Why Isn’t My Clothes Dryer Getting Hot?

Fred's Appliance
August 1, 2014


Clothes dryers work by using a combination of heat and motion to eliminate moisture from garments. The heating element creates warm temperatures inside the unit (often ranging from 150°F to 200°F), while the drum spins around to promote faster and more efficient drying. When it is no longer able to heat up, however, it will lose some of its ability to dry clothes.


You can still tumble dry clothes and garments with little-to-no heat, but it’s a much slower process that doesn’t always yield positive results. Heat is a critical element that’s required to effectively dry full-size loads of laundry. So if your clothes dryer is no longer heating up, check below for some possible causes and solutions.


Clogged Exhaust Vent


One of the most common causes of a non-heating clothes dryer is a clogged exhaust vent. The filter is designed to catch most of the lint, but some will inevitably pass make its way to the exhaust vent. As long as it goes all the way through the exhaust line, it shouldn’t be a problem. But if it gets stuck inside the line it can prevent the humid air from escaping the unit, resulting in a lower temperate.


To determine whether or not this is causing your problem, turn your dryer on and go outside your home to feel the exhaust vent. If you can feel air blowing out the vent, the line is not clogged with lint. If you can’t feel air blowing, then it’s probably clogged.


Broken Heating Element


Another possible reason why your clothes dryer is no longer producing hot air is because the heating element is broken. This component is responsible for turning either electricity or gas (depending on your model) into hot air. If the heating element goes out, the unit will no longer reach the necessary temperatures for adequate drying.


Assuming your exhaust vent isn’t clogged, and the motor/drum are turning properly, a broken heating element is the most likely culprit. Place a couple towels or shirts inside the dryer and let it run for 15 minutes on a high-heat setting. Make sure the drum is turning and air is blowing out of the exhaust. After 15 minutes has passed, check the inside of the unit to see whether or not it’s hot. If it’s still room temperature, there’s a good chance the heating element has gone out. A new heating element can range anywhere from $30 to $100.

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