Clean clothes are a necessity. Two important pieces of equipment are required: the washer and the dryer. Is your dryer not drying? When your dryer stops working, things can get ugly pretty quickly. Clothes pile up fast and soon you are wearing the same outfit to work and/or school several days in a row. If your dryer isn't working, the only option is to hang them on indoor racks or outdoor clotheslines. This solution is both time-consuming and a hassle since the clothes will be wrinkly and stiff, and then ironing will be necessary.

Let's say you put a load in the dryer, start it and then walk away. You come back only to find that the clothes aren't completely dry. Did you overload it? So you run a second shorter cycle to finish the job. The clothes are still damp.  What do you do now?  This might be the worst problem of all, everything seems to be mostly working as it should, but then the problem gradually gets worse over time.  

So, is your dryer not drying your clothes, and you're wondering if you need to buy a new dryer? Dryers are fairly expensive and when problems arise, not many people can afford to just go out and get a new one. The best thing to do is to troubleshoot the problem and see if there is an easy solution.

Identifying the Problem

Before deciding how to fix a dryer not drying, you will need to know what is wrong. Is the dryer not turning on at all? Is the dryer noisier than normal? Is the dryer drum not turning? Is the dryer taking too long to dry your clothes completely? Is the dryer drum turning but without heat? Is the dryer running too hot? The solutions will depend upon the trouble you are experiencing. So we will look at some reasons and their solutions.

Possible Reasons Your Dryer Not Drying

woman wearing bathrobe holding hairdryer

Dryers are relatively simple machines, so there are some simple solutions for fixing a dryer not drying. One possibility could be that the lint trap is not cleaned. Another cause can be a clogged/kinked dryer duct. Others problems require more effort such as a faulty heating element, belts not turning the drum, worn out fuses, or an overheated motor. Finally, you might have to find help elsewhere if the problem is more complicated.  

Dryer Won't Start

There are a few reasons why the dryer won't start, and for this, you might have to do a bit of troubleshooting to find the cause. The simplest reason for the dryer not drying could be that the dryer buttons are not fully depressed. Also, make sure that the start button or knob has been fully turned to activate it. Check the door switch; sometimes lint or other debris collects in this area not allowing the door to close completely.

Dryer Is Noisier Than Usual

A dryer has many moving parts, and as they show signs of wear and tear, they will begin to make noises. The sounds from a dryer not drying could include squealing, squeaking, humming, and thumping. These noises are a sign that something in your dryer needs attention. Here are a few common problems:

  • Belt makes thumping sound when needs replacement
  • Drum support rollers need replacing; wear out fairly evenly
  • Glides located in front end of drum will need replacing
  • Blower wheel might only need cleaning or replacement recommended

The easiest of these to fix is the belt. However, if the new belt does not solve the problem, it might be the idler pulley or motor that is the problem. If the idler pulley needs to be replaced, it's a bit more complicated than replacing the belt but still fairly easy. If it's the motor that's faulty, it might be time to contact a professional.

Dryer Drum Doesn't Turn

Sometimes, the belt on the dryer motor falls off of the pulley and simply needs to be put back in place. Other times the dryer belt needs to be replaced since over time the dryer belt wears out. If the dryer motor is running, but the drum is not, then replacing the belt should fix the problem. Make sure to purchase the correct belt for your model.

dryer belt

Another reason the dryer drum is not turning is the safety mechanism built into the motor that makes it stop working if it gets too hot, called a thermally protected motor. The dryer may seem to be running but the motor will not be turning the drum. If the dryer motor is not turning on but the rest of the dryer works, such as the lights and other mechanical parts, then your motor is probably just overheated. Let it cool down and try again.

If comfortable doing so, you can remove the front panel of your dryer while it is unplugged and look to see if there are any obvious problems such as loose wires, loose parts, burnt areas, or fried or burned mechanical switches. If the problem is not visually obvious and you do not know what the issue could be, it could be time to find a certified repairman.

Dryer Taking Too Long and Clothes Not Fully Dry

If after drying a full cycle you notice the clothes are still wet or damp, the solution could be as simple as the lint trap not being emptied or a kink in the dryer duct. The lint trap catches lint, allowing air to flow. If the trap isn't cleaned regularly, the dryer works harder than necessary. If the dryer duct is kinked, air can't flow freely.

tiny white clock

Using a long dryer vent brush, clean out the inside of the air vent hose by removing all of the built-up lint and dust material. Clean the area on the back of the dryer and the hole in the wall where the air is vented out. Lint will more than likely be built up in both of these areas. Having low air flow could become a fire hazard. 

Dryer Drum Turns But No Heat

The obvious solution to this is to check the dryers settings. Fabric temperature and timer selections are all keys to the performance of your dryer. The thermal fuse could have 'tripped' which prevents the dryer from getting too hot. This fuse is located at the back of the dryer in the exhaust duct. The fuse cannot be reset, so if this is the problem it will need to be replaced. Another reason for no heat is that wires could be loose, not connected, or damaged.

man and woman holding check signs covering faces

Also, some components may not be working correctly. These include the thermal fuse, thermal cutoff, heating element, operating thermostat, and high limit thermostat. Check these components with a multimeter. Remember to remove a wire from the part so you do not read back through a different path.

Dryer Runs Too Hot

If your dryer is getting too hot, it's imperative that you troubleshoot and resolve the problem as soon as possible. When a dryer experiences high operating temperatures, it can become a very serious situation. Remember to keep personal safety a priority and allow the dryer to cool before handling any internal parts as they are extremely hot.

bulb

Here are some things to check:

  • Thermostat located in back panel; need multimeter to check
  • Heating element located behind back panel; need multimeter to check
  • Vents including lint trap and ductwork coming from dryer

Next Steps: DIY vs. Hiring a Profesional

diy crafts

Once you know what the problem is, your next question is whether you feel comfortable fixing it yourself or you require the assistance of a certified technician. If you decide you are comfortable fixing the dryer issues, there are a few basic tools like a socket set and screwdrivers that you will need. Another tool that is necessary is a continuity tester or multimeter, which is rather inexpensive. It can be purchased for about $25, which is a lot cheaper than calling a professional.


Conclusion

The one thing to know about dryer repair is that you can solve most problems yourself since 90 percent of the situations that cause a dryer not drying do not require professional help. Most repairs take about an hour unless you have to find and order replacement parts. This is easily done online; just make sure you have the proper information about your dryer so you get the correct parts. The parts are relatively inexpensive.  All dryer service repair manuals for all makes and models of dryers can be found online. Using a service manual to understand the dryer will help you fix the dryer yourself. However, there will be times when calling a certified technician is the best choice. This would be if the problem lies the motor or other internal parts and you do not feel comfortable performing the fixes yourself.    Taking detailed notes and photos as you remove the parts, panels, and the wiring will save you time when it comes to replacing everything. This time spent in the beginning will result in less frustration overall.