5 Reasons Why Your Dryer Won’t Dry Clothes

dryer not drying

Nothing can ruin a beautiful day faster than running a load in your dryer only to find a soggy pile of clothes an hour later. It only has one simple job to do, so if your dryer won’t dry your clothes, you need to figure out what the problem is fast.

Get expert dryer repair service tips in our guide to diagnosing a dryer not drying issue.

Why Your Dryer Won’t Dry

Dryers are some of the most reliable home appliances, but even they break down from time to time. Luckily, there are only a few different potential causes if your dryer won’t dry, or if your dryer takes multiple cycles to get the job done. One of these parts is most likely the culprit:

  • Lint Trap
  • Vent hose
  • Heating element
  • Thermostat
  • Gas igniter


#1 – Dirty Lint Trap

Most people clean their dryer’s lint trap occasionally, but it’s actually supposed to be cleaned after every use. The real problem comes from not cleaning it at all though.

If you have a dryer taking too long to dry or that won’t heat at all, make sure you clean the lint filter thoroughly. Airflow is necessary for your appliance to function properly, which brings us to…

#2 – Clogged Vent Hose

clogged vent hose

The most potentially dangerous reason that your dryer won’t dry is a clogged, bent, or pinched vent hose. Your dryer needs unrestricted airflow in order to heat and vent efficiently and safely.

To clean your vent hose:

Step 1. Unplug the dryer and move it away from the wall to locate the vent, which is usually at the back of the dryer. 

Step 2. Disconnect the dryer duct from the back of the dryer and vacuum out the vent hole with a hose attachment. 

Step 3. Go outside and disconnect the vent cover and vacuum the dryer vent. 

Step 4. Reconnect the ducts and vent covers, push the dryer back in place and plug it back in. 

Inspect your dryer’s vent hose regularly and clean out and debris as necessary. Severe lint buildup can lead to a devastating dryer fire, so be vigilant in your dryer maintenance routine. You can also hire our Connecticut dryer vent cleaning technicians for help.

#3 – Defective Heating Element

Electric dryers use an element to heat the air inside your dryer similar to the way a bake element heats and electric oven. They do tend to burn out over time though, especially if you don’t maintain your dryer properly.

Inspect your heating element by opening the dryer cabinet, disconnecting the part from the unit, and test it for continuity with a multimeter. Replace the element as needed.

Image from PicClick

#4 – Broken Thermostat

Much like your home, the temperature inside your dryer is regulated by thermostats. Luckily, dryer thermostats are much simpler, cheaper, and easier to replace than your home’s.

Overstuffing your dryer or failing to clean excess lint regularly can cause the thermostats to fail. Simply test each one for continuity with a multimeter to see if they need to be replaced.

#5 – Gas Igniter Malfunction

Unlike the heating elements used by electric models, gas dryers utilize an igniter to light the gas in the burner assembly. Their construction tends to make them quite fragile though, so check this part first to see if it’s failed.

Again, you’ll need to remove the part from the unit and test it with a multimeter for continuity. Be careful not to touch the actual igniter portion of the part when replacing it though as it can break easily.

Bonus: If your dryer drum won’t spin or tumble, your clothes will certainly take longer to dry. Troubleshoot a dryer drum not turning here.

Safety is always the best preventative measure, but some dryer repairs are too difficult for a novice to take on themselves. That’s why if you live in our area, your best choice is to call the professionals at Action Appliance Repair, the area’s most experienced dryer repair service.

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