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Why the Kenmore Electric Dryer Is Overheating

Kenmore dryers are often manufactured by Whirlpool and sold by Sears under the Kenmore name. A properly functioning electric dryer shouldn't overheat. Overheating can damage the appliance and burn the laundry inside. However, when you start experiencing overheating problems, don't despair; a number of possible explanations exist for this problem and most require only minor repair.

Lint Buildup

Discontinue using a dryer that repeatedly overheats.

If your dryer overheats, the first thing you want to check is the lint trap.  When the lint trap becomes filled, lint can get into the exhaust duct and obstruct airflow. If hot air can't escape the drum, it just lingers inside, causing the air temperature to rise.  Clean out the lint trap after every laundry load. Review your dryer manual for instructions on how to clean inside the exhaust duct.  Also, inspect the exhaust vent on the outside of your home for debris. Remove lint from the vent screen if visible. 

Blocked Venting System

Your dryer is hooked up to an exhaust duct which transports hot air from the dryer outside through an exhaust vent.  The vent is typically nothing more than a small circular opening on the exterior of your home that's partially covered by three or four small plastic slats and a mesh screen. If the screen becomes damaged, the opening is large enough for a bird or insect to enter and build a nest.  A nest or similar obstruction can constrain airflow and prevent hot air from exiting the dryer when the appliance is on. Inspect the exhaust vent to make certain it's free of damage.  If you suspect that an animal or insect might have entered the vent, contact an exterminator to clear the passage and secure the vent covering.

Heating Element Is Too Hot

When a heating element goes bad, it actually can put out too much heat.  When this happens, the dryer can't release enough hot air in the drum to accommodate for the increase in air temperature, and the dryer overheats. Contact a repair specialist to evaluate the dryer's heating element.  Switch it out with a new one if the component is malfunctioning.

Defective Thermostat

Kenmore dryers are equipped with a thermostat that's usually located inside the drum.  It's typically a small round device affixed to the drum with screws. The thermostat monitors the air temperature inside the dryer.  When the temperature gets too hot, the thermostat alerts the heating element to temporarily shut down or lower its heat output until the temperature inside adjusts to a certain temperature. However, when the thermostat stops working, it's no longer able to effectively measure air temperature.  Under this circumstance, the air temperature can quickly increase in a dryer and lead to it overheating. Contact a dryer repair technician to evaluate the condition of the thermostat.  Switch it out for a new one when the thermostat is broken.

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.

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