How Does an Electric Dryer Work? — Appliance Repair Tips



not all dryers look the same but all of them operate in the same manner through a combination of three main factors airflow heat and drum rotation in this video we will address how these three factors work together as well as potential problems you may encounter when operating the dryer uses a blower wheel to draw air in from the front or rear of the appliance the air is heated and circulates through the clothes as the drum rotates the hotter the air the more effective it is at removing moisture from the clothes you can expect an average load of clothes to take about 60 minutes to dry for electric dryers the air is heated by a heating element and air flow is vital to its proper operation to ensure your dryer has sufficient air to operate it should be located in an open well-ventilated area and not in a cramped closet or laundry room for proper airflow the rear of the appliance should be kept several inches away from the wall if the airflow is poor the heat from the element will not be pulled through the heater housing properly this can cause the high-limit thermostat to heat up and switch off the voltage to the heating element the thermostat will reset after it cools and the process will repeat however the dryer will take too long to dry because the heat is continually being shut off and the thermostat itself can become damaged some models may have a thermal fuse on the blower housing and a thermal cutoff fuse on the heater housing either of these fuses can fail due to poor air flow if this happens the dryer will not heat or it may not run at all until the fuse has been replaced if functioning properly the heated air is pulled evenly through the tumbling clothes and then through a lint screen to maintain proper air flow it's important to clean the lint screen after each load the last stage of airflow is the exhaust stage the heated air that has removed the moisture from the clothes must be vented to the outside of the home an exhaust vent is used for this purpose there are two types of venting material that can be used each has a different length limit the best type to use is rigid venting which is usually efficient up to 40 feet in length however be aware that any bend in the venting impedes air flow and reduces the length limit for efficient operation for example each 90 degree Bend subtracts 8 feet from that 40 foot limit the other type of venting you can use is semi rigid this type of material is usually efficient up to 20 feet in length again any bend will impede air flow a 90 degree bend will subtract 8 feet from the allowable 20 foot total use only rigid or semi rigid venting any other material may increase the risk of fire as the lint in the vent could ignite during normal operation since an exhaust vent clogged with lint is the most common cause of restricted air flow we recommend cleaning out the vent at least once a year as we mentioned earlier the air inside the dryer is heated by the heating element this element is activated when it receives 240 volts of alternating current through two legs of voltage each carrying 120 volts the timer heat selector and start switch on the dryer control panel allow the first leg of voltage to carry the current to the motor and through the cycling thermostat high limit thermostat and thermal cutoff fuse on its way to the heating element the second leg of voltage carries the current through a switch on the motor which closes when the motor is running the current is then sent to the opposite side of the heating element once both legs of voltage reach the heating element the circuit is closed and the element begins to heat the air to maintain the proper air temperature the heat in the blower housing is monitored by the cycling thermostat during normal operation the air temperature is usually between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit when the air reaches the proper temperature for your dryer the cycling thermostat will switch off the voltage to the heating element the high limit thermostat and thermal cutoff fuse also monitor the temperature of the element and it's housing again if there is an airflow problem the high limit thermostat may switch off the first leg of voltage to prevent damage to the dryer eventually if the airflow problem is not corrected the thermal cutoff fuse on the heater housing may fail and the dryer will not heat or the thermal fuse on the blower housing may fail and the dryer will not run or heat the heating components that most commonly fail are the thermal fuse the thermal cutoff fuse the high limit thermostat and the heating element itself if the dryer does not heat or heats inadequately all of these components can and should be tested individually to determine if one of them has stopped functioning keep in mind that only the first leg of voltage runs the drive motor therefore if the second leg of voltage is lost due to a blown house fuse or a tripped breaker the dryer will still run even though the air is no longer being heated if you suspect your electrical outlet is not providing sufficient voltage you can test the outlet using a voltage meter set two volts AC be aware that readings can vary between 210 and 240 volts as the blower wheel draws the air into the dryer and the heating element heats it the drum is rotated by a drive belt the belt goes around the entire drum and is looped down to a drive pulley on the motor which drives the belt and around an idler pulley which puts tension on the belt the drum has baffles inside to lift and rotate the clothes which is an important step in the process as it allows the heated air to dry the clothes evenly the drum is supported by glides or rollers in the front and rollers or bearing in the rear depending on the model over time the drum supports will wear out and the dryer may become noisy during use if the drum is overloaded or if a support roller glide bearing or pulley fails the belt may begin to slip it can also fray and eventually break when the belt breaks you may hear the motor running but the drum will not rotate on some models a broken belt will activate a switch that prevents the motor from running air flow heat and drum rotation are all necessary for efficient dryer operation and as you can see all three are interrelated if you're experiencing a problem with your dryer repair clinic has a solution enter the appliances full model number in our website search engine for a complete list of compatible parts our site also has an extensive selection of instructional videos to assist you covering topics like part testing disassembly and part replacement at repair clinic we make fixing things easy

