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Keeps Popping Thermal Cut-Out 96273100

The 96273100 model dryer blows air great, has great pressure coming out of the vent, but has blown two TCO in 3 months. I have advice to replace the seals to guarantee the air is being pulled through the element but I wonder if there is a thermostat going to the element that could be bad and sending too much juice for too long.

If you do suggest the seals, which seals would I replace?


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What you gotta do is open the machine up, remove the blower/filter housing. Get the **** out of the blower housing wash out the filter portion. Then all will be kosher again Kimosabe.

Posted on Feb 17, 2009


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I have a Kenmore dryer Model 1.10 60902990 that keeps tripping the thermal cut-off fuse (part #3398671 or substitution part #279769) after running for about 5 minutes. I have checked the high limit...

this will keep popping if the dryer is running to hot,if the cycling thermostat is bad the dryer can do this or something is blocking the air flow.if you have a long vent line most likely this is the problem,also you have to remove the metal duct that the lint filter slides down into and clean that out.if your vent line is long try running the dryer with the vent line removed from the back of the dryer,also when you remove the vent line stick a leaf blower into the vent line and blow it out to the outside,but like i say all a dryer does is move air and if the air doesn't move out of the dryer and it runs to hot the t-stat will blow as a safetygo here and check out the cycling thermostat
and replace the 279769 and try running it with the vent line off the back of dryer,also when you take off the metal duct that the lint filter slides into spin the drum and make sure the blower wheel is spinning,if the blower wheel is bad and can't move air this can happen but usually something is in the vent line.let me know what you find,thanks

Nov 07, 2013 | Kenmore Dryers

1 Answer

I can't find the heating element in my Frigidaire stackable dryer.

The heating element is BEHIND the dryer drum. You need to remove the drum in order to access it. Keep in mind, if you have a heat related problem, it may or may not be the heating element. It could also be the thermal cut-out (TCO) which is mounted along with the heating element. Again, you will need to remove the drum to get to it. The TCO acts as a fuse and is designed to blow to protect the heating element if it overheats. Check the TCO first to make sure it is not blown. If you need further assistance, please post back with your MODEL NUMBER. I hope this helps you.

Sep 15, 2010 | Dryers

1 Answer

Kenmore dryer overheats its one of 3 parts

The component in the blower fan area is known as the Thermal Fuse. It is supposed to read a short (0 ohms) or something close to it. If it were blown, the dryer would not run at all.

The component on the outside of the heater box you are referring to is the Thermal Cut-Out (TCO). It is also supposed to read a short if good. If this component blows, the dryer will run, but will not heat. If you are getting an infinite reading, it must be replaced.

NOTE: If the TCO is bad, you must also replace the Hi-Limit Thermostat along with it. This is the other component on the heater box that is mounted adjacent to the heating element terminals. Failure to replace BOTH components at the same time can lead to premature failure of any parts you do replace. These parts are commonly sold as a set for this reason. The part number for the replacement kit is 279816.

Replacement parts can be purchased on line at any of the following web sites:

For assistance, you can refer to the Sears website for some excellent exploded view parts illustrations. The parts I'm referring to are located under the "Bulkhead" section:

Item 1 - Thermal Cut-out/Hi-Limit Thermostat kit
Item 59 - Thermal Fuse - you should not need this part if it checked good.

Now...if the TCO has blown, it usually blows for a reason. The most common cause of dryer failures is poorly installed, kinked, or clogged dryer vent ducting. I would would strongly suggest you inspect the entire length of the ducting and ensure the vent hose is not kinked or clogged anywhere. Also, make sure you leave enough space behind the dryer to make sure the vent hose is not crushed. This will lead to poor ventilation, resulting in longer dry times, poor efficiency and eventual failure of the heating circuits. It is also recommended that you use the semi-rigid metal ducting because it resists kinking, crushing, rodent investation and heat.

CAUTION: Make sure you UNPLUG the dryer before servicing. Dangerous voltage is still present inside the dryer even when it is shut off.

If you have any questions, please let me know. I hope this helps you.

