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Gas Dryer Troubleshooting & Repair

What Is Wrong With Your Gas Dryer?

Gas dryers aren't very complicated. Here are some common symptoms you may experience with your dryer.

It doesn't work at all
There's no heat
It won't tumble
Drying is too slow
It overheats
It seems to run forever
It's noisy
It won't start
The light doesn't work
My clothes smell bad!
My clothes are marked or torn
Learn more about dryers
Dryer Parts
Note: If your repair problem isn't listed, click here to email or chat with a repair expert.

It doesn't work at all

If your dryer doesn't work it all, check these:

Power from the house
Door switch
Timer
Thermal fuse

Power from the house

Check to see whether there's power getting to the dryer. Is it plugged in? If you plug something else into the outlet, does it work? If not, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.

Door switch

If the door switch or the door-switch actuator is defective, the dryer won't work and you need to replace the failed component. The switch is inside the dryer main housing near the door frame. Sometimes you need to raise or open the top or front of the dryer to reach the switch.

Timer

If there are open contacts in the timer, it won't operate.

Thermal fuse

On many dryers, there's a thermal fuse (a heat-sensitive fuse that blows if the dryer overheats) mounted to the exhaust duct inside the back cover panel. The fuse is about an inch long. It's usually embedded in black resin and mounted in a white plastic housing.

If the fuse has blown, it has no continuity. When this happens, your dryer either just stops heating, or it doesn't work at all. Be sure to inspect the venting/heating system before replacing the fuse to put the dryer back into operation. (You can't re-set this type of fuse.)

No heat

If your dryer doesn't heat, check these:

Igniter
Gas valve coils
Thermal fuse

Igniter

Modern gas dryers use an electric igniter to ignite the gas from the gas valve. When it's working properly, the igniter glows bright orange. When it burns out, the dryer tumbles but there's no heat because the gas can't ignite. When the igniter burns out, you need to replace it. If the igniter is held by a tension bracket, you very well may need to replace the bracket too.

The igniter is inside the dryer housing, near the bottom front, usually in a cone-shaped metal tube (the force cone). It's about 2 inches long. It's mounted to the far end of the burner tube, and it has two wires attached to it--or to the tension bracket, if there is one.

Gas valve coils

Watch the igniter. Does it glow bright orange, then shut off without igniting the gas? (When the gas ignites there's a large blue flame.) If so, there may be defective coils on the gas valve. Mounted on the top of modern gas valves, there are black electrical coils. The coils, when energized, open the gas valve. If one or more of the coils are defective, the valve doesn't open and the gas cannot ignite. Because it's often difficult to properly test the coils, it's usually best to replace both (all) of them at the same time.

Thermal fuse

On many dryers, there's a thermal fuse (a heat-sensitive fuse that blows if the dryer overheats) mounted to the exhaust duct inside the back cover panel. The fuse is about an inch long. It's usually embedded in black resin and mounted in a white plastic housing.

If the fuse has blown, it has no continuity. When this happens, your dryer either just stops heating, or it doesn't work at all. Be sure to inspect the venting/heating system before replacing the fuse to put the dryer back into operation. (You can't re-set this type of fuse.)

It won't tumble

If your dryer doesn't tumble, check these:

Belt
Motor
Door switch

Belt

Dryers have a drive belt that turns the clothes drum. If the belt breaks, the drum stops rotating. Then you need to replace the belt, and often the idler pulley, because the pulley tends to wear out at the same time.

Motor

If the dryer motor only hums when you press the Start button, the motor may be burned out. Here's how to test the dryer motor:

  • Remove the belt.
  • Check for obstructions in the blower fan housing.
  • Manually rotate the shaft of the motor.

If the motor is very stiff, or impossible to rotate manually, and the blower fan housing is clear, you need to replace the motor.

If the motor rotates freely, run the motor momentarily with the belt removed and the blower in place. If the motor runs fine with the belt removed, there may be a problem with the idler pulley or the clothes drum. Try to rotate the drum by hand. If it is very difficult to move, correct any problem with the rollers, pulley, rear bearing, or front drum glides, then reassemble the dryer and try it again.

If the motor hums but doesn't rotate on its own even with the belt removed--yet you can turn it freely by hand--you usually need to replace the motor or the motor start capacitor.

Door switch

Your dryer can't operate at all if the door switch is defective. It's inside the dryer main housing near the door frame. Sometimes you need to raise or open the top or front of the dryer to reach the switch. If it's defective, you need to replace it.

Drying is too slow

It normally takes about 45 minutes for a dryer to dry a full load. If your dryer is taking more than an hour, check these:

Vent
Flame sensor/gas valve
Internal ductwork
Cycling thermostat

Vent

Frequently there's an obstruction in the vent duct from the dryer to the outside of the house. For the dryer to heat properly, the duct must be clean and clear of lint or any other substance. Also note that, to maximize drying efficiency, the vent should be as short as possible.

Flame sensor/gas valve

There's a flame sensor near the igniter. If it's defective, the gas may shut off prematurely. Another common problem occurs when one of the electrical coils on the gas valve fails intermittently. If this happens, the flame shuts off before the thermostat sends a signal, which can greatly prolong the drying time. If the sensor or the coils are causing the flame to shut off, replace them.

Internal ductwork

Your dryer has some internal ductwork. If it gets clogged, your dryer can't dry properly. In most dryers, to get to the internal ductwork to clear the clog, you have to substantially disassemble the dryer. A quick way to check for internal clogs is to remove the lint filter and use a flashlight to inspect the inside of the duct. If it looks clogged and you can't clear it using your vacuum, contact a qualified appliance repair technician.

