How to Troubleshoot a Dryer That Won't Stop

Troubleshooting a dryer that will not stop running but has heat is a matter of checking out the dryer exhaust. Dryers use an automatic cycle that will turn the dryer on and off when the dryer reaches certain temperatures. When lint builds up inside the dryer duct, the dryer does not reach the certain cut-off point and the timer will not advance. This is especially true if your dryer uses a moisture sensor. The moisture sensor will always feel the clothes as damp and will tell the timer not to advance. Once the dryer exhaust is clear, the moist air will leave the dryer and the timer will be able to advance properly.

Clean your dryer exhaust to get your dryer cycles working properly.
  1. Turn off the dryer and unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. Pull your dryer away from the wall enough that you can work behind the dryer.

  2. Loosen the screws on the clamp that secures the dryer vent duct to the back of the dryer with a Phillips head screwdriver. Remove the dryer vent duct off the exhaust port. Loosen the clamp securing the other end of the dryer duct to the pipe leading to the outside vent and pull the dryer duct away from the vent pipe.

  3. Insert a lint brush into the dryer's exhaust port. Pull the lint out of the exhaust port with the lint brush. Rotate the lint brush around the entire inside perimeter of the exhaust port.

  4. Place the lint brush inside the pipe leading to the outside dryer vent and remove the lint from the pipe. You may find that the lint from the outside vent is moist. This is the area that will begin blocking proper air flow from the dryer.

  5. Clean the inside of the dryer vent duct with a lint brush or a vacuum with an upholstery brush adapter. Reattach the dryer vent duct to the exhaust port and the outside vent pipe using the clamps to secure the dryer duct.

  6. Pull out the lint screen in your dryer and remove any lint from the screen. The lint screen will be under a door in the top of your dryer or just inside the bottom edge of the dryer door opening. Use the lint brush to clean inside the cavity where the lint screen sits.

  7. Place the lint screen back into the dryer and plug the dryer power cord into the wall outlet. Push the dryer back into its working location.

  8. Open the dryer door and locate the moisture sensor for your dryer, if your dryer uses a moisture sensor. The moisture sensor will be a small black or white bar. The sensor is usually on the rear of the dryer drum or near the top of the drum close to the door opening.

  9. Wipe the moisture clean to remove any dirt or lint buildup that may be on the sensor.


  • Always disconnect power from appliances before attempting any repairs.
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