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What is a Whirlpool Dryer Moisture Sensor and How Does it Work?

dryer not drying clothes

If your Whirlpool dryer has been over or under drying clothes, a dirty dryer moisture sensor may be at fault. How do moisture sensors in a dryer work? They monitor the dampness in clothing, turning off the dryer once the desired dryness level is reached. Learn more about a Whirlpool dryer moisture sensor and how to test and clean it for better drying.

Improve Performance With Whirlpool Dryer Moisture Sensor Maintenance

A dryer moisture sensor ensures that your dryer dries clothes properly, reducing energy usage and utility bills. But, over time, dirt and residue can hamper its function, leaving clothes overdried or still damp. We’ll discuss how cleaning a Whirlpool dryer moisture sensor can solve drying problems but, first, here’s how this important component works.

What is a Dryer Moisture Sensor?

A Whirlpool dryer moisture sensor monitors the dampness of clothing while the dryer is operating. If clothes are dried before the timed cycle is set to end, it signals the dryer to turn off. Similarly, if clothes are still damp at the cycle’s end, the dryer will continue operating until the sensor no longer detects any moisture.

Modern Whirlpool dryers utilize conductive moisture sensors, consisting of two metal bars on a mounted plate that detect a load’s conductivity. Water conducts electricity well, so damp clothes create a small electrical spark that the sensors detect, signaling the dryer to continue. Once clothes are dry and free of moisture, they produce no conductivity or spark and the sensors signal the dryer to stop.

Whirlpool dryer moisture sensor
Image Credit: Whirlpool

How to Test a Whirlpool Dryer Moisture Sensor

When functioning properly, dryer moisture sensors can maximize dryer efficiency, keeping drying times to a minimum and saving energy. However, over time, dirt, lint, and dryer sheet residue can coat the sensors, leaving them less able to detect conductivity. When this happens, you may find your dryer takes too long, leaves clothes damp, or clothes are dried for too long, resulting in damage or shrinkage.

If you find your dryer not drying clothes to your liking, you can perform a dryer moisture sensor test to make sure it’s functioning properly. The test measures whether the sensor can detect when clothes are dry or still wet.

Here’s how to test a Whirlpool dryer moisture sensor:

  • Make sure the dryer is on the “auto-dry” setting.
  • Place several dry articles of clothing in the dryer and start a drying cycle.
  • The dryer should operate for just a few minutes before turning off.
  • Remove the dry clothing and place several damp items in the dryer before starting another drying cycle.
  • The dryer should continue to operate until the clothes are dry.

If the dryer stops before the wet clothes are dry or continues running with the dry items, the moisture sensor isn’t functioning properly.

Where is moisture sensor on Whirlpool dryer
Image Credit: Whirlpool

Steps to Clean a Whirlpool Dryer Moisture Sensor

Cleaning the moisture sensor removes residue, dirt, and lint and can restore its function and proper drying times.

These steps detail how to clean a Whirlpool dryer moisture sensor:

  • Locate: Where is moisture sensor on Whirlpool dryer? Refer to your user manual to confirm its location. On most newer dryers, the sensor is near the lint trap. The sensor on older dryers may be located on the rear wall. 
  • Clean: Rub the moisture sensor bars with fine sandpaper to remove dirt and residue.
  • Polish: Use a dry rag to remove any lingering dirt and make the sensor bars shine. 

Is your Whirlpool dryer moisture sensor still not working properly after cleaning? It may have malfunctioned, or other issues are affecting your dryer’s performance. For the very best in Whirlpool dryer repair Manchester, schedule an assessment with an Action Appliance Repair technician.

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