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Lint in dryer duct causing dryer not drying

Why Your Dryer Is Not Drying Your Clothes

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Is your dryer not drying clothes or did your dryer recently stop working? Is your dryer not spinning or just no longer drying?

Tossing the clothes in the dyer only to have them come out hot and not dry is frustrating. Why is the dryer just spinning your clothes around and not actually drying them? There are several troubleshooting steps you can take to try and repair it on your own before you need to call in the home service appliance pros.

If you have a dryer not getting hot, here are some appliance repair tips to consider:

  • Check the lint filter
  • Check the exhaust vent
  • Check if the dryer drum is spinning
  • Did the motor fail?
  • Do you have a broken thermal fuse or thermostat?
  • Is the heating element broken?

How Dryers Work

Washer Dryer
How Dryers Work

For a dryer to properly dry clothing, it needs the right combination of airflow and heat. When a dryer vent is clogged, it does not allow the heat and moisture to escape properly.

A heating element is used to increase the temperature of air in the dryer, which increases the air’s capacity for carrying moisture. The air needs to flow away from the clothing to allow them to effectively dry.

As the hot air is exhausted from the dryer, the air will flow around the clothing, properly drying them. However, there are many things that can disrupt this, some easy to fix, some require more technical skills for safety and to be properly fixed.

Faulty Appliande?

Check and Clean the Lint Filter

Cleaning Dryer Screens
Dryer Screen

If the dyer won’t dry, it’s easy to forget about the lint filter. It doesn’t take long to clog. When the dryer lint filter is clogged, air is not able to circulate through the machine properly. The lint won’t escape easily with poor airflow, making it harder for the machine to dry the clothing.

Dryer Lint Causes Heat Problems

Unfortunately, the dryer can often end up with several other failures such as a burnt out motor, premature element failure, blown fuse, shorted thermostats or no heat.

These issues are related to problems with the lint overwhelming the filter forcing the machine to work harder to dry clothing. The lint filter is something you cannot ignore and we recommend cleaning it before each use.

Once you clean the lint filter, try drying your clothing again to see if it works. If the dryer still is not drying, you will need to troubleshoot other areas of the dryer to find out what is happening.

Check the Exhaust Venting

Dryer Clogged Exhaust Vent
Dryer Clogged Exhaust Vent

Another area where the lint builds up is the exhaust vent. A dryer does not get the cloths so hot that it dries the clothes. It condenses the moisture in the clothing and then exhausts it out of the dryer.

The exhaust vent is an area of the dryer that is often unintentionally neglected by homeowners. To examine the exhaust venting you will need to cut power to the dryer. If the exhaust venting is kinked, crushed or too long, it will make it difficult for the hot condensed air to escape the dryer. 

A clogged exhaust vent can make it impossible to properly dry the clothing

We recommend cleaning out the dryer exhaust venting yearly to improve the efficiency and longevity of your dryer. A clogged dryer vent hose is a fire hazard, do not neglect this area of the dryer!

Not only do you need to clean the dryer vent often, but you need to take a good look at the dryer vent hose.

Removing the hose from the dryer and wall allows you to properly remove the excess debris that has accumulated within it for months or years. When a dryer vent is blocked, it will continue to just stay how without letting the moisture properly escape.

It is common to see large clouds of vapor coming from dryer hoses in the winter months, a sign that your dryer is working effectively. If you aren’t seeing these clouds of smoke, it shows you there is a concern with the dryer vent’s ability to dry the clothing. It is harder to see these clouds of vapor in the summertime when the air is hotter and carries more moisture.

How to Clean a Dryer Vent

The lint trap is normally the first place to begin when you are cleaning a dryer vent.

The dryer vent needs to be removed and cleaned before you re-insert it and allow it to pull out the rest of the lint from the clothing. If you have a full lint trap, try to clean it at least once a week to allow for proper air flow.

Turn on your dryer and go outside to the dryer exhaust vent. Place your hand in front of the vent and feel for hot air being exhausted. If you do not feel a lot of hot air, or you do not get air-flow at all, you have a clogged dryer vent.

The best thing to do now is to remove the dryer hose and clean it. Clean all lint you can see inside the dryer lint trap exit into the exhaust tube. Quite often the tube will have a lot of debris inside including food, small toys, pebbles, and more.

Clean Exhaust Vents Often

It is important to clean the exhaust tube often as the excess debris has been known to attract small rodents and insects.

