Dryer is not heating? Here are the potential causes

dryer is not getting hot

Are you finding your clothes wet even after putting them in the dryer?

If the dryer is not heating at all, it could mean one or more parts might be faulty and need repair. At first, it’s understandable to get confused about what to fix, especially if you aren’t sure where the problem lies.

This is why we have created a list of the most common issues that can occur in dryers. We will also share some tips to help you identify if there is an issue with a faulty thermal fuse, motor, or dryer’s heating element.

With that said, let’s device right in!

What Could Be Wrong With The Dryer?

No Gas In The Dryer

Before jumping to the conclusion that the dryer has gone bust, it is essential to check a few basics first.

Start by checking if the gas flow is proper or not. Leaking gas could be one reason for reduced or no heat when the dryer turns on.

For this, check if the gas valve is on and whether it connects to the dryer. Sometimes, the gas valve can get disconnected for various reasons and cause leakage in the dryer. If the gas is on but there is still no flow, check your gas bill to see if it has been paid on time.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

Usually, electric dryers get their supply via two 120-volt breakers, and these two are essential for the regular functioning of any tumble dryer. One of the breakers heats the dryer while the other provides power. Hence, you should be able to identify whether the heating circuit breaker has tripped or not.

If you suspect that the circuit malfunction might be the issue, take a look at the electrical panel for any tripped circuit breaker. After locating the problem, reset the breaker and check if it’s working correctly. Finally, do not ignore any blown fuses; instead, replace the fuse of the dryer as well as the wires that need attention.

Blocked Lint Screen

Another possible reason for the dryer not heating could be a clogged lint filter, lint trap, or dryer vent. When this part gets blocked by debris or lint, it can “suffocate” the heating element to cause several issues in the dryer. But the primary issue with a malfunctioning heating element is that it can cause the system to overheat and shut down the thermostat.

Ideally, the lint screen should be cleaned after every cycle, especially after drying woolen clothes that shed heavily. But even if you clean the lint screen, there is always a possibility of stray strands getting stuck and blocking the heating passage. And here’s what you can do to eliminate the problem.

Remove the lint screen and wash it with water and soap till it is completely clean. As the screen is drying, take a vacuum hose and put it through the lint collection slot. This step should clear up the stray lint stands that may be stuck in and around the dryer.

To get better access to the slot, unscrew the panel and remove it so that the entire area gets a thorough cleaning. Once you think the area is lint-free, reattach the dryer and lint screen, and the thermostat should resume its normal functionality. On a side note, make sure you turn off the power or gas switch before performing any type of cleaning.

Broken Heating Element

The heating element is what drives the average temperature for an electric dryer. Naturally, if this part gets damaged, it will automatically stop producing heat unless you replace or fix it. However, we’d strongly recommend conducting a multimeter test before repairing the heating element.

Start by unplugging your electric dryer from the main power source or shut off the gas flow in gas dryers.The heating element will be located in the dryer depending on its model. For example, most models will have the coils inside a metal frame or the dryer cabinet, which can be removed.

Take out the heating element and check for signs of visible damage, burn, or faulty parts. Now, set the multimeter to the Rx1 setting and connect the probes to the element terminals to check the continuity. If the reading shows “infinity,” it means you need to replace the heating element in the dryer.

Faulty Flame Sensor

This problem can occur only in a gas dryer, so it’s better to check for it if you own a gas-operated model. Basically, gas dryers have flame sensors that light a flame to heat the clothes, which in turn, evaporates the water from them.

These sensors can detect heat from the burner and allow the gas valve to open. But if they are broken, then the gas valve may not open, or the ignitor may not glow at all. Sometimes, it so happens that the flame sensor gets damaged, causing the temperature inside the dryer to drop suddenly.

Typically, the sensor will be located in a small black box on the outer part of the flame igniter, somewhere below the dryer drum. Again, use a multimeter test to conduct a continuity test and see if the reading is zero. Getting a different reading will almost always mean that a replacement is required.

