Signs & Symptoms of a Bad Heating Element on a Dryer

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Troubleshooting your clothes dryer can save you money on repairs.

Clothes dryers often last many years, but sometimes minor problems prevent them from drying properly. Opening your dryer after it has finished its cycle to find clothes that are still wet or mostly damp indicates that a bad heating element may be the problem. It is uncomplicated to troubleshoot a dryer to determine this.


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No Air Flow

Check the dryer to see if it is creating air flow. Often the heating element is fine but air is not flowing through the machine to dry the clothing. Knowing this information before calling a serviceman may avoid an extra service call because he can bring the part with him. Always check the dryer lint screen first before calling a serviceman. If it is full, the dryer cannot heat properly.


Check the Power

Check the electrical source to make sure it is properly plugged in and that it has power. This is typically a 240 volt outlet, and checking it with a voltmeter will tell you if it's functional. Another way to check this is to go to the electric service panel. Turn the dryer breaker on and off a few times and then check to see if the dryer is heating properly. Sometimes this technique solves the problem.


Continuity of the Heating Element

Check the heating element wire for continuity. Access the element by pulling out the dryer and removing the back cover. Unplug the dryer when checking the heating element. It is a long coil of wire inside a metal can. Check it with an ohm meter. If there is no continuity, replace the heating element. Some dryers have a heating element behind a front panel on the bottom of the dryer.


Checking the Thermal Fuse

Look on the backside of the clothes dryer. Many models have a thermal fuse mounted on the exhaust duct. It will be inside the back cover panel. Check to see whether it is blown. It is uncomplicated to replace the fuse.


Main Wiring Connection

If the main wiring connection burns, the dryer can still tumble but will not heat. If this is the problem, replace the dryer power cord and the terminal block inside the dryer that the wire is attached to.


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