Dryer Not Heating? Try Replacing This One Simple Part
You may be able to fix your dryer without calling a pro. Read on to learn how.
An hour or less
IntroductionWhat good is a clothes dryer if it doesn't heat up? Get your dryer heating again for less than $25!
- Digital multimeter
- Rachet with 1/4-in. socket
Each year, thousands of dryers end up in landfills because they no longer heat up. Often, though, all that’s needed to get them working again is replacing an inexpensive part called the hi-limit fuse. Here’s the thing… dryer manufacturers don’t tell consumers how to do it.
Hi-limit fuses (AKA thermal fuses or hi-limit thermostats) are safety devices that help prevent the dryer from overheating and causing a fire. Your dryer can have up to three of these. They fail because the dryer can’t exhaust the hot, moist air inside. That’s usually because of a clogged dryer vent tube, or one with too many bends.
Many people pay a professional to come in and fix the dryer for around $200, or replace the whole dryer for around $800. Instead, I’ll show you how to replace or reset the hi-limit fuse and get your dryer heating again.
Many brands, like Bosch, LG, Samsung and Miele, offer hi-limit fuses that can be reset by pushing a button instead of replacing them. You’ll find your hi-limit fuses behind the top panel, back panel or lower front panel.
Pro tip: Clear your dryer vent tube before replacing the hi-limit fuse. If you don’t, you’ll blow the fuse.
Scott the Fix it Guy for Family Handyman
Project step-by-step (6)
Access the Hi-limit Fuse
- The dryer shown here is a Whirlpool electric with the hi-limit fuse under the lower front panel. Here’s how to find yours: Locate your dryer model number and access Sears Parts Direct, which lists millions of parts from lots of brands. Enter the model number and you’ll see diagrams of your dryer’s parts. Put the word “hi-limit” in the search bar to find where the fuse is in your dryer. Then you can order a new one right online.
- When the part arrives and you’re ready to install, unplug your dryer to avoid a shock.
- Find the lower panel below the dryer door. Press in on clips with a flat-head screwdriver or a paint scraper. The spring clips are about three inches in from the upper right- and left-hand corners of the lower panel.
- Pull the upper part of the panel toward you and lift the panel off the bottom clips.
- Reach in to locate the furthest-back electrical piece on the left side of the big round burner tube.
Remove the Old Hi-limit Fuse
- Pull off the two wires connected to the hi-limit fuse. You may need pliers to pull them off. Make sure to pull on the metal spade connectors, not the wires, as you remove them.
- Using a small ratchet with a 1/4-in. socket, remove the two 1/4-in. screws holding the hi-limit onto the burner tube.
Courtesy Scott the Fix it Guy
Test the New Hi-limit Fuse
- Set your multimeter for an Ohms reading.
- Put the red and black probes of the multimeter on the hi-limit metal terminals to see if it has continuity. That means electricity can flow through the fuse and reach the dryer’s heating element.
You know there’s continuity when you hear a beep or see numbers come up on the digital screen. No beep, or 00.00 or O.L. on the display means the hi-limit fuse is bad and needs to be replaced.
If your dryer wasn’t heating and the fuse checked out fine, you need a new heating element or a new igniter on a gas dryer.
Francisco Javier Conejero Manzano / EyeEm/Getty Images
Install the New Hi-limit Fuse
- Put one of the 1/4-in. screws into one of the two new hi-limit fuse screw holes.
- Reach in with your left hand and try to use the end of the screw to find the small hole on the left side of the burner tube where the one-quarter-inch screw used to go. Both gas and electric models have the big round burner tube. Use your flashlight to help you to see the hole. Keep feeling around until the sharp tip of the screw goes into the hole.
- Gently turn the screw clockwise with your left hand to secure the hi-limit fuse against the burner tube.
- Repeat the above technique to get the other 1/4-in. screw in place.
- Tighten both screws with the 1/4-in. socket, going clockwise.
Courtesy Scott the Fix it Guy
Putting Things Back Together
- Put the two spade connectors back on the new hi-limit fuse. Make sure they’re all the way on.
- Plug in the power cord.
- Set the dryer controls for the hottest setting and press start.
- Within 30 seconds, you should see a nice red glow coming from your heating element.
- No glow? Check your settings to make sure it’s on Heated Dry.
- Check that both breakers are in the full On position. If one breaker has tripped, the dryer may spin but you won’t have heat.
- Reinstall your lower panel. You’ll hear a click when it’s correctly placed.
LG/Samsung Gas Dryer Resettable Hi-Limit Fuse
- Unplug your dryer.
- Locate the round plastic cover on the lower right-hand corner of the right-side panel.
- Use a flat-head screwdriver to pop off the round panel.
- With a flashlight, locate the resettable hi-limit fuse on the big round burner tube.
- Press the black button between the two silver metal terminals. The button should click. If it doesn’t, move down and click. Then your hi-limit is OK and you probably have a bad igniter.
- Plug in the dryer and set it to heat.
- Peer into the big hole. You should see a nice glow from the igniter and then a flame.
- Pop the round plastic piece back in, and you’re done.
- Bosch and Miele dryers also have a resettable hi-limit fuse. To access them, unplug the power cord, then remove the screws holding on the back panel. Just press the red button, and you’re done.