How To Fix A Clothes Dryer That Is Not Heating Or Drying Your Clothing

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If your old or new front or top loading dryer is all of a sudden not drying your clothes, then we have a few simple DIY fix tips you can try yourself. If the dryer is no longer drying your clothes then the first thing to do is to check and clean the dryer lint filter trap. We were forced to add that as our first step as there really are some people who do not realize there is a LINT FILTER that must be cleaned before or after each use. Once that is cleaned out, check if the dryer is still NOT drying your clothes. If that was NOT the cause of the problem, then you will need to inspect the vent hose on the back of the dryer. Commonly this HOT AIR VENT HOSE will become clogged, caked or full of lint that is constantly being removed from your clothing when drying. When this happens your dryer is unable to expel the hot air from within, therefore making it impossible for your dryer to actually dry your clothing in a timely manner or at all.

dryer not dryingThe most common causes for an electric or gas dryer to stop drying or heating is:
1. The dryer lint screen (lint trap) has not been cleaned (poor or restricted airflow).
2. A clogged or kinked (bent) dryer air vent hose (inadequate or no airflow).
3. Drum has stopped turning, broken drum drive belt.
4. Overheated or bad motor (possible thermal overload).
5. Thermal fuse or thermostat (could be caused from dryer air vent hose lint buildup)
6. Heating element burnt out.
7. Loose electrical plug or power socket.
8. Other mechanical issue, fault or malfunction.

So… If your clothes dryer is taking forever to dry your clothes or it is not drying your clothing at all (and you already thoroughly cleaned the lint filter screen), then the first step is to CLEAN OUT THE INSIDE OF THE DRYER VENT HOSE. First, unplug your dryer from the electrical socket on the wall. Slide the dryer forward very carefully so you can get behind it. Locate the (usually silver colored) air vent hose, and remove it from the wall and the dryer (2 connection points). Do this by squeezing the clip at both ends and pulling the hose outward. Using a long dryer vent brush or similar, clean out the inside of the air vent hose by removing all of the built up lint and dust looking material. Clean the area on the back of the dryer and the hole in the wall where the air is vented out. Most of the time the lint will be built up in both of these areas. Once all of the lint is cleaned out, reattach the vent hose and slide the dryer back in place. Make sure you DO NOT KINK the vent hose when repositioning the dryer as this will cause the dryer to NOT expel the hot air properly. If you kink the hose the dryer will not function properly and your clothes will take forever to dry. Next, plug the dryer back into the power outlet and run a test. If your dryer is now heating and properly drying your clothes then you fixed the problem. If not, read on…

dryer vent filled with lintHere is how much lint that can become stuck in your dryer vent hose.
This much lint in the hose or in the wall, will prevent your dryer from properly drying your clothes.

dryer vent hoseDO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN! Dryer air vent hose clogged with lint.
Clean your dryer AIR VENTING HOSE on a yearly basis!
It is the reason your dryer takes forever to dry AND can be a fire safety hazard!

At times your dryer can overheat and this can cause the motor that turns the drum to stop working temporarily. There is a safety mechanism built into the motor that makes it stop working if it gets too hot. This is called a thermally protected motor. Your dryer may seem to be running but the motor will not be turning the drum. If the drum is not turning then the clothes are not moving. Therefore they can not get DRY! So if your dryer motor is NOT turning on but the rest of the dryer works, such as the lights and other mechanical parts, then your motor is probably overheated. For this, you need to just give the motor some time to cool down. If you suspect that this is your problem then give the dryer about an hour to cool down and run a test after that. If your motor has overheated then you may be overloading your dryer with too many clothes. Try running the dryer with less clothes in it the next time you dry a load and this should remedy the issue.

The solutions above are the most common causes for this specific malfunction. But if neither of the explanations above have been your specific problem, then there can be a number of things wrong. If you feel comfortable you can remove the front panel of your dryer (while unplugged) and look to see if there are any obvious causes of the problem. A possible loose wire, loose part, burnt area, pieces of the dryer that have come off, fried or burned mechanical switches, etc. If the problem is not visual and you do not know what the issue can be, we recommend going here and posting a question to online appliance repair technicians. If all else fails then simply leave a comment or question below and we PROMISE to answer your question in a timely manner.

