One of the most common problems with a laundry dryer lies with the unit’s heating element. The heating element is basically the resistive coil which is not that different from a home’s electric heater. However, heat elements do come in various shapes and sizes.
The coiled wire is generally made from nickel and chrome alloy. The wire receives as well as resist a controlled electric current which results in the wire heating up. The produced heat is capable of drying your clothes.
There are times that the dryer just won’t heat up or heats too slowly which could indicate a faulty heating element. For today’s guide, we’ll walk you through some pointers about replacing the heating element in the dryer.
How to Check a Dryer’s Heater Element
As mentioned, if there are issues with how your dryer heats the clothes, there might be a problem with your heating element. Here are the steps to check if the heating element needs to be replaced.
- Continuity tester
- Pliers (needle-nose)
1. Pull the plug of the dryer from the outlet. Loosen the screw from the vent clamp which will release the vent from the back of the unit. Pull back the dryer from its initial location so you have more space to work on.
2. Locate the unit’s heat element. Now, this depends on the model of the dryer. Generally, the heating element is found either behind the drum or behind the panel located in the back of the unit. Basically, it all depends on the unit’s manufacturer.
If the rear panel appears flat, you might need to disassemble the unit and take out the drum to access the heating element. The best practice is to find out the dryer brand and model number and look for the instructions online or just refer to the user manual.
3. Locate the high-limit thermostat on the side of the heating element housing. It’s basically a black, round-shaped thermostat which has two wires connected to it. Then, pull the wires from the thermostat’s terminals with either your hand or with pliers.
4. Clamp one end of the tester’s alligator clip to one of the heating element’s terminals. Then, touch one end of the tester’s needle to one of the heat element’s terminal. Then, touch the other needle of the tester to the dryer’s other terminal. If the tester doesn’t glow, then the heating element needs to be replaced.
Guide on Replacing the Heat Element In Dryer
Once it’s determined that the heat element is faulty, you will to replace it. Amazon has a wide variety of dryer heating elements for many different brands. Below are the steps to replace your old, faulty heating element.
1. Unplug the unit from the outlet.
2. Remove the dryer’s exhaust hose. Unscrew the back panel and take it out. Pull back the dryer from the wall so you will enough working space.
3. Check the back of the dryer. On the right side, you should see a long metal housing (probably colored gray). The element should be inside. Again, the location of the element will differ across different models and brands.
4. Using a screwdriver, unscrew both the black sensor from the top and bottom.
5. Unhook the two wires that are below the sensor. Also, you might also find a heating fuse to the left, under the larger casing. In most cases, either of these parts can be the source of the problem. If you are unsure, you can take all of them to the hardware or appliance store where they can test them.
6. Carefully lift up the whole gray casing. If done right, you should be able to easily take it off. Otherwise, try pulling a little harder. There might be some screws and a small bracket that need to be removed.
7. Flip it upside down and you should see one screw that holds the element in place. Remove the screw and carefully take out the element. Check the coil for potential damage or breaks. From here, you can also test it.
8. If the element is deemed faulty, you can install the new element and following this guide in the reverse order. Make sure that you put everything back in and everything is tight and secure. Once you are done, plug the dryer and turn it on.
Is It Working Now?
Hopefully, this guide on replacing the heating element in the dryer has helped you fix the problem.
Again, this is a fairly easy fix to perform but you have to make sure that you install everything properly. Also, don’t forget to always unplug the unit before doing any of the steps above.
If in doubt, it certainly won’t hurt to be safe and have your friendly-neighborhood technician check your clothes dryer for any problems.