Kenmore Dryers Troubleshooting

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You can troubleshoot common problems with your dryer.
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You never really appreciate your Kenmore dryer's service until it stops working. No one wants to go out into the world in a damp shirt and wet socks. Like all popular dryer brands, Kenmore dryers are prone to a few common operational problems. There's a good chance that you can at least diagnose the cause of your dryer's dysfunction, if not make the fix yourself. Warm socks are in your future.

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The Dryer Won't Start

If nothing happens when you try to start your Kenmore dryer, verify that the dryer is connected to power. Check that the power cord is still plugged in. Find your breaker box and reset the breaker that controls your dryer; a tripped breaker could be the reason the dryer won't power on.

If the machine still won't turn on, you'll need to either call in a repair person or use a simple machine called a digital multimeter for further testing. Connecting its probes to different parts of the dryer will tell you whether they're still functioning, helping you rule out possible causes of your dryer's power outage. Be absolutely sure you've unplugged the dryer from power before doing any multimeter testing.

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You'll want to use the multimeter to test the door switch since a dryer generally won't turn on if it thinks its door is open. Removing the current switch and installing a replacement switch is something you can probably do yourself if this does turn out to be the problem. You can also use the multimeter to test the start switch since a broken start switch will (as you might expect) prevent the dryer from starting. If you find that the start switch and door switch are functioning, call a repair person to further evaluate what's keeping the dryer from turning on.

The Drum Won't Spin

The drive belt is probably the culprit when your dryer turns on but won't spin. It connects the motor to the drum, so the drum won't turn if the drive belt is worn down or breaks. You can buy a replacement drive belt very affordably, but you may need to hire a repair person to make the fix. There are a lot of steps to the repair process and a lot of ways for it to go wrong if you don't know what you're doing.

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Clothes Aren't Drying

When your clothes come out of the dryer nearly as wet as they were when they went in, investigate a potential airflow blockage. Your Kenmore dryer pumps hot air into the drum, then pumps moist air out of the dryer and vents it outdoors. If there's a blockage somewhere between your dryer and the end of that vent, the moist air gets trapped inside the drum and clothes don't dry. Try cleaning the vent pipe to eliminate any clogs, making your clothes dry more efficiently and reducing your fire risk.

The Dryer Isn't Getting Hot

Generating heat is a core part of what your dryer does. So if your clothes are coming out damp and cold, it's a pretty good indication that there's a problem with one of the dryer's heating elements. It may be that your dryer's thermal fuse has blown. It's generally located inside the dryer's housing and may be located near the blower in a gas Kenmore dryer. Its job is to cut power to the heating element if the dryer gets too hot. Use a multimeter to test a thermal fuse.

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With a Kenmore gas dryer, a broken igniter is a likely source of a heat problem. If it's not igniting the gas, the dryer won't get hot. Replacing an igniter is generally a job best left to a pro since it requires disassembling the machine.

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Kathryn has been a lifestyle writer for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on USAToday.com and many other national websites.