If your dryer is running, but wet clothes are not heating, it is important to take action quickly. Not only can this cause damage to clothing, but it may also present a fire hazard.

There are various reasons why your dryer won’t effectively dry clothes. It can be because of a clogged lint screen, blocked dryer vent, malfunctioning dryer door, faulty dryer drum, and more.

In this article, you will learn some common reasons why your dryer may not be heating or drying properly and what you can do about it. You will also learn the following as you scroll down:

  • Tips for troubleshooting
  • Maintenance tips to help keep your dryer running safely and efficiently
  • Options available if you decide to replace your old dryer with a new model

Read on to learn all of these!

10 Most Common Causes Why Most Dryers Are Not Producing Heat and How to Fix Them

Dryers Are Not Producing Heat

When a dryer is not heating, it can be for several reasons. Here are the 10 most common causes of the problem and how to fix them.

Tripped breaker

If the breaker has tripped, the dryer won’t heat. Check your breaker panel and reset the breaker if necessary. In an electric dryer, two 120-volt circuit breakers are used, one for heating and the other for power. If the heating circuit breaker is tripped, the dryer will run but won’t produce heat.

Gas issue

If the dryer is powered by gas, ensure the valve is open completely closed, and the gas line is properly connected. To do this, you need to:

  1. Turn on the gas valve.
  2. Check the connection of the gas pipe to the dryer.
  3. Verify that you’ve paid your gas bill.

Blocked lint trap

A wet or blocked lint trap can reduce the airflow inside the dryer, causing it to overheat and shut off the heating element. To fix the problem, make sure to clean the lint trap after every use, removing any buildup that could impede airflow.

To clean the lint screen, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the lint screen and wash it in the sink using soap and warm water.
  2. While the screen is drying, use a vacuum attachment to clean any lint in the slot where the lint screen goes.
  3. For a more comprehensive cleaning, unscrew and/or unclamp the panel surrounding the lint screen to access it thoroughly.
  4. Before proceeding, disconnect your dryer from the power and turn off the gas connection (if applicable).
  5. After completing the cleaning, reassemble the dryer, ensuring the lint screen is in place. Alternatively, you can move to the next cause.

Faulty timer

Faulty time is the most common cause of the dryer not heating. In this case, the owner’s manual says you will need to contact a professional to replace the timer. It’s not recommended to try and fix the timer yourself unless you’re an experienced technician.

If the timer isn’t advancing to the next cycle, it may cause the heat to continue running and overheating the dryer. In other cases, a malfunctioning timer can also prevent heat from being released as hot air.

To troubleshoot and replace the timer on your own, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power source of the dryer. If it’s gas-powered, make sure to turn off the gas as well.
  2. Locate the small timer motor and conduct a continuity test.
  3. If the continuity test fails, replace the timer or the motor to restore normal functioning.

Reduce airflow

Reduced airflow in a dryer can lead to inadequate heat production. To address this issue and restore proper airflow, follow these steps:

  1. Check the ventilation hose, and on some models, the lint screens attached to it can become blocked.
  2. If possible, check the outside vent to test if warm, steady airflow is present.
  3. Clean the ventilation hose and the outside vent to eliminate any blockages.
  4. If you have a gas dryer, use caution when moving it to gain access to not damage the gas line or cause any leaks.

Lint buildup inside the dryer

To gain access to the drum and motor, it may be necessary to unscrew and/or unclip some parts of the dryer vent hose, which could reveal excess lint build-up or ventilation areas that require cleaning, depending on the model.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Switch off the dryer from the power and gas source for gas-powered ones.
  2. Depending on your model, determine whether the back or front panel needs to be removed, and find the screws to these panels, which may be behind the dryer’s top or control panel.
  3. Remove the panel(s) and clean out any lint. Consider taking photos of the wires so you don’t get confused when reattaching them.
  4. Reassemble the dryer, or move on to the next possible cause if the issue persists.

Blown thermal fuses

A blown thermal fuse can cause your dryer to stop producing heat. These fuses are designed to act as a safety mechanism and shut off the dryer’s heating element if it gets too hot. If you suspect a blown thermal fuse, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. Locate the thermal fuse, typically attached to the exhaust duct inside the dryer.
  3. Use a multimeter to check for continuity. If there is no continuity, the thermal fuse is blown and will need to be replaced.
  4. Replace the blown thermal fuse with a new one of the same rating.
  5. Reconnect the dryer to the power source and test to see if the problem has been resolved.

Broken heating elements

A broken heating element can cause your dryer to stop producing heat. To replace a broken heating element, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. Locate the heating element behind a panel on the back of the dryer.
  3. Remove the panel and take out the heating element assembly.
  4. Use a multimeter to test for continuity. If there is no continuity, the heating element is broken and needs to be replaced.
  5. Purchase a new heating element that’s compatible with your dryer model.
  6. Install the new heating element and reassemble the dryer’s back panel.
  7. Reconnect the dryer to the power source and test to see if the problem has been resolved.

Note that replacing a heating element can be a complex procedure. If you’re uncomfortable working with electrical components or have doubts, it’s best to contact a professional to do the job.

Faulty thermal fuse or thermostat

A faulty thermal fuse or thermostat can cause problems if the dryer doesn’t produce enough heat either. Here are the steps to diagnose and fix the issue:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. Locate the thermal fuse and thermostat, usually found close to the heater.
  3. Use a multimeter to test each component for continuity.
  4. Replace the part if the thermal fuse or thermostat fails the continuity test.
  5. Before removing any component, take a photo to aid in reassembly.
  6. Reconnect the dryer to the power source and test to check if the problem is resolved.

If you’re uncertain or uncomfortable handling electrical components, it’s best to call a professional to help.

Malfunctioning gas valve

If you have a gas-powered dryer, a malfunctioning gas valve can cause it to stop producing heat. To replace the gas valve, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the gas and power sources.
  2. Locate the gas valve, which is usually located near the burner assembly.
  3. Remove the valve and its wires.
  4. Replace it with a new gas valve and reconnect the wires.
  5. Reconnect the gas and power sources and test the dryer to verify the issue is fixed.

Replacing the gas valve can be dangerous and should be done by a qualified technician. If you’re unsure, it’s best to seek professional help.

Consider Replacing It With Newer Models

lg dryer and washer

If you have an older one that isn’t working properly, you may consider replacing it with a newer model. Newer models come with advanced features like energy efficiency and improved dryer performance. Some models even feature smart home technology, allowing you to control the dryer remotely, such as:

  • Whirlpool dryer
  • LG gas dryer
  • Samsung dryer
  • Maytag gas supply dryer

Do some research on major appliances to determine which model would best suit your needs. Ensure you check the warranty of any new appliance and read through customer reviews on different models before deciding.


If your dryer is running but not heating, it could be a sign of an issue with the heating element, thermal fuse, temperature sensor, or gas valve. A qualified technician should be able to diagnose and fix the problem quickly and safely.

Consider replacing an older dryer with a newer model to save yourself from this potentially time-consuming and costly repair. Newer models of electric dryers often come with more advanced features, such as energy efficiency and smart home technology, that may make them worth the extra cost.

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