Why Your Dryer Isn’t Heating Up

Nothing is more frustrating than a dryer that doesn’t work properly. Whether your gas or electric model spins but fails to produce heat, it can be a major pain.

Luckily, many issues that cause a dryer to stop heating are easy to fix. This article will review some of the most common causes and explore simple DIY solutions.

Doing laundry is a chore most people don’t enjoy, but it becomes even less appealing when your dryer won’t heat up. This can make your clothes soggy instead of fresh and clean, leaving you with a large pile of damp clothing to deal with later.

One possible reason your dryer isn’t heating up is that its heating element burns out. To check this, turn off the power (and gas, if applicable) to your dryer and remove the panel on the back of it. This will allow you to access the heating element and its coils. You can use a multimeter to test the element for continuity, and replace it if you find it has failed.

Another potential cause is a faulty limit thermostat. This shuts off the heater element when a dangerously high temperature is reached. You can check this with a multimeter as well, but it’s generally easier to replace the operating thermostat that opens and closes this internal switch.
Flame Sensor

The flame sensor on gas dryers is a conductive rod that detects the burner flame to send a microamp signal to the control board. If it senses no flame, it will shut off the gas as a safety measure. In this case, the sensor may need to be cleaned. Remove the rod and gently scrub it with a Scotch-Brite pad or other fine abrasive cloth to clean any buildup of lint or gunk that might have prevented it from sensing the flame.

For electric dryers, the heating element assembly generates the heat needed to dry the clothes. Over time, this element can burn out and require replacement. To check if this is the problem, use a multimeter to test it for continuity. For mechanical-based dryers, a defective timer could also prevent the appliance from heating up. Consult the user manual for disassembly instructions and a multimeter test to diagnose whether this is the problem. If it is, replace the timer.
Lint Filter

It’s an easy one to forget to clean, but a clogged filter slows the dryer down and reduces airflow which can cause overheating. This can trigger the thermal fuse and the protective circuits which shut down the machine.

Cleaning the lint filter is as simple as using a vacuum or a cardboard core from a roll of toilet paper to clear off the slot into which the filter fits. Keeping it clean helps your dryer last longer and use less energy, and it prevents clogs which can block the flow of air out the vent, which is a major fire hazard.

If your lint screen, inside of the dryer and the outside vent or exhaust are free of clogs but it still doesn’t heat up, check your house’s breaker box. It may have flipped to the “off” position for safety reasons and will need to be reset to return power to your dryer. This is more serious than a clogged lint screen and may require professional assistance to resolve.
Exhaust Vent

Whether you use gas or electric, your dryer needs ample air flow to execute its job. If your vent or exhaust is clogged with lint and other debris, it could be hindering air flow and preventing heat from reaching your clothes. Check the lint filter inside your dryer to make sure it is clear of blockage, then remove the hose from the back of your dryer and inspect the entire vent duct. If it is clogged, contact your local professional to clean it for you.

If the dryer is receiving power and the motor turns, but it does not heat up to dry your clothes, you may have a blown thermal fuse. This safety device keeps temperatures from getting too high and prevents fires. You can test the fuse with a multimeter. Once you replace it, your dryer should work fine. If it still does not heat, it could be a more serious issue with the heating element or thermostat.dryer not heating up