Clean any visible lint from the dryer exhaust on the exterior of your home. If there is lint showing from this area, there is a good chance your dryer hose has excess lint inside that could alter the dryer’s ability to properly dry your clothing.

Use a shop vacuum to clean out any excess lint you can see inside the hose. A metal hanger is a great tool that helps to remove excess debris as well. There are cleaning kits you can purchase that will be able to remove excess debris and lint inside.

The Drum is not Turning

Another reason for a dryer not drying could be the dryer drum not turning. If it does not spin the clothing it makes it impossible to dry.

The drum belt is a thin belt that wraps around the dryer drum. The belt can break over years of use. To determine if the belt is broken, you can to reach into the dryer and try to spin the drum. If the dryer spins easily, it is likely to have a broken belt. Belts are an uncommon part to fail in today’s dryers. Most of the time a belt breaks it is due to another failed part.

Worn Support Rollers

Worn support rollers are a common problem with a dryer. The rollers need to spin properly to allow for proper air flow. When the drum rollers are worn out, the dryer will not be able to spin correctly and will squeal and screech.

When your dryer is making loud noises, it needs service. Don’t neglect your dryer when it starts to squeal and screech or it may cost more to repair once finally serviced. When replacing the rollers replace all rollers at once and consider replacing the idler roller.

Dryer Glides Reduce Friction

Glides are used to reduce friction from the drum turning. Glides can be made of felt or hard plastic. Both wear out with normal use. Most prematurely fail due to overloading.

Using the dryer to design capacity will improve performance and extend the life of the parts in the dryer. If you have zippers and buttons disappearing you may have failing glides. Glides can cause substantial damage if not serviced when the dryer starts to get noisy.

Allowing a glide to completely wear through can damage bulkheads, drums, and put additional stress and wear on support rollers. Maintaining a properly tumbling drum will extend the life and increase the performance of the product.

Has My Dryer Motor Failed?

How do you know if the dryer is dealing with more than just a simple repair? A dryer motor may have failed when you have issues with the dryer staling mid-cycle or taking longer and longer to start.

The thermally protected motor will stop turning the drum when it overheats. Once cooled the motor will again operate. Premature motor failure can be attributed to excess lint and oversized loads.

Broken Thermal Fuse or Thermostat

A thermal fuse is a small part of the dryer, but it plays a large role in helping the dryer operate properly. The thermal fuse is designed to cut power to the dryer motor and or element if the exhaust temperature exceeds a factory determined temperature.

Once shorted a thermal fuse is usually not resettable. In this situation, it is important to find what caused the failure. It could be a restriction in the exhaust venting, shorted element or sticking relay. A professional will aid in troubleshooting the root failure.

Broken Heating Element

The dryer draws air in through the blower wheel and the air flows past the heating element, heating it and pushing the air through the drum to the lint filter before it goes through the exhaust venting and outside.

If airflow is not circulating properly, it can cause drying times to increase. Continual use under these circumstances can dramatically shorten the life of the element. Not all heating issues are related to the element.

Heating elements are usually 240 volts and can be dangerous when energized. Use caution and don’t exceed your understanding. Many dryer repairs require testing components live which can be dangerous when performed improperly or with inadequate tools.

Call in the Appliance Repair Pros!

If you want to clean out the dryer vent properly, fixed a belt, or troubleshoot your dryer not getting hot,  call iFiX Appliance Repair. We provide dryer vent cleaning services and can troubleshoot your dryer for additional concerns such as the dryer drum not spinning.

We can replace broken dryer vent covers, tubing and connection and identify other areas of concerns that need to be addressed.

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If this article helped you, please share it. We also have other articles that you might enjoy on our blog such as:
Why does my front load washing machine smell bad? and What causes white residue on dishes from the dishwasher?



7 Responses

  1. I never realized that it is impossible for clothes to get dry if the drum does not move in a dryer. A couple of days ago, I was trying to clean some of my clothes but they still were wet after several hours of being in the machine. It seems like it would be a good idea for me to hire a professional technician to come and inspect my machine.

    1. Ensure that the lint screen is cleared each load. Also, a good scrubbing with mild dish detergent such as Palmolive to remove any buildup will increase airflow. Also, make sure the venting to the outside is clear and the louvres are opening and closing properly. Essentially, it happens due to reduced airflow.

  2. My dryer runs but has no heat. I tore it all apart and everything is clean and I checked everything with my ohms meter. I started it and it started to heat up and about 5 min later no heat but the drum stays running. I found no short in the element. Is it possible to have a weak thermal fuse or something else going on?

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