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Clothes Dryer Stops and Starts

Electric Dryer Stops and Starts

Michael: I have a Whirlpool electric dryer that will run for a while, shut itself off, and—after a while—start again on its own then run a bit and shut off again. The dryer’s heating element works and the motor runs smoothly, But it even goes off and on when it’s empty. I’m wondering if the dryer’s thermostat would cause this to happen.

dryer control doesn't advance

Always make sure the dryer’s timer and controls are set properly before moving on to other measures.

Don V: Sounds like your dryer’s thermal overload switch may be kicking out because the dryer is getting too hot—something that often happens if it isn’t venting properly.

Try disconnecting the vent hose from the back of the machine and then running the dryer with nothing inside for a few minutes—if it continues to run fine, the problem is likely to be that the hose is clogged with lint or is kinked or being blocked in some other way. If it doesn’t run fine, the dryer probably has a defective thermal overload switch.

You get to it from the back of the dryer. Check out this guy’s awesome video—you can skip ahead to about 6:15 unless you want to watch the whole thing, which is really good: Clothes Dryer Repair Video.

He makes it look really easy! You can buy a replacement of the thermal overload in a parts store or online. The following site sells thermal overload switches—just make sure you get the right one for your machine: thermal overload switches.

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Electric Dryer Doesn’t Turn Off

David: Electric clothes dryer gets very hot and doesn’t seem to turn off when it should. It seems to be drying okay but I’m concerned about how hot to the touch the outside of the dryer gets. Discharge line and vent are clear.

Don V: Normally, I would say the vent is clogged….but you’ve already checked that. In most cases, a thermal switch will prevent the dryer from operating if it gets too hot, but the switch itself can go bad. The timer can be broken, too. It’s really hard to tell without diagnosing the machine.

I would check the vent again—all of the way to where it exits the house to make sure it isn’t clogged. Refer to this page: Clothes Dryer Doesn’t Heat.

Then, if you need to get professional help, go to this site for free listings of qualified local prescreened clothes dryer pros.

Clothes Dryer Heats Up and Shuts Off

Karen: My clothes dryer will not stay running. The dryer heats up and then will shut off. After it cools down I can start again. It will run for a short time and shut off again.[GARD align=”left”]

Don V: Several things can cause this. Most likely, a thermal overload switch is shutting down the dryer because it’s getting too hot or the motor is overworking. A gas dryer can get too hot if the vent is clogged and, eventually, this can damage the motor. Or the overload switch itself can go bad. The timer can be broken, too. It’s really hard to tell without diagnosing the machine.

If it’s a gas dryer, start by making sure the vent isn’t clogged. Refer to this page: Clothes Dryer Repair.

Then, if you need to get professional help, go to this site for FREE listings of qualified local prescreened clothes dryer pros.

Call for free estimates from local appliance pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

Dryer Makes Noise or Damages Clothes

Because they involve working parts, dryers can exhibit a variety of odd problems. Here’s how to deal with two typical ones:

dryer makes noise

If your dryer burns clothes or makes noises, it may be necessary to disassemble it.

Dryer Makes Noise

If your dryer is noisy, scour the interior of the drum for loose objects. Some noises are caused by objects bouncing around inside. If you cannot find any loose objects inside the drum, the noise may be caused by a defective part, such as a worn or defective drum belt, idler pulley, support rollers, glides, or worn motor bearings.[GARD align=”left”]

A screeching sound is probably caused by a bad roller, bearing, or glide. Here is a helpful article on another site that explains how to deal with this: Dryer Screeching Noise.

Buzzer doesn’t stop. If your dryer’s buzzer doesn’t stop, your dryer has a defective push-to-start button. Fixing it may involve replacing the timer.

Here are a couple of discussions of this issue:

Buzzer Doesn’t Stop at End of Cycle

Buzzer Won’t Stop

Dryer Burns or Tears Clothes

If you are finding that your clothes are getting ripped or scorched in your dryer, you may need to replace one or more parts. Worn-out rollers can cause your dryer’s drum to drop, creating a space between the back of the dryer and the top of the drum into which your clothes can become pinched. In addition, this gap can cause the dryer’s thermostat to falsely read the temperature setting, which can burn clothes. Damaged glides or drum seals can cause similar problems. Replacement of these faulty parts is usually best left to an appliance repair professional but if you want to handle the repair yourself, begin with the article How to Open a Clothes Dryer for Repairs.[GARD align=”right”]

Dryer Leaves Oil Stains on Clothes

A dryer that leaves oil stains on clothes is a common mystery that is pretty tricky to diagnose. Most of the time, it isn’t related to oil in the mechanical system but rather to fabric softener or residue around the softener dispenser—in which case the dispenser needs to be cleaned. Here is a really good conversation about this problem: Clothes Dryer Oil Stains on Clothes.

