4 Causes Why Dryer Is Heating Up But Still Not Drying Clothes?

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission at no additional cost to you

One of the most frustrating things for a homeowner is when you put in a load of wet clothes that are fresh out of the washer into your dryer and turn it on.

Only to find out that despite running for more than an hour your clothes are not dry yet.

This can be extremely aggravating to have this happen when you have multiple loads of clothes that are needing to be done.

There are several reasons why the dryer is heating up, but still not drying clothes and it might take several hours to finally get them dry. The reasons are: clogged exhaust vent, faulty heating element, malfunctioned cycling thermostat or clogged lint trap.

Many of these are easy to do and will not cost you a lot of money.

If you are having an issue with your clothes not completely drying when the dryer cycle is done. Below are four common causes for this to be occurring and how to fix it.  

4 Most Common Causes For A Dryer To Heat Up, but Still Take Hours To Dry clothes

Lint trap clogged

Most clothes dryers work the same, they use heated air inside the drum to dry the clothes. To help this happen the drum continuously turns and the clothes tumble around inside.

This tumbling action allows the air to circulate throughout the drum helping to dry everything inside the drum.

During the washing cycles, the fabric is relaxed and fibers are released into the water and then subsequently get deposited onto the clothes.

As the clothes are tumbling and drying these fibers are then released into the air.

Unfortunately, having these fibers flying around can be a fire hazard, so to help reduce or totally eliminate this danger all dryers come with a lint trap.

This trap has a removable screen that catches as much of the free-flying fibers inside the dryer every load. 

Connect with an Appliance Repair Tech

Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
No in-home service calls. No appointments.

To be safe you should check the screen of the lint trap before and after each and every load of clothes.

If there is any lint built up on the screen you should immediately remove it and put the screen back into the lint trap.

You should also inspect the area inside of the trap to be sure that there is no stray lint that did not get trapped on the screen. 

A damaged or clogged air vent

A clothes dryer uses heated air to dry the clothes that are placed in the drum and tumbled dry.

While the key is the heated air, but it has to be able to circulate and part of the circulation process is allowing the air to be removed from the drum.

If the air is not able to escape readily it will impede the proper drying time of the clothes in the drum.

There are a couple of things that can cause this reduction in the proper airflow and each one of them will need to be checked.

It is imperative that there is no obstruction of the vent opening that exits the house.

Be sure that little flap is not obstructed and it allowed to open and close easily.

The other thing you want to check is the ducting the runs from the outlet of the dryer to the vent opening in the wall.

If you find any problems with the ducting such as; partial collapsing of any part of the ducting or you find any holes that have developed anywhere along the length of ducting.

You want to immediately replace the ducting with a brand new piece of ducting if it is damaged.

Also, if there is a problem with the vent flap you want to address that as soon as possible. 

Faulty heating element with 2 zones

The clothes in a clothes dryer is dried by the tumbling action that happens when the drum is turning with the clothes inside.

The internal fins that are mounted on the inside drum are what helps to move around the clothes as the drum is turning.

The other part is the hot air that heats up the inside of the drum and helps to dry the clothes. 

The primary heating element is responsible for supplying the hot air inside the dryer and to ensure that there is an even supply of the heated air throughout the full time of the dryer cycle.

However, if there is an interruption of the heating of the air during the cycle this will undoubtedly lead to a delay in the amount of time it will take to fully dry the clothes in the drum. 

It is applied ONLY to the heating elements with 2 zones or 2 coils (HIGH and LOW heat). Only some LG and Samsung advanced Dryers have this type of heating element. The majority of other dryers use 1 coil heating element.

If you suspect the heater is the problem you test the heater for continuity with a multimeter and if it’s bad you can contact the manufacturer of the dryer and purchase a replacement.

When it is time to replace it you want to be sure that you unplug it from the wall receptacle and open the back access panel.

After locating the heater and take the mounting screws out and disconnect it from the power panel.

The install the new one and after you have it all hooked up and everything buttoned back up and it plugged in you can do a test load to check on your handy work. 

Faulty thermostat

Most things that produce heat have a device called a thermostat that is designed to regulate the heat that is being produced or used by the device in some way.

Most clothes dryers have a number of these thermostats inside in order to help regulate the air temperature.

It is very important for any dryer to be able to maintain the constant amount of hot air inside the drum in order to dry the clothes properly. 

So, while it is unlikely that the failure to dry the clothes in the dryer is directly caused by a catastrophic failure of one or more of the thermostats inside the dryer.

But, if you have checked everything else and that only leaves a strong possibility that it is caused by a thermostat failure.

You can contact the manufacturer in order to get the correct replacement thermostat to be able to replace it if necessary. 

If you do need to replace a defective thermostat you can get at them by unplugging the power cord from the receptacle.

Gain access to where the thermostats are by opening the back panel of your clothes dryer.

You will want to test all of them until you find which one is bad and get the new one bought.

Once you have the thermostat replaced and hook up you can test the operation of the clothes dryer.

Reader Comments (13)

  1. I have a whirlpool set. Gas dryer. It’s getting near 10 years old and sometimes the dryer doesn’t do its job. After checking all the obvious (see the article above), I sat and watched it in action. After a few minutes, with heavy items in the dryer (blue jeans or a large blanket or wet towels) the door would get nudged just enough to shut off the dryer. Within 5 minutes, the timer would shut off and anyone coming into the laundry room, would think that the cycle had completed but would find the clothes wet. I was able to adjust the latches and problem went away for 6 months. Just started again.

  2. I have a Whirlpool dryer and I have been experiencing the same thing for a couple of weeks — taking 4-5 cycles to dry the clothes. Dryer is heating up, tumbling, vent hose is clear, and warm air is blowing out the vent outside. I disconnected the vent hose from the dryer and reached in and cleaned it out. Still no luck. The whole thing was driving me crazy. Then, I shined a flashlight onto the back wall of the dryer to see two perforated circles where, presumably, air circulates. One is completely clear. The other looks to be completely covered on the back side, the side I can’t get to. I assume that is the intake and, over time, dust and lint has accumulated, like it does on the back side of any fan. I am certain clearing that will solve the drying problem. Now, I just have the problem of taking apart the dryer to get to it. As I write this, I might try putting a crevice nozzle on my giant shop vac to see if I can’t suck it out before learning to be a dryer mechanic. Maybe this will help someone else having this problem.

  3. You all could have a bad Thermal Fuse. I had the same issue and did all the steps listed above only to find my thermal fuse was getting weak. This caused a myriad of issues but the biggest was the dry could run for hours and not fully get the clothes dry.

  4. Same as above. I changed all sensors etc. Changed the igniter. Aluminum vent tube is almost too hot to touch where the air exits. Drum spins. All vents are totally clean. Dryer has to run about 6 Cycles to dry one load regardless and I’m at my wits end.
    Tho it doesn’t seem like anyone replies here…

  5. After changing the heating element, thermostat and fuse, our dryer is still not drying clothes. I have cleaned the lint screen, hose and vent. The tumbler seems to move fine and both breakers are engaged. Is there something else to check? Or just time to buy another dryer?

    • Only first two reasons are correct. The other reasons in this article don’t cause this symptom. The only possible reason for hot but wet clothes is blocked circulation. Either lint filter clogged or vent hose blocked or lint in fan.

Comments are closed.

DMCA.com Protection Status