39 Comments

  • Handyman Brian

    April 15, 2019

    im going to remove the cheap dial timer on my GE electric dryer, and use relays and a 120v digital timer switch to control. i was trying to figure out if there is a delay from heating element and motor turn-on times

    Reply
  • Rico

    April 15, 2019

    In my country even the millionaires with $100M+ net worth still hang their clothes in the sun

    Reply
  • shelia12047

    April 15, 2019

    This is the best explanation of dryer functioning and possible problems. I've seen. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  • Jeremiah Vintayen

    April 15, 2019

    How do I know if my dryer is gas or electric?

    Reply
  • Animation Epic

    April 15, 2019

    I draw you a heated because I think and I hate it because the post is clogged

    Reply
  • Denell L. Bennett Survivor/Warrior

    April 15, 2019

    Great Video! Thanks! <3

    Reply
  • Bob herry

    April 15, 2019

    Please make more How does an … work videos!!!

    Reply
  • Seth Horst

    April 15, 2019

    How does the giant industrial ones work?

    Reply
  • Christian Boral

    April 15, 2019

    Forever i will keep watching this video for ever YAY

    Reply
  • RedDestroyer Gaming

    April 15, 2019

    How can the lint get in the ventings

    Reply
  • Josh j_b22

    April 15, 2019

    man just get to the fucking point!

    Reply
  • TechRickyRoss

    April 15, 2019

    my dryer Is a Frigidaire affinity FARE4044MW0 And the belt can sometimes slips

    Reply
  • helen recollet

    April 15, 2019

    dryer runs and heat is good . but machine keeps saying to clean the lint tray , and is clean . but keeps repeating to clean the lint tray . where else is the lint tray .on a maytag , bravo .

    Reply
  • Mary Stout

    April 15, 2019

    The dryer powers up but when I try to set the cycle it does not start

    Reply
  • Everything Channel

    April 15, 2019

    Isn't that an ironing board plug?

    Reply
  • juan sanchez

    April 15, 2019

    what's the motor switch? I have a state electric dryer with only timer and push start button and it won't heat I use a multimeter test all the fuses for continuity and they all good this will be my second dryer that I have to scrap if I don't find out what's going on with these state dryers there has to be a solution

    Reply
  • jimmy foster

    April 15, 2019

    thank you repair clinic your videos helped me to fix 2dryers one the fuse was blown and the other one tested fine so I cleaned the vents out and it worked just fine after …..thank you repair clinic

    Reply
  • Ahmad Jamal

    April 15, 2019

    i have a GE dryer and it run just fine for about 15 min after that it shuts off by it self and i turn it on after 5min its works just for 3min and shutt off again please help 🙁

    Reply
  • Candace Kyte

    April 15, 2019

    whirlpool gas dryer.  airflow and venting is good.  Gas ignites and turns off properly as it cycles.  It just doesn't get very hot regardless of temperature setting.