Nov 28, 2009 | Microwave Ovens

1 Answer

I found a bird's nest in the outside exhaust vent of my dryer yesterday. Now the dryer is blowing cold air out of the vent and will not dry the clothes.

The obstruction in the dryer exhaust vent more than likely caused the dryer to overheat. The most common culprit is your Thermal Cut-Out (TCO). The TCO acts like a fuse and will blow when the dryer overheats. It is designed to protect the heating element. The following link explains how to troubleshoot:

Read through the link and check all possible causes. If you determine the TCO to be faulty, replace the Hi-Limit Thermostat at the same time. These components are often sold as a kit. Failure to do so may result in premature failure of any components you replace.

If you have questions along the way, please let me know. I hope you find this information helpful.

PS The TCO and Hi-Limit Thermostat are mounted on the heater box. The TCO will be on the end opposite the heating element terminals, while the Hi-Limit Thermostat is adjacent to the element terminal leads.

Jun 11, 2009 | Kenmore 62882 Electric Dryer

1 Answer

Dryer wont heat

Your Thermal Cut-Out (TCO) is blown. It should read close to 0 ohms if good. In addition, it is highly recommended that you replace the Hi-Limit Thermostat along with the TCO. These parts are commonly sold as a set. Failure to do so can result in premature failure of both parts.

BEFORE you replace anything make sure you check your dryer ventilation for clogs. Cleaning the lint screen is not enough as no lint screen captures 100 percent of the lint. Some lint always manages to end up in the vent line. This includes the blower fan housing INSIDE the dryer. Most dryer heat related problems are caused by clogged ventilation, leading to an overheat condition. In an overheat condition, the TCO will blow.

Some things to consider:

1. Are you pushing the dryer too far up against the wall? This lead to crushed or kinked dryer vent hoses which will result in overheating. Leave about a foot space between the back of the dryer and the wall to prevent this.
2. Does your dryer vent line run through an attic or crawl space? These types of configurations are notorious for creating choke points where lint can clog. This is either due to gravity in an attic configuration. Or, sags and kinks in a crawl space configuration. Frequent inspection and cleaning may be required.
3. Is your vent line excessively long? This can cause lint to back up because there isn't enough force from the blower fan to push it all out of the vent exhaust. The rule of thumb is: The SHORTER and STRAIGHTER a vent line, the BETTER.

I'm not trying to lecture you on something that may not be a problem with your dryer. I merely put this advice out as a precautionary to prevent you from purchasing parts, only to have them go bad prematurely because you weren't advised of what may be causing the problem. The TCO blows for a REASON. The reason is generally caused by an overheat condition. You need to figure out why.

I hope you find this information helpful. Let me know if you require additional assistance.

Nov 24, 2008 | Dryers

2 Answers

TCO & HLtherm on Dryer

I think you've got your bases pretty well covered. I don't see a reason for you to replace the hi-limit as well. At less than an ohm, I see no reason to bother with it.

Oct 25, 2008 | Kenmore 63942 Dryer

1 Answer

Kenmore dryer model 96273100 no heat.

If the dryer turns on, drum spins, but you have no heat, any of the following components could be bad:

Heating Element
Thermal Cut-Out
Hi-Limit Thermostat

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.

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.

Based on the model number you provided, I'm assuming this dryer can be accessed by removing the back panel.

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 RED 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 the TCO or Hi-Limit Thermostat is defective it is highly recommended by most manufacturers to replace BOTH components at the same time. They are often sold as a set.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Post back if you have any further questions, or need assistance in finding replacement parts.

May 08, 2008 | Dryers

1 Answer

I have a Kenmore Elite Model number 110.63022100 which isn't heating. I just cleaned the vent which was a problem. I assume this has caused a problem with the heating element or thermostat. What do I do...

Is the drum spinning, but not heating? the drum not spinning at all?

