Tip & How-To about Dryers

Dryer Runs, but Does not Heat

This advice is for all ELECTRIC Dryers that have a "No Heat" problem.

Symptom: Dryer turns on, drum spins, but you have no heat.

Any of the following components are more than likely suspect as being bad:

Heating Element
Thermal Cut-Out
Hi-Limit Thermostat

All these components COMBINED, should cost less than $100. If you fix it yourself, you will avoid the additional cost for labor.


Double check the input power for your dryer FIRST. You should have 220VAC at the receptacle and terminal block. The dryer will STILL tumble and the timer will still function with a portion of the input power missing as these circuits only require 110VAC. The heating circuits, however, require 220VAC to function. If one leg of the receptacle voltage is missing the dryer may exhibit "No Heat" like symptoms. This could also be an indication of a burned or failed power cord. Continuity checks performed with the dryer UNPLUGGED should indicate a short between the prong end of the cord and the respective lugs at the terminal block.

If the dryer isn't blowing ANY air at all, but the drum still turns, you may have a bad blower fan assembly inside the dryer. Or, the blower fan assembly may be clogged.

If your dryer performance has been failing (i.e., clothes taking longer to dry), it may be for a reason. You need to ask yourself when the last time you cleaned the dryer ventilation. If you can't remember, or if it has never been done, this can contribute to the dryer failing. All dryers need proper air flow in order to dry properly. If the ducting becomes clogged, the heating circuits will actually overheat and eventually fail. This usually results in the Thermal Cut-Out (TCO) blowing or the Heating Element failing or BOTH. When these components fail, they must be replaced. Remove the dryer hose from the back of the dryer and inspect it thoroughly from where it leaves the dryer to where it exits your home. It should be clear with no kinks or clogs. If your vent line runs under a crawl space make sure it is suspended above the ground and has no sags where lint could collect. RULE OF THUMB: The SHORTER and STRAIGHTER the vent duct, the BETTER. After you inspect the vent ducting, turn the dryer on and make sure you have forceful air flow coming form the dryer. This will prove that your blower fan is working properly or not. Since you stated that your dryer is not currently heating, the air will be cold, but you should still have some force behind it. If the air flow is weak, you need to clean the duct work INSIDE the dryer. It is important to keep a dryer checked routinely. I recommend once per season (that's 4 times per year). Dryers are the cause of many house fires. These fires are due to lint accumulations inside the unit catching on fire. A little preventive maintenance can prevent significant problems in the future.

Getting to the heating circuit to determine if the components are good or bad is the next step. If your dryer has the lint screen on the top of the unit, you will need to remove the back panel of the dryer to expose the heating circuits. If the dryer has the lint screen in the door, you will need to remove the lower kick panel under the door by using a putty knife to release the retaining clips. They will be located along the seam in the front about 2 inches in from each side. If this is a Kenmore Elite or Whirlpool Duet, the lower lick panel comes off by removing the screws under the bottom edge of the panel. (HINT: placing a block of wood under the front feet of the dryer can make access much easier). If your dryer has no lower kick panel, you have to remove the entire front panel on these models. This is accomplished by lifting the dryer top and removing the screws that hold the front panel in place.

NOTE: The heating circuit should be troubleshot with the dryer UNPLUGGED. Dangerous voltages are still present with the dryer turned off. Resistance readings are as follows:

Heating Element (located inside heater box) – remove the two leads from the ceramic terminals on the heating element and take a reading across the terminal points. It should read 9 - 13 ohms.

Thermal Cut-Out (TCO) (mounted to the heater box.) - unplug wires and take reading across connector tabs. Reading should be 0 ohms.

Hi-Limit Thermostat (mounted to the heater box, closest to the heating element leads) - unplug wires and take reading across connector tabs. Reading should be 0 ohms.

If any of the above readings are abnormal, replace the component.


NOTE: If either the TCO or Hi-Limit Thermostat is defective it is strongly recommended by most manufacturers to replace BOTH components at the same time. They are often sold as a set. Failure to do so can result in premature failure of any parts you replace.

I hope this information is helpful

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1 Answer

heater not working. replaced heater still no heat. dryer spins


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