    Reply
  • Erin Sellers

    April 15, 2019

    I have an Admiral dryer that heats but does not turn. No noise at all. Please help

    Reply
  • pacsatellite

    April 15, 2019

    usually the belt go wrong, people try to save money but double the workload of dryer, bad idea, divide heavy towel into batches!! (this will eliminate later repair)

    Reply
  • justin cobb

    April 15, 2019

    I have a GE electric dryer DWSR483 it heats and rotates just fine when I hit the start switch. But when I remove my hand from the switch it immediately shuts off. It won't stay on. Is it the start switch or a relay? I'm just not really sure what's going on. There are different answers all over the Internet.

    Reply
  • John Young

    April 15, 2019

    Maytag Dryer model # LDE 412  Series 02 ; it is leaving black marks -streaks on clothing,I have cleaned inside of the drum with no remedy.Any ideas please? ( I had seen a video showing to wipe the gasket at back of drum but this model looks like it is just a felt seal)

    Reply
  • FIXYZ123

    April 15, 2019

    Which software did you use for simulation of the dryer?

    Reply
  • Debbie Rawlinson

    April 15, 2019

    How do you repair the baffles it came off

    Reply
  • Isaac Nelson

    April 15, 2019

    My dryers timer is like that too!

    Reply
  • Ou8y2k2

    April 15, 2019

    Hello +RepairClinic.com  I have a Whirlpool Dryer LER5636EQ1. The dryer would spin, but wouldn't heat and then it would turn off. I replaced heating element thermal cut-off (thermal fuse) RepairClinic Item # 2651, and now it spins and heats up, but doesn't stop. The timer doesn't move from the start position. The thermal fuse has continuity as does the operating thermostat, heating element, and thermal cut-off kit. Could it be the timer or centrifugal switch on the motor?

    Also, are all high-limit thermostats and heating elements hooked up in series? I forgot to take a picture of my machine, but there are 4 connectors; two are aligned vertically and two are aligned horizontally. I connected the horizontal connectors to the heating element and the vertical connectors to the high-limit thermostat and the machine spins and heats up. Did I hook it up correctly? If not, could that have fried the Timer motor/assembly?

    Reply
  • Mike Davis

    April 15, 2019

    My mom Whirlpool dryer will get hot,but the drum wont rotate!I think its the belt!I took it apart and the belt isn't broken and has no tear sin it,but it has slack in it when I lift touched the belt around by the bottom by the pulley!Do you think its the belt?

    Reply
  • The thinking man

    April 15, 2019

    Taking a stab at fixing a friends dryer today. Wish me luck, not sure if it's even electric or gas at this point but I'm certain I'll be back to repairclinic.com multiple times today.

    Reply
  • benjamin privott

    April 15, 2019

    Hello, my GE dryer is not functioning properly.  When it gets turned off there is something still spinning for a few seconds. Do you have any suggestions and thanks!

    Reply
  • Ray

    April 15, 2019

    This is very educational. Direct and quick to the point. I didn't know how dryers work. Now I feel like an expert. 

    Reply
  • Pravin Narayan

    April 15, 2019

    This is a great video my 3 year old son showed me this video and watchs this video alot he tells me how to repair drys how.
    Thanks you.
    very educational.

    Reply
  • Karen Nosbisch

    April 15, 2019

    This is an easy to understand and very helpful video on understanding how electric dryers work. Thank you – well done.

    Reply
  • Fay Mills

    April 15, 2019

    we have a whirlpool dryer Model LEB6000PQ1 serial No. Ms5104240
    dryer is not drying.  We have replace the Thermal fuse and the cycling thermometer  still not drying.  What should I look for next.

    Reply
  • Dapper Bleach

    April 15, 2019

    dude i dont have these things but i love the cool facts thanks

    Reply
  • Levi Kleinschmidt

    April 15, 2019

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • RepairClinic.com

    April 15, 2019

    Awesome! Congrats!

    Reply
  • RepairClinic.com

    April 15, 2019

    Great! We're glad you found it helpful.

    Reply
  • Annie Creasy

    April 15, 2019

    This helped me get my dryer working again. Thanks so much.

    Reply

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