Dryer Won’t Dry Clothes but Gets Hot? Here’s Why

September 1, 2021
Dryer Repair

If your dryer won’t dry clothes but gets hot, it is likely caused by one or more of the reasons in this article.

To find the cause of the problem, simply go through each step, and hopefully you’ll find the cause of the problem and can fix it.

Step 1 – Check Your Clothes Aren’t Too Wet

The best place to start is to check that your washing machine is set to the right settings. This is because when your washing machine is not rinsing/spinning enough, your clothes are coming out of the washing machine and then being put into the dryer too wet. When this happens, your dryer might not be able to dry your clothes properly. When your washing machine finishes a cycle, check that your clothes aren’t too wet—they should be damp, not dripping wet.

Step 2 – Check You’re Not Overloading the Dryer

The next step is to make sure you’re not overloading your dryer. A good rule of thumb is you shouldn’t be filling the dryer to more than 80% of its capacity. If your dryer is more than 80% full, take out some of the clothes, and then try to see if the dryer works properly. It’s also a good idea to not try to dry too many bulky items, like towels, at one time, as this can cause the same problem.

Step 3 – Check Your Dryer Settings

The next step is to check your dryer settings, as when they are not correct, this can cause your dryer to heat but not dry your clothes. The first thing to check is if your dryer is set to a hot enough setting for the size of your load. Depending on the age, make, and model of your dryer, it may have an automatic dry option you can use, which will make sure your dryer operates on the correct settings. Once you change the setting, check to see if your dryer is now working correctly; if not, move on to the next step.

Step 4 – Check Your Dryer Vent and Lint Trap

The next step is to check your dryer vent and lint trap/filter. When either of these components gets clogged, your dryer cannot work properly, and your clothes will not dry. The lint trap in particular should be cleaned after every use to ensure your dryer works to its maximum ability.

Here’s how to check the dryer vent and lint trap:

  1. Locate the vent at the back of your dryer, and dismantle it from the dryer. You can then give it a good clean with a vacuum cleaner. Once cleaned, you can reattach the vent.
  2. Locate the lint trap and give it a good clean. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to give it a thorough clean. Once cleaned, you can put it back into its correct position.
  3. Once you’ve cleaned both the vent and the trap, you can turn your dryer back on and check if the problem has been solved. If not, move on to the next step.

Step 5 – Check the Heating Element

The next step is to check some of the internal components that may have become defective. You should only carry out these checks if you are experienced working with electronics and you have a multimeter device.

The first component to check is the heating element. The purpose of the heating element is, as the name suggests, to heat your dryer during a cycle. When it becomes defective, your dryer may not reach the right temperature, which causes your clothes to not dry.

To check the heating element, you need to:

  1. Turn the power off to your dryer.
  2. To access the heating element, you will need to remove the top and side panels.
  3. Once you’ve removed the panels, locate the heating element (check your manual if necessary).
  4. You can then use a multimeter to check the element for continuity.
  5. If the test shows it has continuity, it is working correctly, and you can move on to the next step.
  6. If the test shows it doesn’t have continuity, the heating element will need to be replaced.
  7. Once replaced, turn your dryer on and check if your dryer is working correctly. If not, you’ll have to check the thermostats.

Step 6 – Check the Thermostats

The final step is to check the thermostats. Depending on your specific make and model of dryer, you will probably have both a high-limit thermostat and a cycling thermostat. If either of these thermostats breaks, your dryer will stop working correctly.

To check the thermostats, you need to:

  1. Make sure the power is still turned off.
  2. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to remove the top and side panels so you can access the thermostats.
  3. Locate the thermostats (check your manual to determine their location and how many your dryer has).
  4. Check the thermostats with a multimeter to see if they have continuity.
  5. If either of the thermostats doesn’t have continuity, it will need to be replaced.
  6. Once replaced, turn your dryer back on and check if the problem has been solved. If not, you’ll need to call a qualified technician to give it a second look-over, or you might have to consider purchasing a new dryer.

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