

If your dryer will not start, there are several possible causes.

Power Supply

Before troubleshooting your dryer, check the power supply to ensure your dryer is getting electricity. Check the outlet’s voltage with a multimeter. If the outlet is not getting power, make sure none of your circuit breakers have been tripped. If they haven’t been tripped but the outlet is still not receiving power, it may need replacing. Have a licensed electrician repair the outlet.If the outlet is working correctly, your dryer’s power cord may need to be replaced. Dryer power cords can become frayed as they age.

Door Switch

The door switch prevents your dryer from tumbling unless the door is closed. A dryer that won’t start may be the result of a defective door switch.Lint or other debris can collect around the door switch or the door gasket, preventing the switch from engaging. Make sure the door gasket is clean. If cleaning the switch does not solve the problem, the switch may be faulty. If so, it will need replacing.  

Start Switch

The start switch is located in the dryer’s main console. When depressed, the start switch sends power to the dryer’s drive motor. The dryer will not start if the start switch is defective. Follow these steps to check your start switch with a multimeter.

  • Unplug your dryer.
  • Remove the control console panel from the top of the dryer.
  • Set your multimeter to RX1 and clip the probes to the switch’s terminals. You should see a reading of infinity.
  • With the probes still touching the switch’s terminals, press the start button. You should now see a reading of zero. If not, the start switch will need to be replaced.

No Heat

If your dryer is tumbling but not producing any heat, check the settings first. Make sure you’ve selected the correct settings for the load of laundry you’re drying. If the settings are correct, here’s what could be causing the problem.

Heating Element

The heating element is found in the dryer’s back panel. It’s a coil of heating wire. You can visually inspect the heating element to look for any burned or damaged areas. A damaged heating element will need replacing. You can also check for continuity using a multimeter.

  • Unplug your dryer.
  • Remove the leads from the heating element.
  • Set your multimeter to RX, then press the probes to the heating element’s terminals.
  • The heating element needs replacing if you see a reading of zero.

Temperature Switch

The dryer’s temperature switch can also be checked with a multimeter. Unplug your dryer and open the control panel. Set your multimeter to RX1, remove the leads, and touch the probes to the temperature switch’s terminals. You should receive a reading of either zero or infinity. Next, turn the switch, then test it again. You should receive a different reading the second time. If your first reading was infinity, your second reading should be zero. If the first reading was zero, the second reading should be infinity. If you get any other result, replace the temperature switch.

Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is a safety feature designed to protect the dryer from overheating. It’s usually found in white plastic housing in the dryer’s back panel. If the dryer becomes too hot, the thermal fuse will “trip” and interrupt power to the dryer. Some models of dryers have more than one thermal fuse. The fuse cannot be reset. If the thermal fuse is damaged, it will need to be replaced. You can use a multimeter to check your dryer’s thermal fuse.

  • Disconnect your dryer from power.
  • Remove the dryer’s back panel to locate the thermal fuse. It’s usually located on the heating element or the blower housing.
  • Set your multimeter to RX1. Touch the probes to each terminal to test for continuity. You should see a reading of infinity or zero. If your thermal fuse does not pass this test, it will need replacing.

Drum Does Not Spin

If your dryer will not tumble, the problem is likely to be a defective belt, a worn drum roller or drive bearing, or a faulty drive motor.

Belt

A damaged or worn dryer belt will not be able to turn the drum. If your dryer won’t spin, inspect the belt and replace it if it’s damaged. Make sure to select the correct belt for your model. It’s best practice to install a new idler pulley when you install a new dryer belt. A worn idler pulley creates extra stress on the belt, shortening its life.If the belt is not worn or broken, it may simply be out of place. Ensure it’s properly connected to the pulley configuration.

Drum Support Rollers and Roller Axles

The dryer drum sits on support rollers. Over time, the support rollers can become worn or damaged. To check your dryer’s support rollers:

  • Unplug your dryer.
  • Open the dryer’s cabinet.
  • Remove the drum, then inspect the drum support rollers for signs of wear. If they’re damaged or worn, they’ll need replacing.

The rollers’ axles can also become worn over time. The drum rollers will not spin freely if the axels are worn. While you’re inspecting the dryer’s support rollers, check the axels, too.

Drum Bearing

The rear of the drum is supported by the drum bearing. If the drum bearing is worn, the drive motor will stop. Check the drum bearing by removing the dryer belt and turning the drum by hand. If the drum is difficult to turn, or makes grinding or squealing sounds, you’ll need to replace the drum bearing.

Drive Motor

The dryer’s drive motor turns the blower and the drum. A faulty drive motor will prevent your dryer from tumbling and may cause your dryer not to start. If you hear a humming sound but your dryer does not spin, you may need to replace the drive motor. Contact us today for assistance with your dryer, or to schedule an appointment with a repair expert.

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