Basic Clothes Dryer FunctionHow Does It Work? Basic Clothes Dryer Function

Dryer Parts SchematicDryer Parts Schematic Parts Location Diagram Chart

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ray January 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

I have an electric dryer which is running too hot. The vent is clear, but the clothes are coming out too hot to handle.

2 DIY Project Help Tips January 12, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Hi Ray,
Try setting the HEAT TEMP to a lower setting. If the temperature setting is not working properly then there is a fault in the switch or control board. Try changing different settings to see if that will reduce heat. If all else fails, take the clothes out of the dryer earlier than normal to avoid overheating.

3 Carmelita Valera February 24, 2014 at 7:28 pm

My Kenmore 90 series electric dryer spins but gives out no heat. Opened and took the drum out, the whole housing looked like it had an insulation material from all the lint. I’m hesitant to put it back together, in case I need to open it again if it still does not work after cleaning.
What else could I check while the dryer is open?

4 everardo September 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Hello. I have tried the trouble shooting tips for a dryer that doesn’t dry but to no avail. I have suspicion that it might be a heating element any tips or advice?

5 DIY Project Help Tips September 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Hi Everardo,
If your dryer runs (drum turns) but the dryer is not producing heat, the most likely part that is at fault is the dryer thermal fuse. If you have a meter you can test it. If not, it is a very cheap part and can be found online for around $10 dollars. Here is our Dryer Fuse Replacement Repair Guide. Have a look and hopefully this will fix your clothes dryer.

6 Jenny September 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Hello, my dryer stopped producing heat, yet still turns. I have replaced the heating element, thermostat and thermal fuse. Cleaned out the lint trap, exhaust hose and the internal exhaust duct. What else should I consider before calling a repair person? I am in need of a quick fix, but would prefer to do it myself.

7 DIY Project Help Tips September 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Hi Jenny,
Since you have already replaced the majority of parts that would cause your dryer to not heat… Visually inspect the exterior wiring to the dryer. Check the service cord prongs that plug into the wall for burn marks and check where the service cord hooks to the terminal block on the back of dryer. Also, perform an extensive visual check inside your dryer to be sure there are no burnt or frayed wires. One broken connection can allow the dryer drum and timer to operate properly but there will be no heat.

Do you have a multimeter? With your dryer unplugged ohm out the heater and thermostat. Ohm meter check the timer points. Ohm meter check the motor switch. Ohm meter check for open wires or look for burnt wires. Performing this should tell you where the fault is located.

8 Andrew September 29, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Hi, I have a Whirlpool “duet Electronic Gas dryer” and I’m trying to figure out if its worth calling a repairman, working on it myself, or just replacing. The dryer will turn on and and the drum spins just fine, but on certain presets the unit will not heat. That’s the part that boggles my mind. On some settings it heats up, and on others it doesn’t. It would make more sense if the working/nonworking settings were 100% consistent, but I don’t think they are. Any help is much appreciated!

9 DIY Project Help Tips September 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Is your gas dryer giving you any type of error code? We will need the model number of your Whirlpool gas dryer to look into your issue further.

10 Andrew September 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

No error code, apparently the dryer thinks its working just fine. The Model # is GGW9260PW0.

11 DIY Project Help Tips September 29, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Since there is no error code, a very common problem with a dryer heating intermittently is a clogged venting system. You may have a restricted exhaust vent which will cause the dryer to run normally but not always heat up. We recommend to remove the vent hose from the wall and see if it may be clogged with so much lint that it is not possible to vent. If this is not your issue, let us know and we will respond back with what to try next…

12 Andrew September 30, 2014 at 2:32 am

Unfortunately, no. I looked at the dryer exhaust pipe and the vent hose, both are ~95% clear. I was actually surprised by how little lint was in the hose. I guess the lint screen does a really good job. Just to be thorough, I also checked the external vent and the airflow seems to be unrestricted all the way out of the house.

13 DIY Project Help Tips September 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Usually we would say to check continuity in the thermal fuse and thermostats, but since the problem is intermittent, it could be a few different things.

