Whirlpool Duet Dryer Not Heating? (We Have a Fix!)
When your Whirlpool Duet electric dryer appears to stop heating, it is not just inconvenient and frustrating. You might be thinking about costly repair bills as well, but don’t.
Consider using this list of troubleshooting fixes for getting your Whirlpool Duet Dryer back to thoroughly drying your clothes. Some fixes can actually be very simple while others can be still simple DIY projects. The savings can well be worth the hour or two of time and effort.
Try These Simple Checks First
Step One: Check Your Electrical Service Panel
Most dryers require 240 volts to operate, with two circuit breakers at 120 volts each. The extra voltage is needed to run the heating element of the dryer.
While the dryer may turn on and the drum turn, if one breaker has tripped, the dryer will not heat. If this is the case, reset or, if failed, replace the circuit breaker.
Step Two: Check Your Dryer’s Lint Screen and Vent
A blocked lint screen can keep a dryer from heating up properly. If you use softener sheets, sometimes the softener can also clog the lint screen.
Be sure to clean out the lint screen with every use. Excessive lint can cause a number of operating problems. Also, a clogged lint screen is a primary cause of dryer-related house fires.
Check the lint vent and duct also. The duct (hose) could be clogged or bent. One or the other situation can cause the dryer to not heat properly.
If the hose is both clogged and bent, this can eventually cause internal parts to burn out and need replacing. Clogged ventilation can cause excess moisture as well as ruining internal parts. It can also prevent carbon monoxide and other toxins from venting safely outdoors.
The vent and duct should be cleaned at least once per year. However, they may need to be cleaned more frequently. It depends on how often the dryer is used and the types of drying done.
Step Three: Reduce the Size of the Drying Load
Overpacked loads in the dryer do not tumble freely and may seem not to be getting any heat. This is especially true depending on what materials you are trying to dry, such as bulky items.
Step Four: Troubleshooting the Heating System Parts
If the simple practical checks do not solve the heating problem, the next step involves testing internal parts in the control panel and dryer. It is a simple process of discovering which part is causing the problem.
The timer may be the problem, but this is not a common problem. One of the internal parts of the heating system is probably burnt out or broken. We’ll review each one for testing and replacing if needed.
The Basic Tools Needed to Troubleshoot and Replace Parts
- Work Gloves (The metal housing parts can have sharp edges.)
- Multimeter (audible feature helpful)
- Flat/Slotted Screwdriver (or drill with bit set)
- Nut Driver (or drill with bit set)
Troubleshooting with the Timer First
- Put on work gloves
- Unplug the power cord. Unplug the power cord. . . Unplug the power cord!
- Look over the power cord for any damage. Lay it aside.
- Pull the dryer out from the wall and remove the back panel with the screwdriver/nut driver.
- Remove the back of the control panel.
- Set the multimeter on ohms (Ω).
- Remove the large red wire from terminal A on the timer unit in the control panel.
- Place one probe (or lead) on the metal end of the removed red wire. It may be in a plastic casing.
Older Style Dryers: Remove the back panel to access the heating element terminals.
Newer Style Dryers: Remove the lower front panel to access the heating element terminals.
- Place the other probe on the heating element terminal below in the dryer unit. The other end of the red wire is connected to this terminal.
- If the multimeter reads around 15 ohms of resistance, the other parts in the heating system are okay. (On some multimeters an audible sound signals continuity.)
- If the multimeter gives a reading of “OL” (open line), there is no continuity, no electrical current flow. The parts of the heating element system need to be tested.
Testing the Timer Unit
The timer manages the various functions of the dryer. While testing with the timer, you can test the timer itself to see if it is the problem.
- Be sure the dryer is unplugged.
- Turn the dryer timer knobs to a heating setting, such as 30 minutes and high heat.
- Place the probe on the timer’s Terminal A with the red wire.
- Place the other probe on Terminal C with the black wire.
- If the multimeter gives a reading of “OL” (open line), there is no continuity, no electrical current flow. The timer needs to be replaced.
Though the timer may need replacing, it may not be the only problem. An “OL” reading on the previous test with the heating element indicates there is likely a problem with a part. You don’t want the hassle of replacing the timer and finding that the dryer is still not heating.
Timers cost between $100-$125 purchased online. Be sure to take a photo of the wiring on the timer before pulling the wires to replace it. You can refer to your photo when putting the wires back on the new timer.
Testing/Replacing the Faulty Heating System Parts
The “OL” reading on the multimeter in the first test indicates that parts in the heating system need replacing. To find out which ones, use the multimeter to test each one.
A typical electric dryer heating element unit inside the dryer housing. Down at the very bottom of the oblong-shaped heater box are the terminals. They are connected to the heating coils inside the removable heating element unit.
Just above the terminals on the heating element unit is the high-limit thermostat. Higher up on the heating box is the thermal cut-off fuse.
In the lower-left is the blower unit. On it sits the cycling thermostat and the thermal fuse. Newer dryers may also have a thermistor on the blower unit.
Testing the Heating Element
Be sure the dryer is still unplugged. The heating element contains the coils that heat up to draw hot air into the dryer drum. To test the heating element, place the multimeter probes on each of the heating element terminals.
If the multimeter reads around 15 ohms of resistance, the heating element is working. If the multimeter reads “OL,” then the heating element needs to be replaced.
