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Clothes Dryer Tumbles but Does not Heat Clothes

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If your clothes dryer drum rotates as usual and there is no heat inside the dryer, there must be something wrong with the heating system. The heating system is a coordinated system made of heating components and the automatic controls (timer, thermostat, fuse, etc) in your dryer. Sometimes it is very easy to fix the problem, and sometimes it is technical and difficult. Before you call an appliance repair technician, we suggest that you follow the following steps. You may be able to identify and fix the problem without a high priced technician. After you read and follow the steps and if you are not able to fix the problem, at least you will learn some basic ideas for future reference and you will know that you will have to call a repair technician. So, please read on if you have time and patience.

Background information: An electric dryer uses a heating element to heat the air. The heating element needs a 220 volt power source to work. A gas dryer uses burner to heat the air. Adequate amount of gas supply to the burner is required for the burner to work. The timer in the dryer is the brain of the dryer, it takes signals from the temperature sensors and starts and stops the heating process. Dryers are equipped with fuses that are deliberately designed to burn out if the temperature inside the dryer becomes excessive. So, fuses are safety devices. When a fuse burned out, the heating system will not work. If the timer is defective, it will not send signal to start the heating process. If the thermostat in your dryer is bad and stuck, the heating system may not work. As you can see, there are many factors which can prevent your dryer from getting heat.

  1. 1Check if dryer is being used correctly: Set your dryer to run at a mode other than no-heat (Fluff, Wrinkle release, etc). Run the dryer for about 5 minutes. Open the dryer door and feel if there is any heat inside. If you do not feel any heat, move to the next steps.
  2. 2Repair your dryer free: Find if you have warranty for your dryer. If you bought your dryer within one year, it is most likely that you have warranty. Most appliance manufacturers provide one year free warranty. If you have warranty, call the company and get your dryer fixed. If you do not have warranty and do not want to spend too much money, you will have to spend some time to identify and possibly fix the problem. The steps below will guide you through the process of identifying and fixing the problem.
  3. 3Gas flow to gas dryer: Check if the dryer is getting proper gas supply (main supply valve to the house and gas valve behind the dryer must be turned on). If you find that gas valves were OFF, turn them ON and run the dryer. This may resolve the problem. If problem persists, read the steps below.
  4. 4 Fuse in electric dryer: Some electric dryers may have two fuses, one for the heating element and other for the motor. Your dryer motor will run and tumble the drum if the fuse for the motor is good. However, if the fuse for the heating element is burned out, the heating element will not get any power and hence will not work. You need to replace the fuse if the heating element fuse is bad. Call a qualified appliance repair person to check and replace the fuse.
  5. 5 Gas dryer electric ignition: In modern gas dryers there is an igniter to ignite the gas in the burner. If the igniter is bad, the gas burner will not work. Call a qualified repair technician to fix the igniter.
  6. 6 Gas dryer pilot light: If your gas dryer is very old, there is a chance that it will have pilot light. Check if the pilot light is not burning. If it is not burning, refer to the owner’s manual to find instructions on how to put the pilot light ON. You may also find the instructions attached next to the pilot light burner.