Kenmore Dryer Makes Heat Then Stops

A properly operating Kenmore clothes dryer should produce heat throughout a drying cycle to ensure clothes tumble dry.

Lint Buildup

If you’re experiencing problems with your Kenmore dryer heating and then stopping, airflow may be constrained or a component may be malfunctioning. You can check a few places on your dryer for possible failure before you schedule an appoint to have your dryer serviced.

Lint is small bits of fabric that come off laundry as it tumbles in the dryer. Most Kenmore dryers have a lint screen that traps lint to prevent it from entering the vent and clogging it. However, inevitably some lint will bypass the screen and enter the vent. When this occurs, it can collect in the vent and block airflow to the dryer if it’s not promptly cleaned out, interfering with heating. For example, the dryer normally will begin producing heat at the start of a cycle but then stop if airflow becomes obstructed. Stop the dryer, and empty the lint screen and clean its vent.

Cycling Thermostat

Gas and electric Kenmore dryers rely on cycling thermostats to gauge the temperature of various heating cycles: low, medium and hot. Once a certain temperature is reached, the thermostat turns off the heater. However, if a cycling thermostat breaks, it can't monitor the temperature in the dryer and may prematurely direct the heater to stop producing heat. Since each heating cycle has its own corresponding thermostat, you can usually identify the faulty thermostat based on the cycle you select. For example, if you run your dryer on a low heat cycle and the dryer heats and then stops, the low heat cycling thermostat is bad. Changing out the defective thermostat should correct the problem.

Thermal Switch

Nearly all dryers, including most Kenmore models, have a thermal switch or cutoff that stops the dryer if the temperature elevates to a predetermined trip-level, which usually coincides with a temperature just prior to overheating. The switch immediately stops the heater from generating heat to give the dryer time to cool. After the switch activates, your dryer’s heating function will be diminished until a new switch is installed. Contact Kenmore for instructions on how to change a faulty thermal switch if instructions aren’t included in the dryer’s manual.

Heater Coil

Electric Kenmore dryers supply heat with a heavy-duty metal wire that conducts heat with the help of electricity. Over time, various sections of the coil can deteriorate, which reduces the amount of heat the component can produce. The effects of a faulty heater coil tend to be most apparent during a long drying cycle when heat is initially pumped into the dryer but gradually fades over the cycle’s duration. Unfortunately, you can’t repair or replace a section of the heater coil after it goes bad; the entire part must be swapped out for your dryer to heat properly again.

About the Author

Christie Gross has been writing since 1998. Her work writing public policy platforms for elected officials nationwide has been featured in national and local newspapers under various client pen names. Gross has a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science, as well as a Master of Public Administration from the University of Delaware.