Testing the High-Limit Thermostat
While testing the heating element, you want to test the high-limit thermostat also. It is just above the heating element terminals on the housing.
The high-limit thermostat will break electrical flow to the heating element if it senses the dryer becoming too hot. An overheated dryer is a fire hazard. The thermostat generally reacts to a clogged vent blocking airflow.
Generally, if the heating element needs replacing, the high-limit thermostat does not. However, many people do replace both of them at the same time. If the heating element is okay, then this thermostat may be the reason the dryer is not heating.
Place the multimeter probes on the two terminals of the thermostat. The reading should show near 0 ohms. If the multimeter reads “OL,” then the high-limit thermostat needs to be replaced.
Purchasing the Heating Element and Thermostat Parts
A new heating element can be purchased with its metal housing or without its housing. The cost is about the same, $15-$25 purchased online. However, if you need to purchase the parts from a local store, expect to pay two to three times more.
Just the coils might be replaced if a broken coil is obvious. The exterior terminal unit is pushed into the housing, and the coils and terminal unit slide out. Then the new coils and terminal unit are slid back into the reusable housing. Again, there is little, if any, difference in cost to purchase the entire housed unit.
A high-limit thermostat can cost as little as $6-$7 purchased online. Often it is purchased in a kit with other heating system parts for less than $25.
Replacing the Heating Element and High-Limit Thermostat
- Be sure the dryer is unplugged.
- With the back panel, or front panel, removed, take a smartphone (digital) photo of the connected wires. These wires are located on the heating element housing. They are connected to the heating element terminals and the high-limit thermostat terminals just above. You’ll be glad to have this photo to refer to when reconnecting the wires!
- Pull the wires off the heating element terminals and the high-limit thermostat terminals.
(You may need to gently pry tight wire caps off with needle-nose pliers.)
- Remove the screws from the housing unit with a nut driver and remove the unit.
- With a new housing unit, remove the working thermostat from the old housing and install it on the new unit. If a new thermostat is purchased, install it on the heating element housing.
- Position the heating element housing back on the heating box and screw it back on tightly.
- Reconnect the wires to the heating element and thermostat referring to the earlier photo taken of the wiring. Incorrectly connected wires can damage the new parts.
Before putting the panel back on, it is a good idea to check the other heating components. If the heating element and thermostat test as okay, then you need to test further for the problem.
Testing the Cycling Thermostat
The cycling, or operating, thermostat is installed on the blower unit. Generally, it is located close to the white thermal fuse unit. It cycles the heat source on and off to keep the drum temperature steady.
Place one probe on the red wire metal end at the thermostat’s terminal. Place the other probe on the red-white wire metal end at the terminal.
Like the high-limit thermostat, the multimeter reading should be near 0 ohms. If the multimeter reads “OL,” then the cycling thermostat needs to be replaced.
Purchasing the Cycling Thermostat
A cycling thermostat can cost as little as $6-$7 purchased online. It may be purchased in a kit with other heating system parts for less than $25.
Replacing the Cycling Thermostat
- Be sure the dryer is unplugged.
- Take a smartphone (digital) photo of the connected wires on the cycling thermostat. There are four wires.
- Disconnect the wires.
- Remove the screws with the nut driver and remove the thermostat.
- Align the new cycling thermostat over the screw holes and screw it back on to the blower housing.
- Reconnect the wires to the cycling thermostat referring to the earlier photo taken of the wiring. Incorrectly connected wires can damage the new parts.
Before putting the panel back on, there is one more heating component in the dryer housing to check.
Testing the Thermal Cut-off Fuse
If the high-limit thermostat is not working, the thermal cut-off fuse will cut flow to the heating element. The fuse is a back-up safety feature. If the high-limit thermostat tested as not working, the thermal cut-off fuse may also be blown.
The thermal cut-off fuse is usually located on the heating box itself, above the heating element. On some models, it may be located closer to the high-limit thermostat.
Place the multimeter probe on the red-white wire metal end at the fuse terminal. Place the other probe on the red wire metal end at the terminal. The multimeter reading should be near 0 ohms. If the multimeter reads “OL,” then the thermal cut-off fuse needs to be replaced.
Purchasing the Thermal Cut-off Fuse
If the thermal cut-off fuse is blown, then the high-limit thermostat has usually already indicated that it is not working. When the thermal cut-off fuse is not working, both units must be replaced. They come in a kit costing about $10 purchased online.
Replacing the Thermal Cut-off Fuse
- Be sure the dryer is unplugged.
- Take a smartphone (digital) photo of the connected wires.
- Disconnect the wires.
- Remove the screws with the nut driver and remove the fuse.
- Align the new thermal cut-off fuse over the screw holes and screw it back on to the blower housing.
- Reconnect the wires to the fuse referring to the earlier photo taken of the wiring. Incorrectly connected wires can damage the new parts.
Parts Saving Maintenance
While you have the back or front panel off, vacuum out the dryer housing. You want to remove all lint that has collected and not vented out. Remember, lint collecting in the vent, duct, and housing is generally the primary cause of part failures. Also, this is a fire hazard.
What causes my dryer to overheat?
The main cause of overheating is lint. Lint can cause poor dryer venting or a clogged vent or duct.
Why is my dryer so noisy?
Usually, this is caused by a noisy drum. It may have worn out glides or a torn drum seal.
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