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What to Do if a Dryer Overheats and Shuts Off?

Oleg Chudnovski, CEO

Technically Reviewed by Oleg Chudnovski, CEO on Apr 08, 2024 | Written by Olga Larina

Authorized repair service for most home appliance manufactures

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

You must take immediate action if your dryer is overheating and shutting off. Prior to beginning any action, let the dryer cool down entirely. Check the vent and lint trap afterward for any possible obstructions. Make sure the dryer has enough airflow, and make sure there are no twists or obstructions in the exhaust tube. It is essential to get assistance from a professional technician for additional diagnostic and repair if the issue continues after making these efforts.

In this post, we will 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. 

Why Does a Dryer Overheat?

Why is a dryer overheating badly? 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, causing short circuits or burns inside the control system. What causes a dryer to overheat? Here’s the rundown of the most common problems resulting from 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 will likely get the dryer overheated. It’s worth checking the power of the airflow from the duct inside the dryer to ensure it’s not clogged or rusty. Since using an old air duct increases the risk of fire hazards, replace it to prolong the device’s lifespan and stay safe.

Reason #3. Heating element issues

When an appliance is brand new, the heating element typically responds effectively to changes in temperature, adjusting the warm air output accordingly when you switch temperature modes. However, as the appliance ages, the heating element may shift and develop minor burns or circuit malfunctions. This can lead to inconsistent heating, causing the dryer to either heat too slowly or too quickly. Over time, a common issue arises where the heating elements in the dryer shift position and come into direct contact with other parts of the appliance, resulting in overheating. It’s advisable to contact a technician to readjust the positioning of the component. If the heating element is irreparably damaged, it may need to be replaced.

Reason #4. The cycling thermostat doesn’t activate

A cycling thermostat serves as a safety measure to prevent the appliance from overheating. When a dryer reaches excessive temperatures, this component reacts by automatically shutting off the appliance. However, if the cycling thermostat fails to function properly, it could be the reason why a dryer is overheating and shutting off unexpectedly. To access, repair, or replace the thermostat, you’ll need to remove the back panel of the dryer. Once you have clear access to the component, conduct some tests using a multi-probe device. If the reading shows ‘zero’, the thermostat is functional. However, if it shows ‘infinity’, it indicates the need for replacement. Fortunately, thermostats are relatively inexpensive, making it a more affordable option than replacing the entire dryer.

WHAT TO DO IF A DRYER OVERHEATS AND SHUTS OFF?

How to Prevent a Dryer from Overheating

The best way to prolong the appliance’s lifespan, ensure safe use, and avoid calling 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 many 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. Instead, don’t use anything wet; instead, choose dry cotton pads, a clean makeup sponge, or a sock. To clean the device’s exterior, mix equal parts vinegar and warm water.

Tip #3. Don’t overuse the dryer

Try not to 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. 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 appliance’s energy efficiency, 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 screen area to remove the dust and dirt.

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

One reason dryers overheat is that 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

Contact FIX Appliances CA for top-rated assistance. We are an experienced appliance maintenance and repair team with TSSA gas certifications. Our goal is to help homeowners diagnose dryer 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 repairs: The FIX Appliances CA team has decades of experience 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 overtime work. That, coupled with a high level of expertise, is why we are the unrivalled repair technician team in the country.
  • Same-day service: And for many manufacturers, for example, to improve the quality of service, we have same-day service availability. For example, this time, we can schedule a selection of appliances from Samsung or LG appliance repair on the same day. Check this option with our dispatchers before noon on the same day. Jobs will be booked on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Business hours: Our customer service representatives operate from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including weekends & holidays. 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.
  • Complete warranty: 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 fails in the 3-month window after the repair.

You can contact FIX Appliances CA technicians for home appliance service from anywhere in Canada. The first service call is free — so don’t hesitate to contact professional technicians for consults and appliance inspection. We look forward to hearing from you and offering expert-level assistance. Please leave a message or give us a call at toll-free number 1-888-242-0777.

Date of page creation: April 29, 2020

Page update date: April 08, 2024

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What Our Customers Say About Us

Discover how Fix Appliances maintains a 5-star service record since day one.

"Our dryer stopped working. The tech not only was able to fix it, he explained to me exactly what to do if it happens again and how to run the self diagnostics. A ton of information, a fixed dryer, and friendly help at a reasonable price."

rating John Marshall, Mississauga
John Marshall, Mississauga
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April 02, 2024

"The repair staff at Fix Appliances CA are always professional and on time. During COVID they are wearing masks and gloves. Sasha just fixed our dryer and he went above and beyond while we waited for the part to come in. I would rather repair appliances than replace and now our dryer is operating great."

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FAQ: Top Frequently Asked Questions

When a dryer overheats, it can lead to burns, damage to laundry, potential fire hazards, and harm to the appliance's inner workings, including short circuits. It's crucial to understand the causes and consequences of dryer overheating.
Common causes of dryer overheating include dust and dirt clogging the air filter, airflow restrictions in the internal duct, issues with the heating element, and malfunctioning cycling thermostats. Identifying these reasons is essential to prevent overheating.
To prevent your dryer from overheating, you can follow these maintenance tips: Control dryer settings to avoid high temperatures, regularly clean the dryer's interior, avoid overusing the dryer, clean lint screens, and ensure the dryer cord is not knotted. These practices can help maintain the appliance's lifespan and safety.
FIX Appliances CA offers professional repair and maintenance services by experienced technicians with TSSA gas certifications. We have a reputation for prompt, dependable, and high-quality service, providing a 90-day refund guarantee for our repairs.
You can contact FIX Appliances CA for appliance service by calling our toll-free number, 1-888-242-0777. Our customer service representatives are available from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. We offer same-day service for certain manufacturers and are committed to providing expert-level assistance to homeowners across Canada.

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