How to Troubleshoot a Dryer That Doesn't Get Hot

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A dryer that doesn’t get hot will not dry your clothes and the clothes will be very wet at the end of the cycle. Even if the drum tumbles, the dryer requires heat to perform the drying. The key to troubleshooting this problem is to first identify the kind of fuel your dryer uses. The drum tumbling function is run by electricity but the heat can be fueled by either gas or electricity. Troubleshoot this problem by following a few simple steps.

Electric Dryer

  • Close the dryer door and press the “Start” button for at least one second. Some dryer brands require the button to be pressed for several seconds. If the drum tumbles, you can eliminate the possibility of a problem with the electrical circuit that supplies the motor.

  • Check all the connections on the back of the dryer. Many dryers have two electrical circuits--one for the heat and one for the tumbling motor. If the motor works, but there is no heat, check to see if the larger plug is plugged into its receptacle. Your dryer may have two plugs--one small regular household plug and one larger 240-volt plug for the heat. Both must be plugged in for the dryer to work properly. The larger, three-pronged 240-volt plug will not fit in a normal household outlet; it needs a special dryer outlet. The plug cannot be cut down to fit.

  • Check the circuit breakers or fuse panel if the dryer runs but there is no heat.

Gas Dryer

  • Close the dryer door and press the “Start” button for at least one second. Some dryer brands require the button to be pressed for several seconds. If the drum tumbles, you can eliminate the possibility of a problem with the electrical circuit that supplies the motor. The problem is with the gas.

  • Check the gas supply. There will be a gas shut off valve near the dryer. Make sure it is in the “on” position; the lever must be in line with the pipe.

  • Make sure the gas bill has been paid and the gas has not been shut off. Go outside and perform a physical check of the meter. Look for any gas company tags that could indicate the gas has been shut off. If you have a propane tank, ensure that it is not empty. If your gas drier uses Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), sometimes called propane, make sure the tank has fuel in it.

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