How to Diagnose and Repair a Whirlpool Dryer That Runs but Won’t Heat

Alex HDryer RepairLeave a Comment

Back in 2009, John La Grou, an electronics innovator, gave a Ted Talk on how to prevent home and office fires with a “smarter type of electrical outlet”. John wanted to look his best. The night before he was to give his Ted Talk, he did a load of laundry. After the wash cycle completed, he threw the load in the dryer and went to bed. Upon rising, he went to the laundry room, opened the dryer door, only to find that his laundry was still as damp as when he had pulled it from the washing machine. He only had a few hours before his presentation. In dismay, he Googled the keywords, dryer won’t heat up. Lacking the time to do any troubleshooting on his own, he called a reputable appliance repair company where he was greeted by a kind and patient customer service representative who asked a few basic questions. The inquiries seem basic but were intended to eliminate oversights that could happen to anyone. Especially when your mind is overloaded with other obligations.  When troubleshooting, it is best to start with the most obvious and simple repairs first, working toward the more uncommon and difficult repairs.
The customer service rep wanted to know the following:
  • Does the dryer run at all?
  • If the dryer does not run, have you looked to see if the dryer is plugged in?
  • If the dryer is plugged in but still does not run, have you checked the circuit breaker switch? It is possible for there to have been an overload on the circuitry that tripped a breaker switch.
  • However, if you’re not on a circuit breaker system, have you looked for a blown fuse?
  • Have you checked the selector switch to see if you set it to air dry only?
  • When you open the dryer door, are you met with the distinct scent of mold and mildew? This could indicate poor drainage or some type of moisture leak from previous drying sessions and definitely increases the chances of an electrical short. If the washer is leaking, some of that water could have invaded the dryer and become the source of moisture.
Asking these questions may seem redundant but could save John the expense of an unnecessary service call.
Let’s assume that John’s dryer runs but does not heat up. There are a few reasons for this to happen and the remainder of this article will focus on two of them.

Tools Needed

  • Multi-meter
  • 5/16th nut driver
  • Flathead screwdriver
The multimeter is the most important tool in an appliance repair toolkit. Give particular consideration on how to check for continuity. In reference to electrical components, continuity is simply the unbroken flow of electricity from its power source and distributed through the appliance components. A break in continuity in any part of the electrical system would indicate that electrical current is not flowing to that component. The good news is that if you do find a break in continuity you will usually have found the part that needs to be repaired or replaced.
Unplug the dryer before beginning any work. Be careful while you work around sharp edges and delicate components. You don’t want to cut yourself and you don’t want to damage another component.

Testing the Thermostat for Continuity

The high limit thermostat is actuated by temperature change. It is located behind the back panel and is attached to the heating element. The thermostat must be removed (see below) and tested at room temperature. Testing for continuity will determine if there is an unbroken flow of current. The following guide is for an analog multimeter.
  • Dial the ohms resistance to the smallest possible setting
  • Calibrate the multimeter by touching the probes together and adjust the display needle to zero
  • Next, place a probe on either of the thermostat terminals and the other probe on the other thermostat terminal
  • If the multimeter reads zero ohms of resistance, the thermostat has continuity
  • If the multimeter display needle does not move or change, there is no continuity and the thermostat should be replaced
Thermostats should show continuity at room temperature and should shut off when heated up. If it doesn’t turn off when heated, the dryer could overheat and increase the chance of a home fire.
If the thermostat didn’t test well for continuity, replace it. It’s an inexpensive repair and shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to complete. Here’s how to access the thermostat on your Whirlpool Dryer.

How to Remove and Replace the Thermostat

  • The thermostat is attached to the heating element located behind the back panel
  • Remove the back panel
  • Disconnect the wire from the old high-limit thermostat
  • Detach the thermostat from the heating element terminal – Test for continuity (see above)
  • If the thermostat failed, replace it. Position the new thermostat and secure with two screws
  • Reconnect the wire to the top terminal
  • Use the wire that came with the thermostat replacement package and connects the thermostat to the heating element
The thermostat is designed to turn off at high temperature. If it doesn’t shut off when heated, the dryer itself could overheat, increasing the chance of a home fire. This is one reason to not throw your clothes in the dryer and then go out to lunch or whatever. Never leave a dryer running while you’re not at home. Now let’s take a look at the thermal fuse.

