Has My Dryer Fuse Gone Bad?

thermal fuse
Fred's Appliance
November 3, 2016

So your dryer has just finished a cycle, you’ve reached in to take your clothes out only to find them still damp and cold. It could be that your dryer’s heating element is burned out, but there’s another culprit that could be to blame. So it is now that you might need to know how to check a dryer fuse.

What Is A Dryer Fuse?

This is the first question you might have, and it’s a good one. A dryer fuse, also called a thermal fuse, is a tiny device in your dryer that carries the sole function of preventing fires. In the 1980’s it became a federal mandate, for safety purposes, that all dryers would include these fuses.

It’s only an inch or two long but if the heat of the exhaust gets too high, this device will shut down the heating element and possibly the whole dryer. The determining factor behind which one of these will happen is the model of dryer you happen to have. The fuse only works once, so if it is ever triggered due to high heat, it will have to be replaced.

Finding The Fuse

The thermal fuse is most usually installed in the exhaust duct of the dryer, and finding it should be as simple as taking off the back panel of the dryer. Some are made of plastic and some are made of metal, so be looking for either one. It should be located directly on top of the exhaust duct, about two inches long, with two wires attached to it. Before attempting to troubleshoot this device in any way, make sure that you unplug the dryer from the electrical outlet.

Troubleshooting The Problem

Sometimes, a fuse will simply wear out after years of repeated use and simply stop working. Other times, there is something else at fault that caused it to actually trip and stop the dryer from operating correctly. Some things that could cause overheating include obstructions within the duct that limits air flow, blower motor fan blades that are broken and do not properly cool the unit, or a cycling thermostat that has malfunctioned. Any of these could result in the overheating of your dryer which leads to a thermal fuse that will blow.  So be sure you discover what caused the fuse to fail otherwise, you will have to replace another one soon after.

Testing With A Multimeter

Checking the fuse with an electrical multimeter is the fastest, most reliable way to find out whether or not the fuse is actually functional. Set the multimeter to its lowest RX setting, remove the wires from the fuse itself and touch the multimeter probes to each of the wire terminals on the fuse. A reading of “infinity” means that fuse itself is properly functioning and there is nothing wrong with it. A reading of anything less means that it is not functioning and should be replaced.

Testing By Bypassing The Fuse

If you do not have a multimeter, you can also test whether or not the fuse is working by bypassing the fuse itself. Simply detach the wires from the fuse, wire them together using a jumper wire and attempt to operate the dryer. If everything works right at this point, you can assume that the thermal fuse is indeed the culprit and that it needs to be replaced.

DO NOT under any circumstances run the dryer without the thermal fuse in place!

Replacing The Thermal Fuse

This is most likely the simplest procedure of this whole endeavor. To replace the thermal fuse, simply buy a new one which is specifically made for the make and model of your specific dryer, and install it into the space from which the old one came.

To avoid this entire procedure all together, simply contact us. We’d be happy to troubleshoot your dryer and replace any part you need replaced, quickly and easily.

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