The most likely part that is creating the intermittent heating issue is the gas valve solenoid. This valve or valves are electric solenoids. The solenoid opens the valve for the gas to flow into the burner. If the dryer doesn’t heat or heats intermittent, the solenoid may be at fault. You can check the solenoids with a multimeter to find out if they are causing the issue.

Another part that may be on the fritz is the flame sensor. A gas dryer has a flame sensor to detect the heat given off by the flame. If the dryer has heating issues, the flame sensor might be defective. The way to check this is to test the sensor for continuity.

You may also want to remove the control panel and make sure there are no burned areas on the back where the controls are located.

14 Latoya October 7, 2014 at 10:04 pm

My dryer is electric.. i replaced the burned out element and the temperature switch was replaced. something is not allowing the new element to heat up.. PLEASE HELP!

15 DIY Project Help Tips October 7, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Hi Latoya,
We are assuming your dryer tumbles but does not heat. This could be that your dryer is 220V and the secondary breaker is off. Check the breakers to make sure they are on. Also, your dryer MAY have a thermal fuse that blew. If this is the case then the dryer will not heat. The way to test the fuse is to check with a multimeter for continuity. Another issue or the cause of this problem could be that the vent pipe is blocked by lint. Make sure there is nothing blocking the vent pipe. If after making sure the above scenarios are not the cause, please let us know your model number and brand of dryer for us to troubleshoot further.

16 Lisa October 15, 2014 at 1:53 am

I have a 4 year old Samsung front loader washer and dryer. We moved into a new house one year ago and dryer has not worked the same. We have no basement so the vent goes up the wall out of the roof of house, about 20 feet. 2 repair men came out and said that the newer front loaders can not have a hose longer than 3 feet max for the vent. I am amazed, what do people in condos do with their dryers? My options are to move the dryer to another room, which is almost impossible, or have hose go under house into crawl space. About 3 feet down. Not sure how safe that is. Can you help me out here, I am out of options. Motor coils everything else is working fine on dryer.. When they tested it, when hose was on, it heated only to about 50 degrees for 17 seconds, then shut off. When they took hose off, it heated to 152 degrees for over 2 minutes…..I am out of options at this point. Please help.

17 DIY Project Help Tips October 15, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Hi Lisa,
Having read the description of your problem, the obvious problem sounds to be a clogged vent hose or massive lint buildup in the wall (or roof area). If you had repair technicians testing your machine, they more than likely checked this. However there is no other explanation for the dryer to work perfectly when the vent hose is off. The machine is designed to shut off heat if it senses an air vent blockage to prevent fire. We would suggest to inspect the vent hose for any blockage. Once you determine it is free of obstructions, use a hand wand vacuum and get out as much lint from the wall (or the roof area where the hose vents out) as possible. If you have heavy lint buildup in the wall, you may need to hire a company who specializes in clearing this. As for the hose needing to be 3 feet max, we have heard this but have seen much longer vent hoses on dryers. A vent hose at 20 feet does sound very long. However if the hose is free from blockage and in a straight enough line, you should be able to use the dryer as normal.

18 David October 17, 2014 at 2:19 am


I rent a house where the washer and electric dryer are both outside under a covered area. There is no exhaust hose attached to the dryer. There doesn’t seem to be much heat build in the dryer. In fact, it feels like the clothes only get dry through their constant movement in the drum and what little warm air is inside the drum. However, when I put my hand up to the exhaust vent (back of the dryer, in the center at the bottom) the air coming out feels a lot hotter than what is in the drum. How can I have warm air in the drum yet very hot air coming out of the exhaust vent? Thx for your response. Great site!

19 DIY Project Help Tips October 17, 2014 at 2:31 am

Hi David,
We would need the brand and model number so we know the exact components that may be malfunctioning. However… We would suggest removing power, removing the service access panel and have a look inside. Inspect for anything that may be burned, clogged, or loose. If there is hot air coming from the back of the dryer, then this sounds as if something is blocked internally. There may be a massive buildup of lint on the inside frame that is somehow redirecting or reducing the heat needed to dry your clothing.

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