Testing the Thermal Fuse for Continuity

  • With a multimeter, set the ohms resistance to the smallest possible setting
  • Calibrate the multimeter by touching the probes together and adjust the display needle to zero
  • Next, place a probe on the thermal fuse terminal and the other probe on the other terminal
  • If the multimeter reads zero ohms of resistance, the thermal fuse has continuity
  • If the multimeter display needle does not move or change, there is no continuity and the thermal fuse should be replaced
You won’t be able to determine if a thermal fuse has failed by simply looking at it. It must be removed and tested for continuity.

How to Remove and Replace the Thermal Fuse

  • Disconnect the wires to the old thermal fuse, remove the screw that holds the fuse in place, and remove the old thermal fuse
  • Next, install the new thermal fuse with the mounting screw
  • Reconnect the wires
  • Replace the back panel
  • Plug the dryer back in to make sure it’s functioning properly
Oftentimes a failed thermal fuse is caused by a clogged venting system. Ensure the venting system is free of lint and any other material that may have inadvertently become lodged inside. It is recommended that you check the venting system after you change the thermal fuse. To inspect the dryer vents, turn the dryer on and inspect the vent flap to see if it opens when the air is being pushed through the system. If it opens you’re good to go. If not, that means that something is preventing the air flow to escape. Dryer venting systems should be inspected annually.
We have yet to discuss some of the more difficult repairs that could solve your dryer heating problems. If this simple repair tutorial does not fix your dyer, or if you need a part contact us for more information.

5 Reasons Why Your Electric Cook-top Burners Won’t Get Hot

Alex HOven RepairLeave a Comment

In preparation to cook a meal, people from all over the world turn on their electric stovetop burners and give no thought as to how any of it works. They want to cook an omelet, boil some water, or maybe grill a big fat juicy rib-eye and the only thing they want is the end product sitting on their plate. What they may not realize is how this process works and they may not care how it works until a time comes when it doesn’t.
So, let’s fan the flames of some basic electricity knowhow that may help you understand how your range works and what could be wrong with it when it doesn’t work, usually when you need it the most.

Understanding How an Electric Range Works

The more someone knows how something works the easier it is to diagnose why something is not working. You don’t need an associate degree in electronics to understand how an electric range works. Of course, we are going to be discussing how to repair an electric cooktop, but it is good to have a basic understanding how the range works.
  • Electricity from a power source is delivered to a terminal block inside your range through three large wires in the power cord.
  • Electrical power is then distributed to the various components that operate the various features of the range. Such as the thermostat, heating elements, and the heating coils that comprise most of the cooktop.
  • Heating elements are insulated coils with a metal covering that creates heat and electrical resistance to achieve the desired temperature.
  • Range cooktops come equipped with either a conventional burner or a radiant burner. The radiant burner sits underneath a ceramic surface that was designed for better heat distribution.
  • Each element is supported by its own switch that turns the burner on and sends a message to the thermostat to heat to the desired temperature.
  • The oven is designed to effectively maximize heat and air control.
  • Desired levels of heat are controlled by switches and thermostats.
  • Switches control the on and off while the thermostat controls the level of the desired temperature.
  • One type of switch for electric range tops is called an infinite-heat switch which pulsates power to heating elements on an as-needed basis, maintaining the correct level of heat.

#1. Burner Won’t Heat Because of an Electrical Short

  • Plug-in burners can collect grease and moisture into the power source receptacle.
  • This can lead to an arcing situation creating an intermittent electrical short that may not be noticed any more than a minor headache.
  • Eventually, the element will burn out.

Solution

  • To prevent a burner from shorting because of grease, oil, or moisture, it is recommended to clean the element tips and inside of the receptacle.
  • When the repair calls for a heating element replacement, make sure to replace the power source receptacle also. Do not assume that just because the heating element shorted that the receptacle does not have any problems.
  • Do not immerse the burner in water to clean. The plug-in tips on the burner element contain porcelain and will absorb water. The burner may appear dry but even a small amount of water could cause serious electrical shock.
  • In order to prevent cross-contamination, make sure to return the same heating element to the receptacle it came from.
  • Use a drip pan to capture grease and oil, however, do not line drip pans with foil. The light from the from the element reflects off the foil back to the element, causing hot spots to develop which would render the heating element useless.

