How do I diagnose and fix issues with my dryer heating element?

How do I diagnose and fix issues with my dryer's heating element?

If you’re experiencing issues with your dryer’s heating element, such as clothes taking longer to dry or not drying at all, it’s important to diagnose and fix the problem promptly. A malfunctioning heating element is a common problem that can lead to longer drying times and increased energy costs, but it can be resolved with the right troubleshooting steps.

In this section, we will guide you through the process of diagnosing and fixing issues with your dryer’s heating element. From understanding how the heating element works to performing tests and inspections, you’ll learn everything you need to know to resolve heating issues and keep your dryer running efficiently.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diagnosing and fixing issues with your dryer’s heating element requires a systematic approach
  • Understanding how the heating element works is essential to resolving heating issues
  • Identifying signs of malfunction, performing tests, and inspecting for damage are crucial steps in troubleshooting
  • Regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent issues with your dryer’s heating element in the future
  • For complex issues or if you feel uncomfortable performing repairs yourself, seeking professional assistance is recommended

Understanding the heating element in a dryer

Before we dive into diagnosing and fixing heating element issues, it’s essential to understand how the heating element works in a dryer. The heating element, also known as the heating coil, is responsible for generating heat to dry your clothes. It operates through an electrical connection within the dryer unit.

The heating coil is typically located at the back of the dryer, behind the drum. It consists of a metal coil that heats up when an electrical current passes through it. The coil’s heat is then transferred to the air that circulates through the dryer drum, drying your clothes.

The heating coil’s electrical connection is controlled by a thermostat, which monitors the temperature inside the dryer drum and regulates the coil’s heat output. If the temperature drops below a certain threshold, the thermostat sends a signal to the heating element to turn on and increase the heat. If the temperature rises too high, it signals the heating element to turn off and prevent overheating.

“The heating element, also known as the heating coil, is responsible for generating heat to dry your clothes.”

Signs of a Faulty Heating Element

When your dryer’s heating element is malfunctioning, you may notice several signs that could indicate an issue. Recognizing these signs early on can help you troubleshoot the problem and avoid further damage. Some common signs of a faulty heating element include:

  • Clothes taking longer than usual to dry.
  • Clothes not drying at all, remaining damp.
  • Temperature inconsistency during drying cycles.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action promptly to prevent additional problems. Failure to address a faulty heating element could lead to increased energy bills, longer drying times, and even potential safety hazards.

Safety Precautions Before Troubleshooting

Before attempting to diagnose or repair a faulty dryer heating element, it’s essential to take proper safety precautions. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or even death.

Follow these safety guidelines to protect yourself and others while troubleshooting your dryer:

  • Disconnect the power supply: Before starting any work on your dryer, unplug it from the electrical outlet or turn off the circuit breaker.
  • Avoid contact with electrical components: Even when the power supply is disconnected, certain components within the dryer can retain an electrical charge. Avoid touching any electrical wiring or terminals to prevent electric shock.
  • Use proper protective gear: Wear gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes from sharp edges and debris.

Taking these safety measures can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a successful and safe diagnosis of the issue at hand.

dryer safety precautions

“Your safety should always be your top priority when attempting to repair any home appliance.”

Checking for Power Supply Issues

If your dryer is not heating up, the first thing to check is the power supply. Without proper power, the heating element cannot function correctly. Follow these steps:

  1. Check that your dryer is plugged into a functioning electrical outlet.
  2. Inspect the power cord for any signs of damage, such as frayed wires or exposed metal.
  3. Verify that the circuit breaker or fuse associated with your dryer is not tripped or blown. Look for the circuit breaker switch in your electrical panel. If it’s tripped, reset it by flipping it to the “Off” position and then back to the “On” position. If it’s blown, replace the fuse with a new one.

If you have successfully addressed the power supply, but your dryer still isn’t heating up, the heating element may have a problem. Continue with the diagnostic process to identify and resolve the issue.

“It’s essential to take the necessary safety precautions, such as disconnecting the power supply, before starting any troubleshooting or repair work on your dryer.”

