June 20, 2016

Electric dryer won't start troubleshooting video

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Electric dryer won't start troubleshooting.

Several things could keep your electric dryer from operating normally, including a blown thermal fuse, a bad door switch, a broken start switch or an issue with your power supply. This video shows a few easy tests you can run to find out what is causing the problem, as well as how to fix it.

Plus, check out our dryer DIY repair help page the next time you have a DIY repair project with your electric dryer.

Tools and parts needed

Hi, this is Wayne with Sears PartsDirect. Today, we're going to troubleshoot an electric dryer that won't start. If your dryer won’t start, the most likely causes are a lack of power, a defective door switch, a blown thermal fuse or a bad start switch.

First, let’s rule out a power issue. Open the dryer door and check if the light inside the dryer turns on. If it doesn’t turn on, check your power cord and the house circuit breaker. Try resetting the breaker to make sure it’s not tripped.

Door switch

Once you’ve confirmed that the dryer is getting power, with the dryer door closed, set a Timed Drying cycle and listen for the faint sound of the timer motor running inside the console. If the timer motor runs and the light comes on when you open the door, you know that the door switch is okay. You can skip ahead to the next segment where we’ll show you how to check the thermal fuse and start switch.

If not, we’ll check the door switch with a multimeter next. For safety, always make sure to disconnect the power before you check continuity. To access the door switch, pull out the lint screen. Remove the screws that secure the lint screen housing to the top panel. Release the clips and lift the top panel to access the door switch. Unplug the door switch from the wire harness.

With the dryer door closed, put your meter leads on the door switch wires that connect to the blue and white wires on the other end of the plug. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance. If you measure no continuity, on this meter that’s an “OL,” then the door switch is broken and needs to be replaced. Here’s a video that will walk you through that process.

Thermal fuse

The next thing we’ll check is the thermal fuse. With the dryer unplugged, remove the screws and pull off the back panel. Unplug the wires from the thermal fuse. Use the multimeter to measure the resistance between the spades on the thermal fuse. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance through the thermal fuse. If you measure no continuity, then replace the thermal fuse. Here’s a video showing you how.

Here’s something to keep in mind. More often than not, if you blew a thermal fuse, it’s because your exhaust vent is clogged with lint. Before you hook your dryer back up, check your vent and clean it out with a lint brush.

Push-to-start switch

Now, if your thermal fuse was okay, the next thing we’re going to check is the start switch. Reassemble the dryer and then plug it back in. Open the door and push the door switch in. While holding the door switch in, push the start switch. You should hear a click as the relay engages. Then release the door switch and you should hear a click as the relay disengages. If you heard the clicks, the start switch is probably okay.

If you didn’t hear the clicks, let’s check continuity on it. With the dryer unplugged, remove the console back panel. Unplug the wires from the start switch. Have someone hold the start switch in and check resistance on the spades for the light blue wires. You should measure near 0 ohms of resistance with the start button pressed in. If you measure no continuity, then you’ll need to replace the push-to-start switch. Here’s a video for you.

If all of the components have checked out okay, then the motor windings or internal centrifugal switch could be defective. You should get a qualified technician to check this out.

Hey thanks for watching. Check out our other repair videos here on the YouTube channel, and if you like them, subscribe.

Symptoms common to all dryers

Choose a symptom to see related dryer repairs.

Main causes: bad gas valve coils, broken heating element, tripped safety thermostat or fuse, bad operating thermostat, control failure
Main causes: clogged exhaust system, heating system failure, deposits on moisture sensor, control system failure
Main causes: bad drum support roller, damaged idler pulley, broken blower fan blade, worn drum glide bearing, bad drive motor
Main causes: door switch failure, lack of power, broken belt, blown thermal fuse, bad drive motor, control system failure
Main causes: clogged exhaust vent, bad motor relay, loose dryer door catch, bad door switch, control system failure, faulty drive motor
Main causes: lack of electrical power, bad power cord, wiring failure, bad control board, blown thermal fuse, bad door switch
Main causes: bad timer or electronic control board, door switch failure
Main causes: damaged door strike, worn door catch
Repair guides common to all dryers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your dryer.

How to replace a heating element in an electric dryer

The heating element in an electric dryer generates the dryer's heat—it's one of the first things to check if the air in the dryer doesn't get warm. If it's damaged, this repair guide will show you how to replace the heating element.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace a thermal fuse in an electric dryer

When the air in the dryer overheats—usually because the vent is clogged—the thermal fuse blows, stopping the dryer. You can't reset the fuse; you must replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to install a thermal cut-off fuse kit in a gas dryer

The thermal cut-off fuse shuts off the heat if the dryer overheats when the high-limit thermostat fails. The thermal cut-off fuse kit includes both parts.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all dryers

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