A dryer uses the movement of air to transport the heat its motor generates throughout the appliance in order to dry off your clothing. At higher operating temperatures, a dryer is hot enough to kill insects and microscopic life, which makes it a desirable addition in the fight against pests. You also need to think about how hot does a dryer get as this knowledge may offer you signs as to whether or not your dryer is damaged and needs repair.
Hot or Not? How to Troubleshoot
If find yourself asking the question "how hot does a dryer get," we can tell you that the exact temperatures it runs at will vary based on the brand, the age, and what the dryer is used for, among other factors. Most dryers will top out around 125 to 135 degrees F., depending on the cycle. It is possible to burn your skin if exposed to 120-degree heat for an extended period, but since your clothes cool quickly once out of the dryer, there isn't much to worry about (outside of hot buttons on jeans and other clothing).
There are dryers that can produce temperatures far higher than 135 degrees. As the dryer compartment is enclosed and does not have oxygen continually flowing in, the clothing will not catch fire. However, that risk under some conditions is one major reason why you need to stay on top of your dryer maintenance. Pockets of air flowing into the dryer due to a leak or other issue contain oxygen and could increase the chance of a fire. It's also why your dryer can't run while open; that requirement is not meant just to prevent the clothes from falling out.
Commercial clothes dryers commonly used in professional settings may reach drying temperatures of around 176 degrees. It is possible to purchase some large dryers for a household that reach this kind of extreme temperature. Most such models are very large dryers, and they are very useful for drying items like heavy full-size comforters.
The air temperature used to dry your clothing is not the same as the temperature the dryer mechanism itself must reach in order to generate this kind of heat. In fact, for a dryer to reach 176 degrees, the heating element must reach 210 degrees. This is just two degrees cooler than water boiling temperature.
Your Home Dryer: How Hot Does a Dryer Get?
Chances are, you do not have a dryer that can reach 176 degrees. Your dryer more than likely reaches around 135 degrees or so, depending on the brand and the size of the dryer. In most cases, this is as hot as you'll ever need it to be. If you run a large household and need an extra-powerful dryer, it is possible to find one, but you'll likely need to go out of your way to pick a good one at the right price.
Common Dryer Problems
Now that we've covered concerns over how hot does a dryer get, let's consider some common dryer problems you are likely to run into. Some of these dryer problems are easy to correct and can be fixed on your own. When some other, more serious problems arise, you must bring a professional in to address the issue. Remember that dryers do present a real risk of house fires when they malfunction. You definitely need to know what the common dryer problems are.
If you have a bad fuse, your dryer is likely spinning, but there isn't any heat. When the fuse is blown, the dryer cannot create any heat. So if you turn your dryer on and it's not creating any heat, but it is spinning, you'll want to check the fuse.
The fuse we reference here is typically located in the rear of the appliance, but this will depend on the exact make and model of your appliance. The blown fuse may look black, cracked, or the metal filament in the middle of the fuse will be severed. Fuse replacement is something you can probably do on your own.
Damaged Temperature Switch
This is another common issue you'll likely run into. Typically, the dryer runs, but there is no hot air being generated. While the fuse is the easiest part to check and replace, a damaged temperature switch usually too isn't complicated, either. This part is located on the dryer's control panel and can be swapped out easily, although it does require a volt meter to test it and see if it is your problem. You can tell if it is receiving and sending power or if there is no current. If no current is flowing, the switch needs to be replaced.
Sometimes a dryer will produce heat, but that heat will fluctuate. It might be too hot at times, or it might be barely there when you feel for it. When this happens, it is usually because you now have a bad thermostat in your dryer.
Bad Heating Coils
The coils in your dryer generate the heat. So if the heating coils fail, the dryer won't function correctly. Even if you can't answer the question, "how hot does a dryer get" in regard to your specific model, you can tell the dryer isn't reaching the temperature it should.
If you believe you may have bad heating coils, you can test them with a voltage meter. If the voltage is 0, it means a coil isn't generating any heat, and you'll need to replace it. To replace it, you must unscrew the damaged coil, remove it and insert the replacement.
When replacing a bad heating coil (or any other part on your dryer), you should always have the manual for your device handy for parts identification and guidance.
Dryer Getting Too Hot
There are times when, while you may not know the answer to the question, "how hot does a dryer get," but you are able to tell that the dryer is noticeably hotter than it has in the past. In these instances, you need to correct the problem because it increases the chance of a fire. There are troubleshooting steps you can follow when you know how hot does a dryer get and also that yours seems to be exceeding the proper temperatures.
First, check the vent running from the rear of the dryer. This vent might be clogged, and you should clean it out and try to keep it clear. If the vent is cleared out, and your appliance is still getting too hot, then you likely have a bad heating coil or thermostat, so you can check both areas of the dryer to see which is not working correctly.
How Hot Does a Dryer Get: 5 Signs Your Dryer Is Busted
Whenever you're dealing with an appliance that generates heat and uses a large amount of electricity, you need to know when it is damaged and when you need to go about having it repaired (or replaced) by a professional. In this section, we cover five signs your dryer is busted and in need of repair.
Turns But Doesn't Heat Up
If your dryer is turning, but it doesn't heat up, there are a number of possible problems. It might take you some time to troubleshoot all of the issues (after checking for a blown fuse). If your dryer is not creating any heat at all and the fuse looks fine, you'll probably need to call for service.
Not Turning On At All
If your dryer isn't turning on at all, there are a few troubleshooting steps, you must perform. First, check to make sure it is connected to the power outlet and that you haven't tripped any circuits or blown fuses in your home's electrical system. As long as all of this checks out, it means you have another issue with the dryer. Because there are so many other problems associated with this, you'll want to bring in a pro to service it.
Clothes Are Burning
Have you noticed burn marks on your clothing? This can be a serious problem because it means not only that the dryer is getting too hot, but that air is likely getting into the dryer and increasing the chance of fire. You'll need to address this by having the dryer serviced very soon.
Drying Is Randomly Turning Off
Does your dryer die and turn off in the middle of a cycle? There are quite a few different issues that might cause this, from a sensor issue to a switch problem. Whatever is causing the problem, you'll need to have your dryer serviced.
Obviously, your dryer must produce heat to dry your clothing. The dryer then circulates that heat throughout the appliance to dry your clothes without burning the clothing or starting a fire. Temperatures vary in dryers, and you need to know that answer to the question, "how hot does a dryer get," as problems with the temperature may be signs your dryer needs to be repaired. There are several potential problems that can cause temperature shifts. Whatever the issue is, though, contact a repair specialist if your dryer is running into serious issues as some malfunctions create risks in your home.