First, we'll assume your dryer is spinning, but just not heating. If your dryer vent was clogged as you stated, it is common for the thermal cut-out (TCO) to blow. This is a non-resettable device that acts as a fuse. Once it blows, it has to be replaced. There is also a possibility that the heating element went bad, if the TCO didn't do it's job. To check, you will have to remove the lower panel under the door. There are some screws under the bottom lip of the panel that you will have to remove and then the panel should just drop down and come off. CAUTION: Please UNPLUG the dryer BEFORE servicing anything inside. There are still dangerous voltages present with the dryer turned off.

Now located the heating element. It will be on the right-hand side encased in a heater box. There are two small components mounted to the heater box housing. The one closest to the front of the dryer is the high-limit thermostat. The one farthest to the back is the TCO. The two work in conjunction to help regulate the temperature inside the dryer, as well as, protect the heating element. Locate the two wires coming off the ceramic terminal of the heating element. Unplug these two wires and do a resistance check across the terminal. If the heating element is good, it will read about 9-13 ohms. Now remove the two wires from the TCO and perform a resistance check. The resistance should read 0 ohms (or a short) if good. If the TCO reads infinite (or open) it must be replaced. The same applies the the heating element. If the TCO requires replacement, it is strongly recommended by the manufacturer that you replace the high-limit thermostat at the same time. In many cases, the two components are sold as a set. The reason being that if the heating circuits overheat, there is a strong potential that the thermostat will be damaged as well. Replacing only one of the components can result in having the replace the other a short time later.

Now, if your dryer does not spin at all, you probably have a blown thermal FUSE. There is a difference between the thermal FUSE and the thermal CUT-OUT. The thermal fuse is located on the air blower housing right under the drum, and is a white plastic component. Remove the wires from it and perform a resistance check. It should also read a short if good. If not, it must be replaced.

If you need parts, here are the part numbers:

Thermal Cut-out/Thermostat Kit (part #2821)
Thermal Fuse (part #2923)
Heating Element (part #525502)

You can find all these parts at, along with the price information & pictorial part index. Just type your model number in the search menu. I hope this helps you. If you need any further assistnace, please post back with comments and let me know.

Feb 06, 2008 | Dryers

1 Answer

No heat

If the dryer runs, but does not heat you may have a blown thermal cut-out and/or heating element. When was the last time you cleaned your dryer and ducting? If it's been a while, you may have an accumualtion of lint in the ducting or inside the dryer causing it to overheat. The thermal cut-out (TCO) is designed to blow in the event of an over temperature condition inside the dryer. This device acts like a fuse and is not resettable. If it trips, it must be replaced. The thermal cut-out (along with the hi-limit thermostat) will be mounted to the heating element housing. The TCO will read a short if good. Double check your heating element as well. The heating element should read about 9 to 13 ohms if good. If you can provide me with your model number (located along the door opening) I can locate part numbers for you and give you an idea how much repair parts may cost. In addition, I can provide you with step-by-step guidance on how to perform the repairs, if necessary. I hope this helps you.

PS If the TCO is bad, it is strongly recommended by the manufacturer that you replace the hi-limit thermostat at the same time. In many cases these two parts come together as a set.

Jan 29, 2008 | Kenmore 659 Electric Dryer

1 Answer


It's call a bad thermal cut-out. You should have a thermal cut-out and a high limit thermostat located adjacent to the heating element (usually mounted right on the heating element housing). They both should read a short or fairly low resistance in the case of the thermostat. If the thermal cut-out is blown it is not a resettable device and must be replaced. The tco is usually sold along with the high limit thermostat. It is HIGHLY recommended that you replace BOTH at the same time. DO NOT attempt to bypass any of these devices either. They are there as safety devices to prevent overheating. You could end up with a fire if you do. Now...with all that said, the tco will blow for a reason. Not cleaning the lint trap will contribute to it, but the big item is the ducting. If the vent ducting is clogged you will experience longer dry times and eventually the tco will trip again. Take the time to THOROUGHLY clean and/or replace your vent ducting from the wall all the way to the vent opening outside. In addition, while you have the dryer open THOROUGHLY clean the inside as well. This includes the air baffle where the blower fan is located. Rule of thumb: if you have lint INSIDE the dryer, it's clogged somewhere. Good luck and I hope this helps you.

Sep 22, 2007 | Dryers

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