Featured Resource: Find a Local Appliance Repair Pro

Call for free estimates from local appliance pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

Clothes Dryer Doesn’t Tumble

If your clothes dryer runs but doesn’t tumble, this indicates that something is wrong with the motor or, more likely, the belt that connects the motor to the drum. Fixing this involves opening up the dryer (see Opening a Clothes Dryer for Repairs) and replacing the broken belt, which can be ordered from an appliance repair store or site.

If your clothes dryer doesn’t run, hum, or otherwise show signs of life, perform the following diagnostics to determine the problem:[GARD align=”left”]

1Be sure it is plugged in and turned on. If necessary, check the receptacle it’s plugged into for power, using a working lamp, appliance, or voltage tester.

Replacing a dryer belt requires opening up the unit.

(Be aware that most electric dryers don’t plug into standard 120-volt receptacles; they operate on 240 volts.) Make sure the door is closed completely, the timer is advanced to the proper position, and the correct cycle is selected.

2If the receptacle is dead, check the circuit breaker or fuse that serves that circuit. Be aware that two breakers or fuses may serve the dryer—the motor will run when one breaker works, but the heating element requires both.

3Unplug the dryer and check the power cord and the terminal block that it attaches to on the dryer. If necessary, replace the cord.

Press the door switch to make sure it turns off the interior light.

4Open the dryer door and check the door switch that turns off the interior light, usually located just inside the opening where the door depresses it when closed. Press and release it; it should click each time. If it doesn’t, it’s probably broken. Remove the switch, test it, and replace it if needed.

5Is it a thermal fuse? If the dryer still doesn’t work, a thermal fuse or other electrical or electronic part may be faulty. The thermal fuse, usually located in the back cover panel or the vent duct collar, prevents a dryer from becoming dangerously overheated if something goes awry. This could include such maladies as a blockage in the dryer vent or the blower motor becoming locked up. If the dryer begins to overheat, the thermal fuse blows out and, depending upon the dryer model, this will either shut down the dryer completely or it will shut off the heat to the tumbler.[GARD align=”left”]

Unplug the power to the dryer. Remove the dryer’s back panel and locate a group of wires in the area where the hot air is vented. Near those wires, locate a small—probably white—plastic part that has two wires attached to it. This is the thermal fuse. Before replacing it with a matching fuse, purchased at an appliance parts center, check for any blockages and to make sure the blower wheel is operating properly so that the new fuse you install doesn’t blow out for the same reason as the last one. Call an appliance repair person if you suspect any other electrical part may be malfunctioning.

Featured Resource: Find a Local Appliance Repair Pro

Call for free estimates from local appliance pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

Clothes Dryer Doesn't Tumble

If your clothes dryer runs but doesn’t tumble, this indicates that something is wrong with the motor or, more likely, the belt that connects the motor to the drum. Fixing this involves opening up the dryer (see Opening a Clothes Dryer for Repairs) and replacing the broken belt, which can be ordered from an appliance repair store or site.

If your clothes dryer doesn’t run, hum, or otherwise show signs of life, perform the following diagnostics to determine the problem:[GARD align=”left”]

1Be sure it is plugged in and turned on. If necessary, check the receptacle it’s plugged into for power, using a working lamp, appliance, or voltage tester.

Replacing a dryer belt requires opening up the unit.

(Be aware that most electric dryers don’t plug into standard 120-volt receptacles; they operate on 240 volts.) Make sure the door is closed completely, the timer is advanced to the proper position, and the correct cycle is selected.

2If the receptacle is dead, check the circuit breaker or fuse that serves that circuit. Be aware that two breakers or fuses may serve the dryer—the motor will run when one breaker works, but the heating element requires both.

3Unplug the dryer and check the power cord and the terminal block that it attaches to on the dryer. If necessary, replace the cord.

Press the door switch to make sure it turns off the interior light.

4Open the dryer door and check the door switch that turns off the interior light, usually located just inside the opening where the door depresses it when closed. Press and release it; it should click each time. If it doesn’t, it’s probably broken. Remove the switch, test it, and replace it if needed.

5Is it a thermal fuse? If the dryer still doesn’t work, a thermal fuse or other electrical or electronic part may be faulty. The thermal fuse, usually located in the back cover panel or the vent duct collar, prevents a dryer from becoming dangerously overheated if something goes awry. This could include such maladies as a blockage in the dryer vent or the blower motor becoming locked up. If the dryer begins to overheat, the thermal fuse blows out and, depending upon the dryer model, this will either shut down the dryer completely or it will shut off the heat to the tumbler.[GARD align=”left”]

Unplug the power to the dryer. Remove the dryer’s back panel and locate a group of wires in the area where the hot air is vented. Near those wires, locate a small—probably white—plastic part that has two wires attached to it. This is the thermal fuse. Before replacing it with a matching fuse, purchased at an appliance parts center, check for any blockages and to make sure the blower wheel is operating properly so that the new fuse you install doesn’t blow out for the same reason as the last one. Call an appliance repair person if you suspect any other electrical part may be malfunctioning.

Featured Resource: Find a Local Appliance Repair Pro

Call for free estimates from local appliance pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]