These troubleshooting tips are for an electric dryer. If you have a gas dryer that won't heat, follow the troubleshooting tips in this video.
A dryer that won’t heat can keep both your clothes and your mood damp. In this Sears PartsDirect video, we troubleshoot why your dryer won’t heat, including checking the heating element, high-limit thermostat, operating thermostat, thermal cut-off fuse and timer. Learn about a few easy tests you can run to find the problem, including using a multimeter to make sure current is flowing between the parts. Once you know what the issue is, follow our step-by-step guides to fix your dryer—and brighten your spirits.
Check out our DIY dryer repair help page for additional videos, repair guides and articles.
Tools and parts needed
Hi, this is Wayne from Sears PartsDirect. Today we’re going to talk about troubleshooting an electric dryer that won’t heat. There are a few things that could keep your dryer from heating. You might have a problem with the power supply to the dryer, a broken heating element, high-limit thermostat, operating thermostat, thermal cut-off fuse or timer.
I know that sounds like a lot, but don’t worry, we’ll help you work through them.
Check power supply to dryer
The first step is to check to see if the dryer is getting the correct amount of power. You may think the dryer is getting enough power if the motor runs, but the heating element needs 240 volts of electricity to heat. The motor will run even if the dryer is only getting 120 volts of power.
Check your power cord to make sure it’s not damaged. Then, reset your house circuit breaker to make sure it’s not tripped. Set your dryer to a timed dry, high-heat cycle and see if it heats up after resetting the breakers.
If it’s still not heating, we’ll need to check the components on the control circuit. Checking continuity with a multimeter will allow us to test them all at once.
First, unplug the dryer. For safety, always disconnect power before checking continuity. Remove the back panel from the dryer, then remove the back of the control panel. Unplug the large red wire from terminal "A" on the timer. Set the multimeter to read ohms of resistance.
Measure resistance between the large red wire on the timer and the heating element terminal where the large red wire is connected. If you measure near 15 ohms of resistance through this circuit, then you know that the heating element, high-limit thermostat, operating thermostat and thermal cut-off fuse are all okay. You can skip ahead to learn how to check out your timer.
Make sure heating element works
If you measured no electrical continuity through this circuit, which is an "OL" on this multimeter, then we’ll check the heating element. Place your meter leads on the heating element terminals. You should measure near 15 ohms of resistance through the heating element.
If you measured no continuity, then the heating element is broken. This video will show you how to replace it. If you measured near 15 ohms of resistance, then the heating element is good.
Check high-limit thermostat
We’ll check the high-limit thermostat next. Place one meter lead on each terminal of the high-limit thermostat. You should measure near 0 ohms. If you measured no continuity, then the high-limit thermostat will need to be replaced.
Test operating thermostat
If your high-limit thermostat is okay, we’ll check the operating thermostat next. Place one meter lead on the red wire and the other meter lead on the red-white wire. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance through the operating thermostat. If you measured no continuity, the operating thermostat will need to be replaced.
Did thermal cut-off fuse fail?
If your operating thermostat is good, we’ll check the thermal cut-off fuse next. Place one meter lead on the red-white wire and the other on the red wire. You should measure near 0 ohms. If you measured no continuity, you’ll need to replace the thermal cut-off fuse.
Check timer last
If the thermal cut-off fuse is good, we’ll check the timer last. With the dryer still disconnected, turn the timer to timed dry, high heat. Place one meter lead on terminal "A" with the red wire and the other on terminal "C" with the black wire. If you measured no continuity, then the timer is broken.
Here’s a video that will show you how to replace it.
Other possible problems
If you’ve made it through all these checks and you still haven’t found your problem, you could have a defective motor centrifugal switch, a bad plug or a failed circuit breaker. You'll need to get a service technician to check these for you.
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A rattling noise or lack of air flow through the dryer could indicate that the blower wheel is damaged. Follow the steps in this repair guide to replace the blower wheel in your dryer.
If the dryer heats initially but then stops heating, the problem is usually the gas valve coils. This step-by-step guide explains how to replace the gas valve coils in a gas dryer.
These easy tests will help you check the heating element, high-limit thermostat, timer, thermal cut-off fuse and operating thermostat.
Learn how to repair broken, frayed or damaged wires in your appliances.