Dryers (gas or electric) work by tumbling clothes up and down in a drum while heating elements (igniters for gas dryers) create hot air. This hot air that is built up inside goes through ducts and leads to the exterior of the house. This circulation of air is what makes the dryer dry your clothes.
Common dryer issues:
Dryer starts but no heat is coming:
- If the dryer starts but does not produce any heat, then the first thing to test is the thermal fuse. The thermal fuse is designed to protect the dryer from over heating when the dryer is on. As a safety mechanism, this thermal fuse trips when it reaches that safety temperature and shuts the heat off to the dryer. Using a volt meter on the continuity setting (while the plug of the dryer is disconnected) remove the wires to the fuse while putting your leads to the terminals of the fuse. Your meter should read a continuity number close to zero. This means that the fuse has continuity. If the volt meter does not beep or the reading does not show any change, the thermal fuse would need to be replaced.
- The next part to test is the heat element. The heat element is made of coils that, over time, wears out and snaps. When this happens, a continuous electrical current is broken and therefore no heat will be produced. To verify this, do the same continuity testing as above for the heat element.
- On gas dryers, instead of heat elements, you will find igniters. These igniters function in the same way as heaters. Testing these igniters require the same continuity testing as above.
Dryer does not start at all:
- When the dryer does not start, first check the thermal fuse for continuity using the same test as mentioned above.
- If the thermal fuse tests ok, the next part to check is the start switch. With the dryer disconnected from power, test the power switch by setting your volt meter to the continuity setting, while pressing the power switch, put your leads to the switch and test for continuity. There should be resistance while the switch is pressed, and no continuity when you release the switch. If results are not as above, replace the power switch.
- The next part to check is the dryer door switch. The door switch is activated when the door is closed, thus letting power go through the circuit allowing the heater to start. To test the switch, use the volt meter on the continuity setting as above and test for resistance. If the readings are not as mentioned above, replace the door switch.
- When the dryer won’t start, the belt could be torn. Check to see if the dryer is torn or misplaced. If misplaced, fees it through its motor pulley and see if it stays on. If not, replace the belt.
- Last part to check on a dryer not working is to test the drive motor. When the motor is not working, it will make a humming noise. While this part rarely goes bad, you should test other more likely components firs
Dryer making noise:
- When the dryer makes noise, first check the blower wheel to make sure it is tightly in its slots. If it’s looser then replace blower wheel.
- Next, check the idler pulley and wheels. Over time the pulley wheels get worn out out and start making screeching noise. If noise are present, then replace the pulley wheels and idler.
On dryers with rear bearings, there are no idler pulleys. So for those models, replace the rear or front bearing according to how worn out they are.
Dryer is heating but clothes are still damp:
When the dryer produces heat but the clothes still come out soaked, that means the dryer ducts are plugged and air can’t get out of the dryer. Pull the dryer out and get to the duct at the back of the dryer. Pull the duct out and put your hand inside the duct to check for debris that could block air from coming out. If no debris is there, go to the outside of the house where the vent connects to the dryer and check for obstructions. Clear any debris you can find. To verify, connect the duct back and turn the dryer on. Next, go to the outside of the house and check if air comes out of the duct. If yes, then your problem is solved. If not, then you should call for duct cleaning to clear remaining debris.
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