How to Troubleshoot a Clothes Dryer with No Heat

Dan Ketchum

To dry your clothes, your dryer's rotating drum turns a fan or blower wheel, which circulates the hot air produced by a heating element or burner chamber and releases it through an exhaust vent. The process is simple, but the dryer must successfully heat, circulate and expel air for proper operation.

Basic troubleshooting methods apply to both gas and electric dryers.

Sometimes, faulty components lead to a lack of heat, necessitating professional repair. In other cases, however, basic troubleshooting can bring the heat back to your appliance.


Always consult your dryer's manufacturer-provided owner's manual before you start troubleshooting. While some tips apply universally, dryer models differ in some details. If basic troubleshooting doesn't do the trick, contact your dryer's manufacturer for instructions, service or repair. Problems such as a burned-out heating element or burner assembly, a defective thermostat, a broken igniter, a faulty flame sensor and a bad gas valve solenoid call for professional attention. Enlist a professional repair service to clean your dryer vent hoses once per year -- or once every six months for hoses over 10 feet long -- to optimize hot air circulation.


Attempting to repair your dryer's internal components yourself may void the manufacturer's warranty. Contact the manufacturer to find out the terms of your warranty before starting major repairs -- your warranty may cover the costs of parts and labor.

  1. Inspect your home's electrical service panel -- if your dryer doesn't turn on at all, a power issue may be to blame. An electric dryer needs 240 volts to operate, relying on a double breaker or fuse block, one part of which provides power for the dryer's heat production and the other providing power to its mechanical functions. A gas dryer has a single 120-volt fuse or breaker. If necessary, replace any blown fuses or reset the breaker.

  2. Check your dryer's cycle settings. Many dryers include cycles that turn the drum and tumble the clothes but do not produce heat. Examples of common non-heating cycles include “Air Dry” or “Air Fluff.” Likewise, deselect sensor-based drying cycles, which may misread mixed wet-and-dry loads and fail to produce heat.

  3. Remove your dryer's lint filter, often a cartridge-style component found just inside the appliance's door, and clear any linty buildup. Excess lint inhibits your dryer from properly exhausting air, which leads to sub-par heating. Make it a habit to clean the filter every time you use your dryer.

  4. Inspect the appliance's vents. Remove any visible obstructions or debris from the vents, louvers or vent covers. Ensure the vent hose is free of kinks, bends or tears. Improper venting makes for insufficient circulation, which in turn inhibits heating and drying performance. Over time, clogged vents can overload your dryer thermostat's circuit or lead to a dangerous house fire.