#2. Burned Out Element

Needless to say, each burner element is controlled by its own switch. When the switch selector knob is turned to a particular heat setting the switch allows voltage to travel to the element which closes the circuit and causes the element to heat. If the element does not heat the component has burned out. Let’s take a closer look at how to manage this repair.
  • Inspect a conventional element for any blistering or breaks in the coil. If there is any visible breaks or bubbling, the circuit has been interrupted and the element needs to be replaced.
  • When inspecting the coils that sit underneath a ceramic top, look for any breaks or burn spots in the coil. If there is any incongruence in appearance, the coil needs to be replaced.
  • Lastly, if there is no visible damage you can check for continuity with a multi-meter. If there is no continuity you have found your problem.

Solution

  • Replace the burned-out heating element.

#3. Burned Out Receptacle

If the heating element test proves that the element is in good shape, consider the power receptacle.
  • burned out receptacle interrupts the voltage sent to the heating element.
  • Inspect the contacts for visible burn marks or damage.

Solution

  • If there is visible damage, replace the power receptacle with a new one.

#4. Loose or Burnt Wire Connection

As you work your way through these troubleshooting tips, be sure to look for any loose or burnt wires.
  • It is common for element power supply wires to burn out near the element. If this is the case, you will see visible burn marks. If a wire is loose, try wiggling it back on to its connection.

Solution

  • Replace the wire or wires that are damaged or burnt; replace the power receptacle and replace the heating element.

#5. Defective Surface Element Switch

The heating element switch regulates the voltage that controls how much heat is displaced to the coils. When the element reaches the desired temperature the switch shuts off the voltage. In order to maintain the designated temperature, the cycle continues throughout the cooking process.
  • A defective switch may prevent the element from working at all.
  • A good troubleshooting procedure is to simply take a similarly sized element and plug it in (see below for directions on how to replace a plug-in burner).
  • If the new element fails to work, then suspect the switch.

Solution

  • Replace the element switch.

How to Replace a Plug-in Burner

  • Plug-in burners are commonly used in General Electric, RCA, Hotpoint, and Kenmore ranges.
  • When doing this repair, be careful to avoid any sharp edges.
  • Remember Safety First! Before beginning any work on the range, unplug it from its power source.
  • Once the range is unplugged, go ahead and grasp the damaged burner by the outer coil and lift it up and pull it straight out.
  • Replace the burner by sliding its prongs into the terminal receptacle.
  • Then pull the burner forward to lock it in place.
  • Reconnect the range to the wall outlet and turn the new burner switch to on.
If this short troubleshooting guide does not solve your cooktop problem, contact us today for more assistance.

Proud to sponsor Boys and Girls Club

Alex HNewsLeave a Comment

Over the last week, we were proud to take part in a charity program that provided school supplies to children in need in the Tucson, Arizona area through the Boys and Girls Club.  Over 200 book bags were donated full of various school supplies(only about 40 are shown in the picture).  This took place during the annual WFCC convention.

How to Repair a Washing Machine That Will Not Drain

Alex HWasher RepairLeave a Comment

Do your clothes seem wetter than usual after pulling them from the washer?
Are your clothes taking longer than usual to dry?
If you are experiencing either of these symptoms, it could be an indication that the washing machine is not completely draining.

How to Test a Washing Machine That Does Not Drain

Read on as this may not be as serious a problem as it appears. Let’s try a simple test to determine your washer’s drain speed.
  • With the washtub full of water and clothes – maybe it already is – set the cycle timer to final spin.
  • Shut the lid and let the final spin cycle run for at least 90 seconds. Please note that the length of time it takes a washer to drain will vary from one model to another. The important thing is to run as complete of a cycle as possible.
  • Open the lid and check the tub.
  • If it is not completely empty, the machine may have a clogged or kinked drain hose line.

