7 Reasons Your Kenmore Dryer Is Not Heating

Register Appliance
July 8, 2024
Dryer Repair

A dryer isn’t much use if it doesn’t heat up. The sole purpose of a dryer is to dry clothes quickly, which simply isn’t possible if your dryer won’t heat. If your Kenmore dryer has this problem, you’ll want to figure out what’s causing it as quickly as possible.

To help you with this, we’ve created this guide to the seven most likely reasons your Kenmore dryer is not heating. We also offer some tips along the way on how to get it fixed.

1. Dryer not receiving 240 volts

Electric Kenmore dryers need 240 volts to heat properly. However, if you only have 120 volts coming in, your dryer might turn on and run, but it won’t heat.

Therefore, you’ll want to check the circuit breaker first. For dryers, it’s usually a double-pole breaker or two single 30-amp breakers. If it has partially tripped, your dryer may only be receiving 120 volts. Either way, it’s a good idea to reset the dryer’s breaker by switching it off, waiting a few seconds, then switching it back on again.

After resetting, you should test the power outlet your dryer plugs into with a multimeter. Set the multimeter to volts AC, and then test each side of the outlet to check that it reads 120 volts and 240 volts combined. You can do this by placing the two multimeter probes into the outlet’s terminals.

First, place one probe in one hot terminal and one in the neutral terminal. Then, place one probe in the other hot terminal and the other probe in the neutral terminal. Finally, place the probes in the two hot terminals.

2. Burned-out heating element

The heating element is the main component that generates the heat to dry your clothes.It’s an obvious suspect to check if your dryer is not heating.

To access and test it, first disconnect the power to the appliance for safety, then remove the screws beneath the lint trap and then remove the top and front panels of your dryer. You can typically find the heating element located in the back cabinet of a Kenmore dryer.

Once you locate the heating element, you’ll want to disconnect any wires connected to it and then test it for continuity using a multimeter. To do so, set your multimeter to ohms (Ω) and then press the multimeter’s probes against the heating element’s terminals.

The reading on the multimeter should be 10-20 ohms. If the reading is above 50 ohms or OL (open circuit), the heating element will need replacing.

3. Blown thermal fuse

If the thermal fuse on your Kenmore dryer has blown, it’s most likely that the appliance won’t run at all rather than just not heat. However, there is a chance it could be the cause of the problem since the job of the thermal fuse is to cut off the heat when the dryer’s temperature gets dangerously high.

To see if the thermal fuse has blown, disassemble your machine by removing the top and front panels, and then test the fuse with a multimeter for continuity. Remember to unplug the appliance first. You can usually find the thermal fuse on the blower housing or the exhaust duct.

Remove the wires connected to the thermal fuse, set your multimeter to continuity mode, and press the multimeter’s probes against the fuse’s terminals. If you hear a continuous beep, the thermal fuse is ok. If not, you’ll need to replace it.

4. Tripped thermal cutoff

Unlike the thermal fuse, if the thermal cutoff trips, your Kenmore dryer will likely still run but won’t heat. The thermal cutoff is a safety device that stops your dryer from overheating. Once tripped, a thermal cutoff will need replacing—it cannot be reset.

The thermal cutoff is typically located near the heating element on electric models and the air inlet duct on gas models. You can access it by unplugging your appliance and removing the top and front panels of your dryer. Disconnect the wires from the thermal cutoff and test it for continuity with a multimeter set to continuity mode.

If the multimeter beeps, it has continuity and is ok. If it doesn’t beep, it will need replacing.

5. Faulty high-limit thermostat

Unlike the thermal fuse and thermal cutoff, the high-limit thermostat automatically resets after it trips. This safety device monitors the temperature inside the dryer near the heat source. While it can reset on its own, if it is faulty, your dryer won’t heat.

To test it, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the power to your dryer.
  2. Remove the screws beneath the lint trap, and then the dryer’s top and front panels.
  3. Locate the high-limit thermostat near the heating element and disconnect its wires.
  4. Test it for continuity using a multimeter set to continuity mode.
  5. If the reading shows no continuity or infinite resistance, the high-limit thermostat is faulty and needs replacing.

6. Faulty cycling thermostat

The cycling thermostat regulates the temperature in the dryer by cycling the heat on and off. It’s typically located at the back of gas and electric Kenmore dryers, behind the back panel. If it’s faulty, the dryer won’t heat but may still run.

To check if it’s faulty, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the dryer.
  2. Remove the back panel on your dryer.
  3. Locate the cycling thermostat behind the back panel and disconnect its wires.
  4. Test it with a multimeter set to continuity mode.

If you don’t hear a continuous beep, it will need replacing.

7. Faulty ignition system

If your Kenmore dryer is a gas model, there might be an issue with the ignition system causing the dryer not to heat, yet it still runs. The ignition system ignites the gas to create the flame and heat that dries your clothes.

There are several different components that make up the ignition system, including the igniter, gas valves, flame sensor, and solenoid coils. Here’s how to check them:

  1. Unplug the dryer.
  2. Remove the front or back panel to access the ignition system.
  3. Inspect the igniter, gas valves, flame sensor, and solenoid coils for signs of damage.
  4. Disconnect the wires and test each component one by one using a multimeter set to ohms.
  5. Replace any damaged components or those that don’t have continuity.
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