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Kenmore Dryer Starts & Then Stops

Lee Morgan

Your Kenmore dryer is an essential part of your laundry process. It may have been a long time since you had to hang your clothes out on a line, and if your dryer starts giving you trouble, you may reluctantly have to resort to the old-fashioned way. One way your Kenmore might be troubling you is by starting up and then shutting off before the drying cycle is complete. This leaves you with damp clothes and unfinished chores you’d prefer to just be done with. Usually this type of problem is a result of heat or electrical issues.

Short Circuit

If your dryer stops before it's supposed to, you could have an overheating problem.

If there is a problem with your machine’s wiring or the circuitry in the home, it may cause your dryer to trip a breaker from time to time. It may even do it each time you try to do a load of clothes. Check your circuit breaker box to see if the breaker assigned to the dryer has tripped. If so, turn it back on and try again. If it trips again, it could be symptom of a short circuit or an overloaded breaker that isn’t powerful enough to handle the appliance. You may need to have an electrician service the dryer or replace breakers entirely.

Replace Thermal Fuse

You dryer is equipped with a safety device called a thermal fuse. This fuse is meant to monitor the temperature in your dryer to ensure it doesn’t get too hot. When the temperature does rise above a set limit, the fuse opens and breaks the circuit of electricity to the appliance. This stops the dryer. If you are able to restart your dryer after it stops, the fuse is still working and you likely have another heat-related problem. A blown thermal fuse cannot be fixed and must be replaced to get the dryer working again. It may completely stop the dryer or it may simply turn off the heating element, depending on the model you own.

Clear Lint

Lint is a serious problem in dryers, yet there is always plenty of it around. As your Kenmore tumbles and heats the laundry, small pieces of the garments come off in the form of lint. A lint trap attempts to catch all of it, but some gets through to the ventilation duct. Other lint may get into the internal parts of the dryer and cake on the motor responsible for tumbling the clothes. Over time, this layer of motor lint gets thicker and thicker until it reaches a point at which the motor overheats because of it. Often the motor will shut itself down when it gets too hot and could be able to work again for shorter and shorter periods of time after cooling down. If your dryer’s motor is covered in lint, clean it thoroughly according to manufacturer's instructions and see if the problem goes away.

Unclog Ventilation

As if lint covering your motor wasn’t bad enough, it can also stick in your ventilation duct and clog the exhaust from the dryer. If your ventilation gets clogged and hot moist air isn’t able to escape outdoors, the dryer will get too hot. This can lead to motor failure just as it would if the lint directly on the motor was causing it. To keep the dryer from overheating and shutting down and preventing a possible fire hazard, clear out the vents to maintain maximum airflow.