Clothes Dryer Troubleshooting Guide

Below are some tips that just might be the answer to common dryer problems, saving you a service call.

Problem: Dryer Won't Heat
Possible Solutions:
Gas Dryers: First check the gas supply line valve. Ensure it is fully open.
Electric Dryers: Electric dryers typically use two household fuses or circuit breakers. A power surge can cause a fuse to blow. The drum could still turn if just one of the fuses is blown, but the element won't produce any heat. You may need to replace both fuses or reset both circuit breakers. Fuses are easy and inexpensive to replace. Look at your manual for part numbers and find them at your local replacement parts retailer or online.

Problem: Dryer Cuts off After a Short Period
Possible Solution:
When a dryer shuts off abruptly after "working perfectly," it could be a problem with either the thermostat, the thermal resistor, or the thermal fuse that turns off the dryer to prevent overheating.  Check each of these parts with a voltage meter to determine if they are working properly, or if they need to be replaced.

Problem: Dryer Making Unusual Noise
Possible Solutions:
If you hear a thumping sound or see vibrations, the dryer may not be level. Each leg of the dryer is adjustable and should be leveled front to back and side to side.

It is possible that small items may be caught in the dryer drum. Coins, buttons, or paper clips can become lodged between the drum and the front or rear of the dryer. Use a flashlight to inspect the drum and remove any objects. Always check and empty pockets before loading a washer or dryer.

If you hear loud thumping, the clothing may be knotted or balled up. You may not be loading the dryer correctly. Remove the knotted items and give them a shake before reloading to complete the drying cycle.

If you have a gas dryer and hear a clicking sound, this is normal. It is the gas valve opening and closing.

Problem: Dryer Won't Start
Possible Solutions:
The door latch may not be engaging. Check the latch for lint and clean it completely so that the door closes properly. When the lint is removed, use a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab to clean metal contact areas.

Check the power supply, including fuses and circuit breakers. When replacing a fuse, be sure to use a time-delay fuse.

Check the dryer's internal thermal fuse. If it is blown, the dryer will not start.
If you have a push start knob, it may not be engaging correctly. Remove the knob and clean behind it, removing any dirt and lint.

Problem: Clothes Take Forever to Dry
Possible Solutions:
Clean the lint filter. A filter loaded with lint reduces the airflow necessary for quick drying. You can recycle the lint for crafts.

Clean the outside exhaust vent. If the outside vent is not opening and closing properly, moisture is trapped inside the dryer drum. Run the dryer for five or 10 minutes. Go outside and hold your hand under the outside exhaust hood to check air movement. If you do not feel air coming from the vent, it is blocked with lint and must be cleaned thoroughly. Remove any snow or leaves that may be blocking the vent. Also, make sure the dryer vent duct is clean.

Check the dryer vent exhaust duct. Be sure it is connected properly and has no kinks. If it has not been cleaned on an annual basis, it is suggested to clean it. To learn more on cleaning a dryer exhaust duct, please read our blog, "Clogged Vents and Duct Cleaning".

Reduce the size of each load. An overcrowded dryer does not allow clothes to tumble freely and distribute the heat.

Be sure the dryer is in a room that is above 45 F. A dryer cannot work efficiently in a room that is too cold.

Check the air circulation around the dryer. If your dryer is in a closet, there must be ventilation openings at the top and bottom of the door. The front of the dryer requires a minimum of one inch of airspace and the back should have at least five inches.

Problem: Clothes Are Covered With Lint
Possible Solution:
Clean the lint screen. If the screen is full and cannot hold any more lint, then the lint is going to remain on your clothes. Refer to this blog, "Tips For a Cleaner, Better-Performing Dryer", for some additional hints.

Problem: Clothes Aren't Dry After Automatic Timed Cycle
Possible Solutions:
The load may not be connecting with the moisture sensor strips because there are not enough clothes in the drum or the dryer is not level. Small loads should be dried on timed dry rather than automatic dry.

Clean the moisture sensor strips. The moisture sensors are usually two metal strips located inside the front edge of the dryer drum. If they become coated with residue from fabric softener sheets, they won't work properly. Clean them with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol.

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