How to Tell If a Dryer Heating Element Is Bad

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Things You'll Need

  • Blanket

  • Screwdriver

A dryer element is made of coiled wire.

Every electric dryer uses a heating element to heat the air being drawn into the dryer. The element is made of a coiled wire. When you turn the dryer on, the coil receives an electrical charge. This causes the coil to heat up. Over time, the constant heating and cooling cycles weaken the wire in the coil. Eventually the coil breaks and the dryer no longer heats up. There are many electrical components inside the dryer that could cause the dryer not to heat. There is one surefire method for determining if the heating element is the issue.


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Step 1

Disconnect the power cord from the electrical outlet, remove the band clamp that secures the dryer vent to the back of the dryer, and then pull the vent off.

Step 2

Place a blanket on the ground and place the dryer on its face so you can access the heating element.

Step 3

Remove the sheet metal screws that secure the back cover onto the dryer. You can use a screwdriver or a socket and ratchet for this. Pull the cover off the back of the dryer.

Step 4

Locate the large canister with several wires going into it. The canister is the cover for the heating element. Remove the sheet-metal screws that hold the canister onto the back of the dryer. This will expose the dryer element.


Step 5

Inspect the metal wire coil for any breaks in the wire. If the wire is solid and has no breaks in it, the heating element should be good. If the wire has a break in it, the heating element is defective.



Lisa Wampler

Lisa Wampler began writing professionally in 2005 and has published on various websites. She specializes in content writing and search engine optimization, drawing from previous positions as an account manager and a social media manager for an SEO company.