Ventilation Blockage

The ventilation hose often gets blocked by the debris that escapes the lint trap. This means that the warm air cannot pass through effectively and consistently, thus leading to overheating in the dryer. Thankfully, you can clean this pretty easily if you can access the vent.

Unscrew the metal tape and remove the panel to expose the ventilation area. Use a vacuum hose to clean the area thoroughly, and the blockage should be resolved.

What To Do When The Dryer Spins But Doesn’t Generate Heat?

Investigate The Thermal Fuse

If the dryer spins and tumbles, but doesn’t heat as much, then there are high chances of a thermal fuse problem. The thermal fuse is a safety device that prevents the temperature from increasing too much so as to prevent the device from catching fire.

When there is an overload, the appliance continues to run, but the tripped fuse does not allow power to reach the heating elements. In the case of newer models, the dryer will not function at all. There are only two ways to move forward – reset the fuse or replace it entirely.

It is better to have the parts replaced immediately while also investigating the leading cause of the fault. After all, the last thing you need is a potential fire hazard. And remember that once a fuse damage occurs, it is likely to happen again if the issue is not addressed.

Check The Thermostat And Temperature Switch

Once you identify the thermal fuse issue, it is worth looking into the thermostat and temperature switch as well. The temperature may get too hot while drying the clothes if any of these parts are affected. And as you can guess, overheating will trigger the system to shut off the heat or electric supply for the heating element to prevent fire outbreaks.

Yet again, you can test with a multimeter to check if the reading is zero. But things are slightly different for temperature switches, and the reading can go either way. If you begin with a reading of zero and conduct the test, you should receive a reading of infinity. The vice versa will also do, but it is probably faulty if it does not switch back after testing.

Replacing a thermostat involves many wires, so we’d suggest you clicking photos of the wire connections to refer to later. Some models may even require you to remove the entire thermostat altogether.

In comparison, repairing and replacing temperature switches are much easier, requiring only the removal and connection of a new piece.

Check The Exhaust Vent

Another part you should check is the exhaust vent, especially if the thermal fuse is malfunctioning. This portion is highly susceptible to encounter blockages caused by debris and lint. What follows the blockage is an improper release of heat that eventually causes a full-blown malfunction, even if the hose is partially blocked.

As you may have noticed by now, the damage to the thermal fuse and improper flow through the exhaust vent are interrelated. This is why it becomes crucial to check the condition of and maintain the functionality of flexible tubing. However, there is a limit to what you can do at home. If the lint build-up is unmanageable, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional to resolve the issue.

Issues In Heating Coils

If you have already ruled out the thermal fuse and thermostat, then the problem could be related to the heating coils. You can check them by removing the back panel of the dryer to find a coil of metal wires together (which makes the heating coil). Then use a multimeter to see if the terminals of the dryer are working correctly.

A reading of zero means there is something wrong with the heating coil and it will need replacement.

Look For A Faulty Timer

Sometimes the dryer not heating may not be related to any of the above-mentioned parts. Although our first impulsive response would be to repair the appliance, a defective timer motor can also prevent the emission of hot air, as the appliance will not progress to the next cycle. Sometimes it is observed that the drying cycle continues but becomes too hot, while in other cases, there could be no heat at all.

To test the functioning of the appliance, open the knob and panel and disconnect the leads from the motor. If the multimeter shows a reading of infinity, there is something wrong that cannot be reset in the dryer.


Whether your electric or gas dryer has a broken heating element, faulty power source, or improper temperature sensor, it is crucial to diagnose the issue beforehand. After you pinpoint the problem, the simple solution is to reset or replace the dryer parts yourself or hire a professional to get it done.

When it comes to an older model, the dryer not heating will have different symptoms as compared to modern gas dryers. And you can read the instructions manual to get a better understanding of what to expect from your dryer and when to repair it.

Need professional help when it comes to dryer repair? Look for the nearest appliance repair services in your neighborhood.

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