Reasons a Dryer May Not Be Drying Clothes

K.A. Francis

Few things more annoying than opening the dryer and, instead of finding warm, dry clothes, finding wet damp laundry. Several reasons account for why a dryer stops drying clothes, some of which you can correct without an appliance repairman.

A dryer can stop heating and drying clothes for a variety of reasons.

Dryers require regular maintenance to function properly, and, if this maintenance is skipped, it can cause the dryer to stop working temporarily, cause permanent damage and become a fire hazard.

The Drum May Not Tumble

If a dryer's drum is not tumbling, it can cause the dryer not to heat and therefore not dry clothes. To examine if the drum turns, try to turn it by hand. The drum should turn, but offer some resistance. If the drum spins easily or wobbles as as it is turned, the drive belt is possibly damaged, worn or slipping. In this case you must reseat or replace the belt.

The Vents Are Possibly Clogged

When the dryer vents are clogged, the warm moist heat cannot leave the dryer, which prevents the clothes from drying. Check the lint trap, vent the trap covers for a lint clog and remove any lint found. Along with the lint trap, inspect the exhaust vent for excess lint as well. Turn on the dryer, and go outside to examine the external vent. Warm air should flow through the external vent at a rather rapid rate. If the air is not flowing, see if lint is clogging the pipe. A good rule is if lint is clogging the exhaust pipe, it is a good time to replace the pipe.

The Heating Element Is Malfunctioning

When the heating element in a dryer starts to fail, one of the first signs is that the dryer stops heating and drying clothes. To test the element, place a few damp items in the dryer, and turn the dryer to its highest heat setting. Set the dryer timer for 5 to 10 minutes, turn on the dryer and wait. When the cycle ends, open the dryer and feel the items inside. If the items are still damp, the heating element is failing and will need replacing.