Cycling thermostat

Although this isn't a common problem, one of the thermostats that controls the temperature in your dryer may break and cause the dryer to heat poorly. If so, you need to replace it. The thermostat is usually a small, round, black device mounted to an oblong steel plate. The plate is mounted to the internal ductwork with two screws.

It overheats

Usually when a gas dryer overheats it's because of a defective cycling thermostat or a clogged vent system. Clean any lint from the internal and external ductwork, and/or replace the cycling thermostat (read about cycling thermostats in "Drying is too slow," above).

It seems to run forever

If your dryer seems to run forever, it could be because of a clogged vent or internal ductwork. Your dryer may have an automatic cycle that turns off the dryer when the clothes are dry. It does this with a special thermostat or moisture-sensing system.

Normally, this is what happens during an automatic cycle:

  • The thermostat tells the dryer to heat until the interior of the dryer reaches a pre-set temperature--say 135 degrees.
  • When the dryer reaches the pre-set temperature, the thermostat tells the timer to begin advancing. (If there's a moisture sensor, the timer advances only if the moisture content of the clothing is low enough.)
  • The timer advances until the interior cools, then the thermostat tells the timer to stop advancing, and tells the dryer to start heating again.

This cycle continues until the clothes are dry. But —if the vent is clogged, the dryer may never reach the proper operating temperature, so it doesn't send the signal to the timer and the dryer continues to run indefinitely, even if the clothes are completely dry. To fix the problem, clean the vent and/or ilnternal ductwork.

It's noisy

If your dryer is noisy, check these:

Rollers
Idler pulley
Glides
Rear drum bearing
Blower wheel

Rollers

Many dryers use rollers or wheels to support the clothes drum. When these rollers are worn, they can be noisy. You should replace the whole set of rollers at the same time.

Idler pulley

Dryers have a tension or idler pulley that keeps tension on the main drive belt. When it's worn, it can be noisy. When that happens, don't lubricate it. Just replace it.

Glides

Many dryers use nylon or plastic glides at the front of the clothes drum for support. When these are worn, they can be noisy. When that happens, replace them.

Rear drum bearing

Some dryers support the clothes drum in the rear with a center spindle instead of rollers. The spindle may be a ball-and-socket type support or a shaft through a sleeve. When the components are worn, they may squeak, squeal, or rub. You can't repair them. Just replace them when they're worn.

Blower wheel

Your dryer's blower wheel pulls air over the heat source, through the clothes drum, and past the thermostats, then pushes it out the exhaust duct. The blower wheel, which is usually plastic, may wear out over time. But if it's noisy, it may simply be clogged with lint. Clean the blower and test to see if the dryer is still noisy. If it is, you probably need to replace it.

It won't start

See It doesn't work at all.

The light doesn't work

If your dryer has an interior light, it probably uses a standard 40-watt appliance bulb, but check your owner's manual to be sure.

If the bulb is good but the light won't come on, check the door switch, which serves two functions:

  • When the door is closed, it turns off the light and allows the dryer to start.
  • When the door is open, it turns on the light and prevents the dryer from starting.
 

My clothes smell bad!

If you don't clean out the lint trap frequently, your dryer may have small lint fires inside the cabinet. The smell from these fires can leave a strong odor in the clothes drum.

Also, if there are any solvents, paints, lacquers, etc. in use in the house, your dryer may alter and/or amplify the fumes to an odor unlike the natural fumes given by the solvent, paint, etc.

Here's what to do:

  • First, clean all of the lint from the inside cabinet and ductwork of your dryer.
  • Have a qualified appliance repair technician inspect the dryer for damage caused by any lint fire.
  • Move all containers of flammable liquids at least 50 feet away from the dryer. Gas dryers have a large flame when operating properly and can ignite the fumes of any flammable liquid or gas.
  • Then, try to clear the odor, by running a couple of loads of old rags or towels.
 

My clothes are marked or torn

If your clothes get marked or torn in your dryer, check these:

Rollers
Rear seal
Front glides
Front seal

Rollers

Your dryer may use rollers, or wheels, to support the rear of the clothes drum. When these are worn out, they may cause the clothes drum to drop down slightly, which can pinch the clothes between the top of the clothes drum and the front or rear of the dryer interior. When the rollers wear out, you need to replace the whole set.

Rear seal

Your dryer may have a felt-like seal at the rear of the drum. If this seal is worn, torn, or missing, clothes can get caught and torn in the space between the clothes drum and the rear of the dryer interior. When the rear seal wears out, you need to replace it.

Front glides

Your dryer probably uses nylon or plastic glides at the front of the clothes drum for support. When these are worn out, they may cause the clothes drum to drop down slightly, which can pinch the clothes between the top of the clothes drum and the front of the dryer interior. When the glides wear out, you need to replace them as a set.

Front seal

Many dryers have a felt-like seal at the front of the drum. If this seal is worn, torn, or missing, the clothes in the dryer may get caught and torn in the space between the clothes drum and the front of the dryer interior. When the seal wears out, you need to replace it.

Work on these areas of an appliance may require help from an appliance repair person or other qualified technician.

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Warning! To avoid personal injury or even death, always disconnect your appliance from its power source — that is, unplug it or break the connection at the circuit breaker or fuse box — before you do any troubleshooting or repair work on your appliance. Also, because some components may have sharp edges, use caution while working on your appliance.

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