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What to Do if a Dryer Overheats and Shuts Off?

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Many homeowners are wondering whether a dryer can overheat and, if so, what to do when the appliance gets too hot.

In this post, we will take a closer look at the main reasons for the dryer getting too hot and examine ways to ensure it won’t happen. After reading through and following, you will be able to take the best care of your dryer. Keep in mind that you don’t need a replacement if your dryer is overheating — most issues can be fixed in minutes.

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Why Does a Dryer Overheat?

Why is a dryer overheating bad? When a dryer gets too hot, it can burn your hands, damage your laundry, or cause a fire. It can also damage the inner workings of the dryer as well causing short circuits or burns inside the control system. What causes a dryer to overheat? Here’s the rundown of the most common problems that result in a dryer overheating.

Reason #1. Dust and dirt getting into the air hole

If the air filter inside the dryer is dusty or dirty, it’s harder for the appliance to heat the air. As a result, the device uses more energy to create enough heat. After a short while of use, a dryer with a clogged filter will start overheating and shut off on its own. To make sure you are taking good care of the dryer, clean the appliance after every two or three uses.

Reason #2. Airflow restrictions

If the air gets stuck inside a dryer’s internal duct instead of coming out, you are more likely to get the dryer overheated. It’s worth checking the power of the airflow from the duct inside the dryer to make sure it’s not clogged or rusty. Since using an old air duct increases the risk of fire hazards, replace it to prolong the lifespan of the device and stay safe.

Reason #3. Heating element issues

When a device is new, the heating element responds well to temperature changes, increasing the output of warm air as you switch the temperature mode. However, as the device ages, the heating element can shift, suffer micro burns or circuit shortages. It can then heat too slowly or too quickly. A dryer commonly overheats because the heating elements have shifted and are now touching other parts of the appliance directly. Call a technician to adjust the position of the component. If the heating element is broken or damaged, you can replace it.

Reason #4. Cycling thermostat doesn’t activate

A cycling thermostat is a device’s way to protect itself from overheating. Once a dryer gets too hot, this component reacts to the increased temperature and shuts the appliance off automatically. However, if a cycling thermostat isn’t functioning, it may be the reason for a clothing dryer overheating and shuts off. To access, repair, or replace the thermostat, you will need to remove the back panel of the dryer. Once you have the full view of the component, do some testing using a multi-probe device. If the reading is ‘zero’, the thermostat works. If it’s infinity, you will have to replace it. The good news is, thermostats are relatively inexpensive — getting a new one is cheaper than replacing the dryer.

How to Prevent a Dryer from Overheating

The best way to prolong the lifespan of the appliance, ensure safe use, and avoid having to call a technician is by following good maintenance practices. Here are some tips you can use for troubleshooting when your dryer gets too hot and shuts off.

Tip #1. Control dryer settings

The rule of thumb is that the dryer temperature selector shouldn’t go above ‘medium’. Using high-mode heating increases the heat damage to your clothes, and may cause circuit burns and other mechanical issues. If you don’t have a high number of heating options, choose the temperature setting that doesn’t feel too hot when you put the palm of your hand next to the stream of air from the dryer.

Tip #2. Clean the drum of the dryer thoroughly

Depending on the frequency of use, you should clean your appliance every couple of uses, otherwise, you will see the dryer overheating and shutting off. Make sure the device is unplugged before you start cleaning. Don’t use anything wet — instead, choose dry cotton pads, a clean makeup sponge, or a sock. To clean the exterior of the device, make a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water.

Tip #3. Don’t overuse the dryer

Try to not use the dryer for more than 40-50 minutes at one time. Although the overall lifespan of some models can go up to 1,500, don’t let the number trick you. It’s easy to overheat the coil and damage the inner circuits of the system if you keep the dryer on for an extended period of time. Don’t use a dryer as a household heater either. Since it was not designed for the purpose, you could increase the risks of fire hazards. Keep a timer nearby to track how long the appliance is running.

Tip #4. Clean the lint screens

Lint screens are one of the dryer components ensuring the safety of usage. For one, they capture lint, grease, and dust ensuring nothing gets stuck inside the heating coil. Once a screen has stopped letting air through, an appliance can overheat. By keeping these screens clear, you improve the energy-efficiency of the appliance, protect your clothes from heat damage, and minimize fire risks. To clean the dryer lint protection screens, remove the protective cover with a snapping or twisting motion. If the protection screen is hardened by dust and dirt, moisten the Q-tip or a sponge, making sure no water is dripping from it. Rotate the Q-tip or sponge across each area of the screen to remove the dust and dirt.

Tip #5. Make sure the dryer cord doesn’t knot

One of the reasons dryers overheat is because the cord that connects the appliance to the outlet has become knotted. Take some time to untie the knots until the cord makes a perfectly straight line. Plug the dryer back in and evaluate its performance.

FIX Appliances CA — Professional Technicians For Fixing Dryers

If you are a Canadian homeowner who needs help in repairing any electric appliance (such a dryer running too hot) contact FIX Appliances CA for top-rated assistance. We are an experienced appliance maintenance and repair team, with TSSA certifications. Our goal is to help homeowners diagnose appliance issues and increase the life of their appliances. Here’s why FIX Appliances CA is a trusted repair and maintenance contractor among Canadian homeowners and businesses:

  • We do all types of repair. The FIX Appliances CA team has decades of experience in repairing, installing and maintaining all types of appliances — from kitchens to washing machines. We are licensed to fix, repair, and maintain both electric and gas appliances.
  • 5-star service. Our technicians are prompt and dependable, perform thorough inspections, and don’t charge extra for overtime work. That, coupled with a high level of expertise is the reason we are the unrivaled repair technician team in the country.
  • 24/7 communication. We always find time to respond to inquiries and follow-up questions. FIX Appliances CA has a dedicated customer support team ready to answer questions and offer assistance.
  • 90-day refund guarantee. We offer every homeowner high-quality, affordable repair services. That’s why your satisfaction is our priority. FIX Appliances CA technicians will provide a refund if an appliance we repaired or replaced failed in the 3-month window after the repair.

You can contact FIX Appliances CA technicians for repair from anywhere in Canada. The first service call is free — so don’t hesitate to reach out to professional technicians for consults and appliance inspection. We look forward to hearing from you and offering expert-level assistance. Leave a message or give us a call.


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