What to do when your dryer won’t start

You rely on your washer and dryer a considerable amount. Beyond just washing and drying your clothes you may also rely on your dryer to iron out your clothes or to warm up the clothing during the colder months. If one day you find the dryer won’t start, you’ll need to determine what’s causing the problem. Usually this issue is something you’re able to fix on your own without the aid of a professional. However, should these troubleshooting tips fail to work, it is best to contact a repair technician in the area and have them look at it. They will find what is causing the problem and let you know whether it’s best to repair or replace the dryer.

Why Won’t My Dryer Start a Cycle?

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When the dryer won’t start, it’s usually because something is preventing the completion of the electrical circuit within the dryer. When you tell the dryer to start, a signal is sent from the button (or knob) that goes to the heating filament. An electrical current then causes the filament to heat up or gas is used from a gas connection to create the heat. When there is no heat, there is usually something preventing this.When you find the dryer won’t start, the problem can range from a minor problem–such as an issue with the door latching–all the way to a part that needs to be replaced. Even if you do need to have a part replaced, it shouldn’t cost too much to replace it. In many instances, a damaged part can be replaced without the aid of a technician. Outside of digging into the inner workings of the dryer, most parts can be replaced in under an hour. All you need to do is follow the instructions.Once the circuit can be completed, and the filament allowed to heat, your dryer should return to its original functionality without any problems from there.

​What to Check If Your Dryer Is Not Starting

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When the dryer won’t start, you must follow these troubleshooting steps. These steps will walk you through the process of looking into the most common problems with dryers. However, as each dryer is a little different from the next, you may need to move past these steps and check out the manufacturer’s website. Chances are though, you’ll identify the problem and correct the issue with these dryer not starting tips.

Check the Outlet

Begin by checking the outlet. If you had an uneven load in the dryer (such as when drying a rug), the weight can toss the dryer around, causing it to bounce and even pull from the electrical outlet. Plug the dryer back in and you’ll be good to go.

Check the Circuit

It’s possible you tripped the fuse. This is more common with old houses if several appliances run on the same circuit. However, it is something that will also happen with new houses, so check the circuit breaker to see if the fuse has been tripped. If it has, reset the fuse. This will probably restore the functionality of the dryer and correcting the “dryer won’t start” problem.

Clean Out the Lint Trap

Some dryers will shut down if the lint trap becomes clogged. A clogged lint trap is a fire hazard and needs to be cleaned out after every cycle. After clearing out the lint trap, remove the trap and check for lint that may have connected under the trap and within the door (or inside the back panel, if the trap is at the rear of the appliance). By clearing out the airway inside the dryer, you increase the chance of the dryer starting back up.

Check the Door

The door needs to be fully closed and latched in order for the dryer to run. If the door isn’t latched tightly, the dryer will not turn on at all. There is a small metal clamp on the door that snaps into place on the body of the dryer when the appliance is closed. This sends a signal to the appliance, letting it know that the door is closed. However, if the door isn’t closed correctly, the circuit will not be completed and the dryer will not turn on. So double check the door latch and remove any debris that might be stuck to it.

​Check the Fuse

The dryer has a fuse that prevents electrical surges from reaching the main electrical elements of the dryer. A large, powerful, and sudden surge can push past the fuse, overloading it before the fuse bursts; but for most dryers, the fuse is there to collect any electrical overage.The exact location of the fuse will depend on the make and mode. However, it is usually located on the rear of the dryer, inside the rear panel. In order to access the fuse you’ll need to remove the screws from the rear panel. You may be able to use a Philips screwdriver or a small appliance wrench.Remove the rear panel. You will find a small cylinder connected to the dryer wall. If the cylinder looks black, is foggy, or if the metal filament within the fuse is blown out, you must replace this fuse. Replacing the fuse will restore the functionality of the appliance.You will want to go to the manufacturer’s website to buy a replacement fuse, or you might be able to go to an appliance repair store and obtain a replacement fuse. It’ is important for you to pick up a replacement fuse that is made for your specific brand, so you shouldn’t get just any dryer fuse.When you have the replacement fuse for your specific make and model, remove the back panel of the dryer and then disconnect the wires running into the fuse. With the damaged fuse removed, insert the new fuse and connect the two wires back into place. It doesn’t matter the order or placement of the wires, so don’t worry about remembering which wire went where.Once you have the new fuse installed, you should be able to power on the appliance and begin using the dryer again. However, while you’re at it, now is a good time to disconnect the rear vent hose and clean out the hose. Chances are you have not cleaned this in some time (if you ever have). The vent will collect with dust, lint, and other debris. This debris becomes a fire hazard and will lead to other problems, not to mention make it difficult to vent the hot air out of the appliance.If you’re unable to completely remove the dust from the vent, you should consider replacing the tubing all together. Replacing the tub isn’t difficult and it will only cost a few dollars. Once you do this, it will improve the functionality and energy efficiency of the appliance. Secure the rear door back to the dryer and then connect it to the electrical outlet to begin using the dryer again. This should correct the dryer won’t start problem.

​What to Do When Your Dryer Won’t Start

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​Should you find your dryer won’t start it is important to follow through with these instructions. These are basic troubleshooting steps to follow for any make and model dryer. However, should these steps not work, you should visit the manufacturer’s website and look for the owner’s manual and troubleshooting support. The website will provide you with information based on how to fix such an issue and what the more common problems are with your exact model. Should you find the dryer still won’t start, you must contact a professional. Sometimes the problem with the dryer is more substantial and there may be further damage inside the dryer. It’s also possible you experienced a power surge that overloaded the circuit before the fuse blew, which means the dryer might be shot. This more than likely is not the issue (unless you had a lightening strike your house or a nearby power converter), but by bringing in a professional you’ll be able to figure out what is going on with the dryer and whether it’s in your best interest to repair or replace the dryer.


Should you find the dryer won’t start, you need to follow these troubleshooting steps. Most of these steps will take no more than a few minutes to execute. After you have performed the steps, you will be able to know whether you have identified the problem or if you need to move further on with the diagnostic process.After using the information the manufacturer’s website provides, if there is still a problem you need to bring in a professional. Whatever is causing the dryer from turning on and running a cycle, you’ll get to the bottom of it with these troubleshooting steps.

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