What Does It Mean When Your Whirlpool Dryer Says L2?

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The fault code "L2" on the display of a Whirlpool-brand dryer indicates an electrical problem, specifically a problem with the power supply to the heating element. This may prevent the dryer from heating up to dry clothes. Whirlpool's customer service department recommends several steps to determine the exact nature of the problem.


Wiring Basics

Properly installed, a Whirlpool electric clothes dryer draws power through two separate circuit breakers or fuses in your home's electrical service box. One circuit breaker or fuse supplies power to turn the dryer's drum and run the controls. The other supplies power to the heating element, which is the component that heats up the air that then blows over clothes in the drum to dry them. The circuit breakers or fuses deliver their power to the dryer through a single outlet, which is why electric dryers need a special cord with a three- or four-prong plug that is different from a typical appliance plug.


Check for Heat

When you see "L2" in the Whirlpool dryer's display, first check whether the dryer actually is heating up. Set the controls for a heated dry cycle, start the dryer and let it run for a couple of minutes. Whirlpool says that if the dryer does have heat, you can disregard the "L2" code. In such cases, the code may have appeared because of a power outage or because the dryer had been unplugged. If the code reappears after running the dryer, press any key on the controls to erase the display. The code might appear up to three times after running the dryer through a cycle. After the third time, though, the code shouldn't appear again.


Tripped Circuit

If you can set the controls and start the dryer, but the dryer doesn't heat up, then the most likely explanation is that the circuit breaker supplying the heating element has "tripped," meaning it switched itself off. Check your home's electrical service box for a tripped breaker, and if you find one, switch it back on. (If your home uses fuses rather than breakers, check the box for a blown fuse and replace it if necessary).

Improperly Installed Cord

If the dryer's power cord is installed incorrectly, the heating element might not be receiving current, which would trigger the "L2" fault code. This can happen if you've switched from a three-prong cord to a four-prong cord to match a different dryer outlet. The owner's manual for the dryer should have instructions on properly installing the cord. Unplug the dryer and double-check the installation. Make any necessary adjustments, then plug the dryer back in and try running a heated cycle.


Calling for Help

If the display shows "L2" and the dryer's drum doesn't turn at all, the appliance probably will need service. If you're uncertain about the cord's installation or if you're unfamiliar with your home's electrical service box, call an electrician for help.


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Cam Merritt

Cam Merritt is a writer and editor specializing in business, personal finance and home design. He has contributed to USA Today, The Des Moines Register and Better Homes and Gardens"publications. Merritt has a journalism degree from Drake University and is pursuing an MBA from the University of Iowa.