Testing the heating element for continuity

Once you have ensured your safety and checked the power supply, the next step in diagnosing heating element issues is to test it for continuity. A continuity test determines if an electrical current can pass through a component, indicating if it is functioning properly or not.

To perform a continuity test on the heating element, you will need a multimeter, a measuring device that can test electrical values like voltage, resistance, and continuity. Follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the dryer from the power source and locate the heating element.
  2. Remove the wires connecting the heating element to the dryer unit. Make sure to label each wire’s location to ensure proper reconnection.
  3. Set the multimeter to the continuity testing mode, usually indicated by a sound or a symbol.
  4. Touch one of the multimeter’s probes to one of the heating element’s terminals. Touch the other probe to the other terminal. The multimeter should display a reading of between 0 and 50 ohms. If the multimeter displays a reading of infinity or a significantly higher value, the heating element is faulty and needs replacement.

If the heating element does not show continuity, you can try cleaning off any visible corrosion or debris build-up on the terminals or coils. Re-test the heating element and continue with the inspection process if the continuity issue persists.

Inspecting the heating element for visible damage

In addition to conducting a continuity test, visually inspecting the heating element is an important step in diagnosing issues. A visual inspection can help identify any visible damage to the heating element, which could be the cause of issues with the element.

To inspect the heating element, you will need to:

  1. Locate the heating element inside the dryer. This may vary between dryer models, so refer to the user manual if needed.
  2. Visually inspect the heating element for any signs of damage, such as burned wires or broken coils.
  3. If you notice any visible damage, take a photo or note down the location and severity of the damage.

Note that it’s essential to disconnect the power supply before conducting any visual inspections and to avoid direct contact with any electrical components.

If you notice any visible damage, ithe heating element will likelyneed to be replaced. Refer to Section 8 for guidance on replacing a faulty heating element.

Performing regular visual inspections as part of your dryer maintenance routine can help identify any potential issues before they develop into more significant problems.

Replacing a Faulty Heating Element

If you have identified a faulty heating element through testing or inspection, you can choose between DIY repair or seeking professional assistance. Replacing the heating element yourself can be an affordable option if you have experience working with electrical appliances and the necessary tools. However, if you’re not confident in your abilities or experience any difficulties during the process, it’s best to seek professional help.

If you decide to proceed with the DIY option, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the power supply to the dryer and unplug it from the electrical outlet.
  2. Access the heating element by removing the back or front panel of the dryer, depending on the model. Refer to your dryer’s user manual or online resources for specific instructions.
  3. Unscrew the mounting brackets and disconnect the wires from the heating element. Take a photo or make a diagram to help you remember the wire connections.
  4. Remove the faulty heating element and replace it with tanew one, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Reconnect the wires and mounting brackets to the new heating element and reassemble the dryer.
  6. Plug the dryer back into the electrical outlet and test the heating element’s performance by running a drying cycle.

Remember to take safety precautions when handling electrical components and wear protective gear. Also, ensure that the new heating element is the same make and model as the old one to avoid compatibility issues.

If DIY repair is not your preference, seek the assistance of a certified technician. A professional repair service can ensure that the heating element is installed correctly and that all necessary components are in working order. Moreover, if your dryer is still under warranty, attempting the repair yourself may void the warranty.

A certified technician can provide efficient and reliable repair services, ensuring optimal heating element performance and extending the lifespan of your dryer. Additionally, they can diagnose and address any other underlying issues that may be contributing to the heating element problems.

“Replacing a faulty heating element requires precision and expertise. If you’re not confident in your abilities, seeking professional assistance is the best option.”

Cleaning and Maintenance for Optimal Heating Element Performance

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to ensure your dryer’s heating element operates efficiently. By following these tips, you can prevent issues with your dryer and prolong its lifespan:

  • Dryer maintenance: Regularly clean your dryer’s lint filter to prevent lint buildup that can clog the vent and cause heating issues. You can use a vacuum attachment or a lint brush to remove any trapped lint.
  • Cleaning heating element: To clean the heating element, first, disconnect the power supply and allow the dryer to cool down. Locate the heating element and use a damp cloth to wipe away any visible debris, such as dust or lint. Be gentle and avoid damaging the coil or heating wires.
  • Lint removal: Inspect the dryer’s interior, venting, and ductwork for lint accumulation. Use a lint brush or vacuum attachment to remove any buildup, paying attention to corners and crevices. A clogged vent can prevent proper airflow, causing the dryer to overheat and damage the heating element.

