Why is my electric dryer not getting hot?

If your electric dryer is not getting hot, then I do not have to tell you how devastating this is. After all, these appliances are designed to make life easier.

In today’s guide, I will tell you how you can pinpoint the cause of your dryer acting up and how to fix it.

Why is my electric dryer not getting hot – causes and possible solutions to try

The steps below apply to all electric dryer brands such as Samsung, GE, Amana, Whirlpool, LG, Maytag, and so on.

The circuit breaker might be half-tripped

Remember: Electric dryers need 240v AC to work efficiently.

And, most power outlets utilize two legs of 120v AC to give this 240v AC.

If one of these legs trips (in this case the leg giving power to the heating element), your dryer might power on but it won’t heat.

With that in mind, confirm that the circuit breaker is not half-tripped – reset it if it is half-tripped.

Something else: Use a multimeter to confirm that both hot terminals (in the power outlet) have 120v AC. You see, it could be that one of the hot terminals is not working in which case you will need to have an electrician come fix it.

The thermal cut-off fuse might be blown

The thermal cut-off fuse prevents the dryer from overheating which might otherwise cause a fire.

This fuse is a one-time component that blows (when temperature exceeds a certain level) thereby cutting current to the heating element.

With that in mind, first fix any of its wire connections that might be broken.

If the connections are good, use a multimeter to test the fuse for continuity – no continuity means the fuse is blown.

Again, since it’s a one-time part, the only remedy to a bad thermal cut-off fuse is to replace it – order replacement fuse for common dryer brands below:

Dryer brand Thermal cut-off fuse replacement
Samsung Order it on Amazon
GE Order it on Amazon
LG Order it on Amazon
Maytag, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Kenmore Order it on Amazon
Frigidaire, Electrolux Order it on Amazon
Amana Order it on Amazon

The high-limit thermostat (inlet thermistor) might have shorted

First things first, confirm that the thermostat’s wire connections are all good – fix/replace any broken wires.

By the way, you will find the high-limit thermostat next to the heating element terminals.

If the connections are good, proceed to test the thermostat as follows:

  1. Remove it from the heating element housing.
  2. With a bulb thermometer on it, use a hair dryer to blow heat on the thermostat.
  3. As the temperature rises, use a multimeter to check the resistance through the thermostat’s terminals and compare your values to those below:
Temp in ⁰F Resistance in kΩ
68 61.2-63.7
77 49.0-51.0
86 39.5-41.1
95 32.0-33.3
104 26.1-27.2
113 21.4-22.3
122 17.6-18.5
131 14.6-15.3
140 12.1-12.8
149 10.2-10.7
158 8.5-9
167 7.2-7.6
176 6.1-6.5

Pro tip: The readings might vary from one dryer model to the other. So, be sure to refer to your dryer’s service manual when testing. Nonetheless, the basic principle is the same: Resistance decreases as temperature increases.

If your readings do not match those in the service manual, it means the thermostat is bad. Subsequently, replacing the thermostat is your best route – shop for a brand-specific thermostat below:

Dryer brand High-limit thermostat replacement
Samsung Get it on Amazon
GE Get it on Amazon
LG, Kenmore Get it on Amazon
Maytag, Whirlpool, KitchenAid Get it on Amazon
Frigidaire, Electrolux Get it on Amazon
Amana Get it on Amazon

The heating element could be to blame

To confirm that it’s good, start by fixing any wire connections to the element that might be broken.

Next, visually inspect the coils to confirm that none are blackened or broken.

If any of the coils are broken/blackened, then you just found your culprit (the heating element is bad and will need replacing).

On the other hand, if the coils are good, proceed to test for continuity through the heating element terminals.

If your element has three terminals, you’ll test for continuity through two terminals at a time till you test all the terminal pairs. That is between terminals 1&2, 1&3, and 2&3.

If any of these terminal combinations lack continuity, it means that your dryer’s element is bad.

To fix a bad heating element, you will need to swap it with a good one – shop for a replacement heating element for common dryer brands below:

Dryer brand Heating element replacement
Samsung Get it on Amazon
GE Get it on Amazon
LG Get it on Amazon
Maytag, Whirlpool, KitchenAid Get it on Amazon
Frigidaire, Electrolux Get it on Amazon
Amana Get it on Amazon
Kenmore Get it on Amazon

The control board could be faulty

This is normally the most probable cause if all the above parts are good.

You see, a bad control board might be receiving or sending the wrong signals to and from the heating element components.

Having that in mind, first check if there are any relays that might be burnt.

If yes, purchase a replacement relay on eBay and solder it to replace the burnt one.

On the other hand, if no relay appears burnt, it could be a secondary damage (there’s no other way to test the board) that requires you to replace the entire board

Why is my electric dryer not getting hot enough – plus possible fixes

When this occurs, the above components are usually not to blame. Also, you might note that your dryer is not drying clothes enough (if on time dry) or it takes too long to dry the clothes.

Having that in mind, check the following when your electric dryer is not getting hot enough:

It could be due to the drying mode you have selected

Selecting any Eco-related drying mode results in your dryer saving on energy.

And, one of the ways it does this is by consuming less power which means it won’t heat much.

So, if you have selected eco mode, you might want to change to another drying option.

You could be overloading the dryer

In turn, this reduces the airflow inside the drum and this can be confused for the dryer not heating enough.

With that in mind, dryer manufacturers recommend not to fill dryers past ¾ way.

So, confirm you are not filling yours past this mark.

Your clothes might be soaking wet

This will create excess moisture in the drum which is difficult to dry.

You see, clothes meant for the dryer should only be damp.

So, if your clothes are excessively wet, you can either wring them (or put them back in the washer and run a spin cycle) before throwing them into the dryer.

The lint screen might be having clogs

And, this could be placing additional stress on the heating system making the dryer run longer. And, this might make it appear as if the dryer is not heating up.

To fix this, clean the lint screen using a vac cleaner. Once done, scrub it using a lint brush cleaner and water to remove any residue.

Pro tip: Always clean the lint screen after every drying cycle.

There could be clogs in the venting system

This could also be putting undue stress on the heating system.

To help in isolating whether this is your culprit, disconnect your dryer from the house exhaust and run the dryer for some time.

If it runs fine after disconnecting it, it’s an indication that the house venting system might be full of clogs.

So, be sure to clean it (or have a professional clean it).

Pro tip: Always clean the venting system once or twice per year.

Why is my electric dryer not getting hot – parting words

Before carrying out the above tests, make sure that you have first disconnected your dryer from the power outlet.

Otherwise, you risk having an electrocution during the tests.


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