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Dryer Not Heating? 5 DIY Troubleshooting Tips for Dryer Problems

dryer not heating

These simple DIY tips from our dryer experts will help troubleshoot the reason your dryer won’t heat.

They call them dryers for a reason. They’re supposed to actually dry your clothes. So when you’ve got wet clothes after running a load in the dryer, your appliance isn’t doing its job.

Before you panic, though, not all dryer problems require a visit from a technician. Derrick Baylor, an appliance expert at Sears, offers his advice for troubleshooting common problems that could lead to a dryer not heating up — and simple ways to fix them.

Reasons Your Dryer Won’t Heat

  1. Blocked venting
  2. Improper or no electric or gas supply to the dryer
  3. Clogged lint screen
  4. Uneven loads
  5. Washer leaving clothes too wet

1. Blocked venting

This is the most common cause of a dryer not heating. To check if your venting is clogged, start a timed dry on high heat. Go to the exhaust vent outside and use your hand to verify that the air is very warm and exiting at a decent flow. If there’s little airflow, your venting likely needs to be cleaned or replaced. If the temperature’s too low, there may be an operational issue with the dryer, which should be checked by an authorized service technician.

2. Improper or no electric or gas supply

Is there a proper electrical or gas supply to the dryer? Dryers get their electricity from a 240-volt circuit supplied by two 120-volt lines. If only one of the lines is working, the dryer will run but not heat up. With gas, the appliance won’t heat if your gas is off. Both issues should be checked by a professional.

3. Clogged lint screen

If your lint screen is plugged up or dirty, it will reduce airflow and prevent clothes from drying. Remove as much excess lint as you can and soak the lint screen in hot water and dish soap. If needed, use a soft toothbrush to scrub the screen clean.

4. Uneven loads

What type of load are you drying? If you mixed large and small items, that might be the problem. Washing and drying similar items together is imperative to proper performance. This is especially true on an auto dry cycle. Putting things like towels and sheets together can cause the dryer to heat at a lower level and sometimes even shut off, thinking the items are dry. The smaller or lighter clothes will be dry, but the larger, heavier items will still be damp.

5. Washer leaving clothes too wet

The dryer might not even be to blame — the issue could be with the washer. If your washing machine isn’t draining completely or isn’t spinning enough water out of the clothes, it will be harder for the dryer to do its job.

Bottom line: It’s a good idea to prevent these types of issues before they cause the need for a professional repair. Get a preventive maintenance check on your dryer every year. Dryers are the number-one cause of house fires, so making sure yours is in tip-top shape is vital.

Sears technicians will vacuum excess lint, check the venting, and make sure the electrical components, drum rollers, motor and electric heating element (or if it’s gas, gas burner assembly) are humming right along.

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