If you notice any signs of wear or damage to the heating element during the cleaning process, you should consider replacing it. Additionally, if you have not used your dryer for an extended period, you should inspect and clean the heating element before use to ensure optimal performance.

Troubleshooting other potential causes of heating issues

While a faulty heating element is a common cause of dryer heating issues, several other factors can contribute to the problem. Identifying and addressing these other potential causes can resolve the issue and prevent future occurrences. Some of the other factors to consider include:

Dryer vent blockage

A blocked dryer vent can restrict airflow and lead to heating issues. Over time, lint and debris can accumulate in the vent, creating a blockage that affects the dryer’s performance. To check for a blocked vent, disconnect the vent from the dryer and inspect it for any debris. If you discover a blockage, remove it and clean the vent thoroughly. You can also hire a professional vent cleaning service for a more thorough cleaning.

Thermostat malfunction

The thermostat in your dryer regulates the temperature during the drying cycle. If it malfunctions, it can cause heating inconsistencies or prevent the dryer from heating at all. To determine if the thermostat is the issue, use a multimeter to test it for continuity. If it fails the continuity test, replace the thermostat with a new one.

Control board problems

The control board is responsible for regulating various functions in the dryer, including the heating element. If it malfunctions, it can cause issues with the heating element or prevent the dryer from operating altogether. To diagnose control board problems, use a multimeter to test for continuity and check for any visible damage. If the board is the issue, you may need to replace it or seek professional assistance.

By considering these other potential causes of dryer heating issues, you can perform a thorough diagnosis and resolve the issue efficiently. If you encounter complex issues or are uncomfortable performing repairs yourself, seek professional assistance for reliable and efficient solutions.

Seeking Professional Assistance for Complex Issues

If you have attempted to diagnose and fix your dryer’s heating element and are still experiencing issues, it may be time to seek professional assistance. A certified technician can bring expertise and knowledge to the repair process, ensuring that your dryer is operating safely and efficiently.

One benefit of hiring a professional is that they may offer warranty coverage for their services. This can provide peace of mind and save you money if issues arise again in the future.

When searching for a dryer repair professional in Canada, it’s important to choose a reliable and experienced company. Look for certifications or affiliations with recognized organizations, such as the Professional Service Association or the National Appliance Service Association.

Before welcoming a technician into your home, be sure to inquire about their pricing, availability, and turnaround time. Reading online reviews and testimonials can also provide helpful insights into their reputation and quality of service.

Overall, seeking professional assistance for complex heating element issues can be a wise decision. With their expertise and warranty coverage, you can ensure that your dryer is functioning properly and safely.


Overall, diagnosing and fixing issues with your dryer’s heating element requires a methodical and safety-conscious approach. By understanding the basics of how the heating element works, recognizing signs of malfunction, performing tests and inspections, and taking precautions, you can efficiently troubleshoot heating issues and avoid accidents or injuries.

If you identify a faulty heating element, you can choose to replace it yourself or seek professional assistance. Proper cleaning and maintenance practices can also help prevent heating element issues in the future.

However, if the problem is more complex, such as a blocked dryer vent, malfunctioning thermostat, or control board issues, seeking professional assistance is recommended. A certified technician can provide expertise, warranty coverage, and efficient repair services to resolve the problem.

Remember, whether you decide to repair oit n your own or seek professional help, maintaining your dryer properly is crucial to ensuring optimal performance. By following these tips and techniques, you can keep your dryer running smoothly and save yourself time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Max Appliance Repair

Written by Max | An appliance repair technician with more than 15 years experience in appliance repair services in Toronto and the GTA.

Disclaimer: This post "How do I diagnose and fix issues with my dryer heating element?" is for information purposes only. If you need specific help, please contact Max Appliance Repair at