Troubleshooting an Electric Dryer That Won't Run
Check the Power
- It is important that the dryer has the power on. It might seems ridiculous to you, but I can't tell you how many times I went on a service call to repair a dryer and the circuit breaker was turned off or had tripped into an off mode. I was paid $69.95 plus tax to turn the circuit breaker on. Do you want to pay this? If you do, please give me your address. I'll be right over.
- Seriously, make sure the power is on. Sometimes there is something wrong with the power or circuit breaker. The best way to see if there is power to the dryer is to use a voltage detector. This is a very safe tool to use and every household should have one.
- Follow all safety precautions!
Identify Your Dryer
These are instructions for an electric dryer made by Whirlpool, Kenmore, Roper, Kitchen Aid, Estate, and Kirkland. These dryers are unmistakable because they have signature lint filter through the top.
Is the door closed tightly? Is the timer set to 30 minutes on the timed cycle? What happens when you press (or turn) the start switch? Do you hear any sounds?
Look, Listen, and Observe!
- Make sure the room is quiet. The sounds you hear or don't hear will help you figure out what is wrong with your dryer. Now is the time for listening. You have to get close to your inner self. Well that probably won't help fix the dryer, but it will help you feel better.
- Let's start with the start button (sometimes a knob). Press the button: what do you hear? Is there a clicking? Does the button feel loose? The knob should feel firm and should click slightly when depressed. If the button operates this way, it is probably good (low probability of bad switch).
- Is there a loud buzzing sound? This indicates that the timer is set in an end of cycle setting. Advance the timer to 30 minutes in the timed cycle. Try the start button. If the dryer starts, that indicates that you have located the problem.
- Is there a low humming sound coming from inside the dryer? This is almost certainly coming from the motor. Something may have gotten into the blower and is stopping the motor. The most likely cause is a bad motor. This is best left for a service technician.
- Listen to the timer as you advance it. You should hear a series of clicks, especially at the end of the cycle. This sound is the timer contacts turning the dryer on and off. If you don't hear these sounds there could be one of two problems: 1. The knob is bad and is not turning the timer mechanism. Take the knob off and inspect it for cracks and breaks. If it is not advancing the timer mechanism, the dryer will not work. 2. The timer is bad. Keep this in mind as you check a few other items.
Every dryer has a door switch that is activated by a button or actuator. Open the door of the dryer and look for the lever sticking down through the case. Press the lever—do you hear a clicking sound? This lever actuates a door switch and is spring loaded. If the lever is broken or you do not hear a click, then the switch and actuator needs to be replaced.