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Dryer not heating: troubleshooting guide

Having a dryer that doesn’t work properly is a hindrance to any household. Fortunately, there are a handful of solutions you can try to get your dryer running again. Dryer heating problems occur mostly in older or outdated appliances. If you’re looking to upgrade, Whirlpool brand offers a variety of dryer options with warranties included.

Dry clothing inside dryer Dry clothing inside dryer

Why is my dryer not getting hot or drying properly? 

There are several reasons why your dryer may not be heating correctly. Some situations that may cause your dryer to not heat properly include a lack of power, an issue with the size of the load or its wetness, an issue with the heating element or a blown thermal fuse.

Having a clogged or dirty lint screen or a clogged or obstructed dryer vent are not necessarily reasons why the dryer won’t heat, but they are common reasons why the dryer may not be properly or fully drying clothing. If your dryer is not drying the way you expect it to, these common reasons are a good place to start in your troubleshooting.

Lint screen icon

1. Lint screen is dirty

A lint screen that is blocked by lint can increase the drying time of your appliance. Be sure to clean off your lint screen after each use. Excess lint buildup can reduce airflow placing additional stress on the heating system.

 

What to do: clean off the lint screen

 

A clogged lint screen can reduce airflow and place additional stress on the heating system. Cleaning the lint screen may help the dryer to work better. Locate the lint screen at the top of the dryer or in the door opening and remove it. Open the lint screen if necessary, then remove the lint with your fingers. Close the lint screen and push it back into place. For cleaning after each load, be sure not to rinse the screen with water as wet lint is difficult to remove.

 

It is recommended to perform a deep cleaning on your dryer’s lint trap every six months. You can deep clean it by wetting a nylon brush with hot water and liquid detergent. Scrub both sides of the lint screen and rinse each side thoroughly with hot water. Inspect the lint screen to be sure you have removed all residue. Repeat as needed. Dry the lint screen fully.

Dryer vent icon with arrow

2. House vent is crushed or obstructed

Proper airflow is crucial for your dryer to function correctly. Although the vent being crushed or obstructed may not cause the dryer not to heat, it can cause the dryer to not work properly. As wet clothes are tumbled in the machine, steam is produced and must be able to exit the appliance for the load to dry. If the steam is not vented, dry times could be significantly extended. Venting must run from the dryer to the outside of the home and be free of obstructions.

 

What to do: remove kinks and obstructions

 

Check your house vent for kinks and obstructions like lint before calling for service. Clean the entire length of the vent as needed, starting from the back of the dryer to where it exits your home.

Electric and gas icon

3. Lack of power

Electric Dryers: These dryers require a 240-volt supply to operate. If your dryer is plugged into an outlet that provides less than 240 volts, it will not be able to deliver power to your unit. If you are unsure of whether your wall outlet carries this voltage, check with a qualified electrician.

 

Gas Dryers: These dryers receive their gas supply via a valve. The handle must be turned parallel to the gas pipe to open. If the valve is closed, the drum of the dryer will still turn, but the dryer will not heat. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions on ensuring power is flowing to your appliance.  

 

What to do: check and adjust power supplies
 

For Electric Dryers:

Ensure your wall outlet has at least a 240-volt power supply.

Make certain the dryer’s circuit breakers have not been tripped by unplugging your dryer and resetting both circuit breakers before plugging your dryer back in again.

 

For Gas Dryers:

Go to your dryer supply line.

Once there, check the position of the gas valve.

If it is perpendicular to the gas pipe, turn it parallel to the pipe to open it.

 

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4. Load size is too large

Dryers require space to allow for hot air to circulate amongst the unit and for the clothes to tumble. If the load is too large, your dryer may not function properly. Without proper air flow, drying time will increase, placing unnecessary stress on the heating system.

 

What to do: check load size
  • Remove your clothes from the dryer and observe whether any have dried.

  • Make sure you are only filling up the dryer drum up to about ¾ full.

  • If you have a front-load dryer and can observe your clothing drying, make sure your clothes have the proper space to tumble.

Wet clothes icon

5. Soaking-wet clothes

Placing clothes that are too wet into a dryer can make it seem as though your dryer is not heating due to a mechanical issue. Unlike damp clothes, very wet clothes create excess moisture in the drum that’s difficult to dry.

 

What to do: put damp clothes in dryer
  • Check your clothes’ wetness by hand before placing them in the dryer.

  • If they are still too wet, run a spin or drain and spin cycle in your washer to remove excess water from the load.

  • When placing wet rags/towels/bathing suits in the dryer, either wring them out by hand or use a washer spin cycle to remove excess water.

Heat icon

6. Heating elements

Electric dryers utilize a heating element to heat the air in the drum, whereas gas dryers utilize a burner. If damage occurs to either of these heating systems, your dryer may no longer be able to heat.

 

What to do: contact a professional
 

Because dryers require disassembling the machine to examine/replace their heating elements, we recommend contacting a professional if the previous DIY solutions fail to return heat to your dryer.

 

Thermal fuse icon

7. Blown thermal fuse

Dryers are mandated to carry a thermal fuse to prevent fires. These fuses are a one-time device: when the temperatures within the dryer get too high, they will go off, shutting down the dryer. If your thermal fuse has activated, you must replace it before using the dryer.

 

What to do: contact a professional
 

Because blown thermal fuses require disassembling the machine to examine/replace the fuse itself, we recommend contacting a professional if the previous DIY solutions do not return heat to your dryer.

Whirlpool® washer and dryer set in laundry room Whirlpool® washer and dryer set in laundry room

What should I do if my gas dryer is still not heating?

A gas dryer drum will turn but the dryer will not heat if the gas shutoff valve is closed. Check to see that the valve is open by observing whether or not the handle is facing parallel to the pipe and open the valve as needed.

Whirlpool® washer and dryer set in laundry room Whirlpool® washer and dryer set in laundry room

What should I do if my electric dryer is still not heating?

Electric dryers run on separate 30 amp circuits that are fused on both sides of the line, meaning there will be two circuit breakers operating the dryer. One circuit will operate the motor to turn the dryer drum while the other will operate the heating element. If your electric dryer is still not heating, check to see if either of the circuit breakers have tripped. 

Electric dryers also require a 240-volt power supply as well as a 3 or 4-prong power supply cord to operate. Check with a qualified technician to see if your power supply or cord needs to be updated.

What can I do to keep my dryer working properly?

Clearing your dryer’s lint screen after every use is essential to optimizing your appliance’s performance. Your lint screen should also be cleaned with soap, water and a nylon brush every six months, or more frequently, if needed.

Additionally, venting that extends to the outside of your home should be cleaned every one to two years or more if dryer performance has decreased. Frequency of use or types of items dried may affect how often the vent will need to be cleaned.   

Whirlpool® washer and dryer set in laundry room Whirlpool® washer and dryer set in laundry room

Where can I find genuine parts for my Whirlpool® dryer?

Whirlpool brand understands that a reliable washer and dryer are essential to keep your home running smoothly. If additional parts are required to get your dryer performing at its best, Whirlpool brand offers replacement parts and accessories to keep laundry day moving. Always consult a professional to ensure you obtain the correct parts for your model dryer.

How can I schedule service for my Whirlpool® dryer?

For trickier issues that may require professional care to get your appliance back up and running, Whirlpool brand has you covered. You can schedule Whirlpool® Service and Repairs through our network of preferred local contractors.

Learn more about Whirlpool® dryers

If your dryer needs to be replaced or if you’re ready to upgrade your appliance, Whirlpool brand offers several options to help simplify laundry day in your home.

Learn more about Whirlpool® dryers

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