Hot Dryer Not Drying Effectively? Get Tips To Pinpoint And Resolve The Issue Fast

Having a dryer that gets hot but leaves your clothes damp can be endlessly frustrating. You throw your wet clothes in expecting nice, dry fabric at the end of the cycle. But when you pull them out, they’re still clammy and wet, almost like they just came out of the washer!

This problem typically signals an underlying issue with your dryer that needs to be addressed. Don’t worry – in most cases, it’s easily fixable with some simple troubleshooting and repairs.

Check the Dryer’s Heating Element

The heating element is the part responsible for generating the hot air that dries your clothes in an electric dryer. It’s essentially a long coil that heats up when activated during the dryer cycle. If the heating element is malfunctioning and not getting hot enough, this can lead to a dryer that seems warm but doesn’t fully dry the clothes.

Here’s how to inspect the heating element:

  • Unplug the dryer and remove the back panel to access the heating element.
  • Check the coils for any visible damage like cracks, burn marks, or breakage. The coils should be intact and free of major defects.
  • If the heating element appears physically fine, use a multimeter to check if it’s heating properly. Set the multimeter to the ohms setting and touch the probes to each end of the heating element coil. A good coil will have a reading of between 5-15 ohms. A reading of infinity means it’s broken and needs replacement.

If testing confirms the heating element is faulty, replacing it should restore your dryer’s ability to heat up sufficiently and dry clothes. Heating elements are often reasonably priced and straightforward to swap in yourself with some DIY skills.

dryer gets hot but doesn't dry

Clean Out Lint Accumulation

Lint buildup is another prime suspect for dryers getting hot with poor drying power. All the little lint and fibers shed off your clothes during the tumbling process can accumulate surprisingly fast. When lint clogs up the filter, vent, and internal ducts, it severely limits airflow.

Here are some tips to combat lint buildup:

  • Clean the lint filter after EVERY load. Don’t let lint accumulate here.
  • Use a lint brush or sticky roller to remove lingering lint from the filter, ducts, and other internal areas.
  • Vacuum the full length of the external vent duct periodically to remove major lint clogs.

With lint cleared away, strong airflow should be restored for much more effective clothes drying.

Examine the Dryer’s Vent System

Speaking of airflow – the vent system itself can also cause drying problems if it’s restricted. The venting is what allows hot, moist air to exit the dryer while pulling fresh air back in for circulation. If airflow is blocked, hot air can’t escape efficiently to dry your clothes.

Warning signs of vent blockages include:

  • Taking multiple cycles to get clothes dry
  • Clothes are hot but still damp after a cycle
  • The exterior vent hood is clogged with lint
  • The dryer area feels hot and humid

Use a vacuum hose to clean out the full vent system from the dryer housing all the way to the external vent. Straighten out any kinked sections too. Proper venting is key for a dryer to work effectively!

Diagnose Moisture Sensor Failure

Many dryers also rely on small moisture sensor bars to detect when the clothes are dry. The sensors signal the machine to shut off when they no longer detect significant moisture in the tumbling clothes. If these sensors malfunction, they can fail to stop the cycle when clothes are actually dry.

Signs of faulty moisture sensors include clothes feeling hot and dry at cycle end but still seeming a bit damp. To test sensor accuracy:

  • Finish a load then immediately check if clothes feel dry.
  • Use a multimeter on the ohms setting to check the sensor bars. Little to no resistance means they’re still detecting moisture.
  • Replace sensors that give inaccurate readings. DIY replacement is straightforward.

With working sensors, your dryer will properly shut off when clothes are dry instead of overdrying.

Inspect the Dryer’s Thermostats

Electric dryers rely on thermostats and thermofuses to regulate the air temperature. If they fail, the dryer may not heat evenly or sufficiently to dry clothes. Defective thermostats can also cause the dryer to run hot then cold repeatedly.

Here’s how to test thermostats:

  • With a multimeter on ohms setting, check thermostat continuity. Little to no resistance means it’s closed and working.
  • If thermostats show open circuits and high resistance, they should be replaced. There are often multiple installed.
  • Also check thermofuses using resistance readings. Replace blown fuses.

Properly functioning thermostats and fuses keep the air temperature hot enough to activate the moisture sensors and sufficiently dry the clothes.

Check Dryer’s Gas Valve (Gas Models)

For gas dryers, an improperly operating gas valve can prevent the machine from heating up enough to dry clothes even though the drum is hot.

To diagnose the gas valve:

  • Use a multimeter to check the valve solenoids for proper electric resistance readings. Consult the appliance manual for specifics.
  • If readings are off, adjust valve components. Tighten or replace connectors as needed.
  • Make sure valve openings are clear of obstructions, and the gas line is free of kinks.
  • Replace faulty gas valves that are worn out or can’t be adjusted properly.

With the gas valve operating normally, gas dryers should ignite and provide consistent heat for drying.

Ensure Proper Airflow in Dryer Drum

For clothes to dry effectively, air needs proper circulation within the tumbling drum itself. If airflow is blocked inside the drum, the heating element can’t properly dry the fabric. Causes include:

  • Overstuffing the drum with too many or bulky items. Leave room for air to circulate.
  • Blockages like coins, pins, etc. falling down into the drum baffles.
  • Clogged lint trap or vent tubes inside the dryer.
  • Damaged or worn out drum seals and baffles.

Carefully clean out the drum interior, align or replace damaged internal parts, and avoid overloading. This allows air to flow freely and contact all areas of the tumbling clothes.

Adjust Dryer Settings and Options

Before assuming something is broken, also double check you have appropriate dryer settings selected:

  • Select high heat setting for heavy items and cottons.
  • Make sure full timed cycle is chosen, not quick dry options.
  • Only use sensor dry options if the sensors are confirmed functional.
  • Activate drying booster options for very wet loads.
  • Clean the lint filter halfway through big loads.

Optimized settings give your dryer the best chance to work effectively even with demanding loads. The owner’s manual provides recommended settings.

When to Call an Appliance Repair Technician

While many dryer issues can be DIY repaired, professional appliance technicians have specialized tools and expertise to accurately diagnose tricky problems. They can pinpoint electrical, mechanical and gas-related faults. Consider calling a pro for:

  • Continued issues after trying all standard troubleshooting.
  • Signs of more complex electrical problems.
  • Gas dryer ignition troubleshooting and repairs.
  • Assistance accessing parts of the machine.
  • Confusion over proper part replacement.

Technicians routinely deal with dryers not drying properly even when hot. They can methodically isolate the true root cause and get your dryer working optimally again.

Don’t settle for a dryer that gets hot but leaves your clothes damp! Take the initiative to track down the source of the problem. Inspect the heating element, venting, sensors, thermostats and other key components. Clear away lint buildup and ensure unobstructed airflow. Adjust settings as needed. With some diligent troubleshooting and repairs, you can get your dryer heating and drying effectively again.

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