How to Inspect, Repair or Replace Drain Hoses

Tools Needed: Spring Clamp Pliers or Channel Lock Pliers
  • Before beginning any work, unplug the washer from its power source and shut off both the hot and cold water.
  • Remove the rear panel which will give you access to the drain hose.
  • The hose you are looking for is attached to the water pump and the bottom of the frame of the washer.
  • Have a small bucket ready to capture any water remaining in the hose and pump.
  • Remove the top spring clamp first with either the spring clamp or channel lock pliers. Be aware that water remaining in the pump and hose will leak out.
  • Remove the bottom part of the hose.
  • Inspect the hose and if it is in good condition, manipulate and reshape the hose back on to the water pump fitting in such a way as to ensure there are no kinks.
  • If the hose is worn or damaged, replace it.
  • Ensure the hose does not rub against the transmission pulley.
Fill the tub with water and set the timer to final spin. The washer should drain all of the water but in case this did not solve the problem or that your machine did not have a kinked hose, let’s take a look at another troubleshooter. The above repair was performed on a Whirlpool top-loader, belt-driven, washing machine.

Drain Clogged or Defective Water Pump?

The following troubleshooter guide is for the Whirlpool Cabrio, model # WTW6400SW3. The machine will not drain because either the drain is clogged, or the water pump has failed.
The tools you will need for this inspection are a putty knife, flat-head screwdriver, pliers, 7/16 socket, and a ¼ inch nut driver for your drill.
Remember to unplug the machine from its power source!

How to Gain Access to the Water Pump Drain

  • Using the putty knife, release the tabs that hold the top in place.
  • Tape the lid shut to prevent it from flopping around and banging into the wall.
  • Lift the top up
  • Release the tabs that hold the round band that sits on top of the tub. Remove and place aside.
  • Remove the agitator by popping off the center cap at the bottom of the tub.
  • Using a 7/16 socket, remove the nut that holds the agitator in place. Remove the agitator and set aside.
  • Lift the tub out of the unit and lay aside. Now you have access to the drain and pump area.
  • Reach through the water and begin searching for foreign objects. The pump and drain sit mostly in the upper right-hand corner.
  • If you were able to remove any foreign objects from the drain area, start suspecting that it’s the water pump that needs to be replaced. But wait because you need to perform one more test before you know for sure.
  • Plug the machine back in. On the control panel, set to final spin and push the drain button.
  • If the water pump comes back on and the water drains from the tub, then you have solved your problem. Button up the machine and do a load of laundry!
  • But if the water did not drain, and the pump still sounds like it’s trying to activate but doesn’t, you need to replace the water pump.

How to Remove and Replace a Water Pump in a Whirlpool Cabrio Top-Loader

Removing and replacing a water pump may seem like an intimidating project but it is actually a lot easier than it sounds.
When working on any appliance, remember to use common sense safety procedures. Common hazards to be aware of when replacing a water pump are such things as sharp edges, electrical, gas and fire, heavy lifting, water leaking, and working around fragile components.
The tools you will need for the following repair are a #2 Phillips screwdriver, ¼ inch flat head screwdriver, channel locks or the spring clamp pliers.

Removing the Water Pump

  • Locate the two screws to the upper rear of the unit, one on each side just behind the control panel.
  • Using the #2 screwdriver, loosen but don’t remove, the two screws.
  • Tilt the control panel.
  • Disconnect the black wire harness from the lid switch.
  • Locate and release the two clips, one on each side on top of the unit.
  • Open the washer lid and grasp the middle base of the cabinet and pull it towards you.
  • The water pump is located at the bottom of the machine under the washing basket.
  • With the flat head screwdriver, release the two pump retainers that hold the cover over the water pump.
  • Pull retainers from the pump and set aside.
  • Release and slide the spring clamps about 4 inches down each hose so they are positioned off the pump flanges.
  • Before removing the hoses completely from the water pump, place a bucket under the water pump and hoses.
  • Pull and twist hoses off the pump.
  • Drain all the water from the pump and hoses into the bucket.

Replacing the Water Pump

  • Note that the inner notch on the water pump is keyed to fit one-way only.
  • Slide the larger hose on to the larger port of the water pump. Should be the top hose and port. Ensure the hose is flush against the stop on the water pump motor shaft.
  • Do not replace spring clamps until the water pump is securely in place.
  • Do not force the water pump on to the shaft or you may cause damage not covered by any warranty.
  • Secure the pump in place with the pump retainer clips.
  • Ensure the hoses are not kinked or twisted in any way.
  • Reapply clamps and ensure they are securely placed in the water pump ports.
  • Reinstall the cabinet and control panel and you are ready to go!
Now that you’re getting to know your Whirlpool washing machine, maybe there is something else we can help you with. We love to interact with our visitors so give us a shout sometime.