Sometimes, an appliance fails completely. Still, it’s also normal for only one function to stop working. A good example is when a Frigidaire dryer works even though it doesn’t heat up.
Common reasons for a Frigidaire dryer not heating up include a burnt heating element, failed heater relay, broken motor centrifugal switch, or faulty thermistor sensor.
In this article, we’re going to explore each of those possibilities and how they get fixed.
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Dryer Heating Element Is Burnt (95% cases)
What it is: Dryers require heat to remove moisture from the clothes that you load inside. That’s why all dryers have a dryer heating element of some kind.
Depending on the model and design, the heating element could be in a separate compartment from the drum.
However, on a Frigidaire dryer, you’ll probably discover it as a round-shaped component with metal coils on it, typically towards the back of the dryer.
How these heating elements work is pretty straightforward. When you start a drying cycle, power is supplied to the heating element.
Its coils will generate heat which another component, the blower, will blow through the drum and then through the vent that leads out of the machine.
Why it fails: There are several reasons why a dryer heating element might fail. Firstly, it could be that the electrical connections to the heating element are loose or have come undone.
If that’s the case, then there is no power supplied to the heating element, and no heat is generated.
Besides that, it’s also possible that the dryer heating element may have overheated at some point.
Overheating can cause a heating element to stop working and require a replacement.
That overheating may not be a problem with the heating element itself.
Instead, it could be that the dryer’s vent is blocked, so hot air cannot flow out of the machine efficiently.
How to fix: Replacing a dryer heating element can be pretty tricky, so it’s not a DIY job unless you’re absolutely sure of what you’re doing. In any case, the fix begins by disconnecting the power supply to the dryer.
To locate the heating element, it’s best to refer to the user manual or any technical sheet that Frigidaire may have included with the appliance.
Don’t worry if you’ve lost those documents. These days, you can find the manual for your unit online, either on the Frigidaire website or on a third-party appliance repair website.
In many cases, replacing the heating element involves removing access panels and also the drum itself.
That will allow you to remove the mounting screws for the heating element and disconnect its electrical connectors.
Once you’ve installed the new heating element, be sure to replace screws and reconnect the electrical connections the same way as before.
Heater Relay Failed On The Control Board (newer Models)
What it is: Another possibility is the heater relay. A relay like this one is essentially a switch operated by electricity, opening and closing as needed.
In your Frigidaire dryer, the heater relay is responsible for allowing electrical current to flow to the heating element.
When other components sense that the temperature is too hot or the drying cycle is complete, then the heater relay will shut and stop power from flowing to the heating element.
Why it fails: If your dryer has been in use for many years, the most common reason could be that the electrical contacts in the relay have worn out.
Secondly, it could also be that the heater relay coil is unable to open or close the circuit correctly.
In the case of a dryer that’s not heating up, the heater relay has likely lost its ability to complete the circuit and allow power to flow through to the heating element.
How to fix: Start by referring to the user manual or tech sheet to identify the correct spare part that you need for this fix.
If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to call Frigidaire technical support for help so that you don’t accidentally buy the wrong spare part.
When you have the part you need, always disconnect the power supply to the appliance. That will reduce the risk of injury or electrocution.
Using the user manual or tech sheet, identify the heater relay’s location and remove any access panels in your way.
Unsolder the existing heater relay and put in the new one. Be sure that you’re placing any electrical connectors the exact same way as before.
If you’d like to be extra cautious about this, snap a photo of the existing relay before removing it. That way, you’ll have a reference photo you can use for guidance.
But if you uncomfortable replacing relay, get a new control board instead.
Motor Centrifugal Switch Failed
What it is: Dryers also have what’s known as a ‘centrifugal switch’. This is a safety feature that ensures the heating element only turns on when the drum is spinning.
So, suppose, for whatever reason, the drum fails to move. In that case, you won’t have to worry about the heating element overheating the clothes inside, causing them to catch on fire.
Here’s how it works.
When the drum spins, it creates enough centrifugal force to affect the switch and close the circuit (i.e. allow electricity flow to the heating element).
As the drum slows down and stops, the switch will open the circuit, and the heating element won’t receive any power.
Typically, a centrifugal switch will work when the drum spins at roughly 70% of its maximum speed.
Why it fails: Suppose your dryer isn’t heating up even though the drum is spinning and everything else works fine.
If that’s the case, then it could be that the centrifugal switch has failed to do its job, which is to close the circuit and allow electrical current to flow to the heating element.
The switch could have become stuck as part of its regular wear and tear after being used for so long.
Besides that, there’s also the possibility of lint, dirt, and other debris getting in the way and causing the switch to stick.
Plenty of appliances use centrifugal switches, but dryers often have a lint problem, causing switches not to work correctly.
How to fix: The centrifugal switch is close to the dryer’s motor, so it can be very tricky to troubleshoot this issue by yourself.
If you’re unsure about anything at all, it’s always best to get a professional to do it for you.
Still, this is what that troubleshooting process may look like.
For starters, the power supply must be disconnected entirely to prevent electrocution or injury.
Then, you’ll need to gain access to the motor. That will involve removing access panels and even the drum to get a clear view of the motor and centrifugal switch.
It may be easier to remove the entire component and inspect it outside of the dryer in some cases.
Once that’s done, you can use your finger to ensure that the centrifugal switch can open and close without any lint or dirt obstructing it.
If there are dirt and lint, then it should be cleaned out thoroughly.
Besides that, a multimeter can also check whether or not there is continuity, which means that electricity can flow through the switch without a problem.
If there is no continuity, then the switch may need to be replaced.
But probably the best practice is to replace the whole motor. yes, it’s not going to be cheaper, but more reliable in the future.
What it is: Frigidaire dryers also have thermistors inside them. The component’s name is short for ‘thermally sensitive resistors’.
It controls the electrical flow through the circuit by reacting to the dryer’s temperature, unlike regular resistors.
The thermistor works closely with the dryer’s control board, which is why it’s usually placed wherever the heated air travels.
That way, it will react by increasing or decreasing its resistance according to the air temperature.
The control board will measure the temperature and decide whether or not to supply more hot air into the dryer.
Why it fails: When a thermistor is faulty, it can mistakenly sense that the dryer’s air temperature is high, eleven though it’s not.
As a result, the control board may refuse to supply power to the heating element. There will be no hot air generated inside the dryer.
As this happens, the rest of the dryer will work normally. The lights will come on, and the dryer will spin, but you’ll notice that the air inside is never heated up.
How to fix: Replacing a thermistor can be pretty challenging, so don’t be afraid to call a professional if you’re not sure how to do it yourself.
First, you’ll start by disconnecting the power to the machine to prevent electrocution and injury.
The thermistor is typically located near the blower, which requires you to open up panels in the rear to gain access to it.
To be sure, refer to the user manual or tech sheet to identify the location of the thermistor.
Then, you’ll want to disconnect the thermistor’s electrical connectors before removing its mounting screws.
Place the new thermistor, and then work backwards. Put the mounting screws in place, replace the electrical connectors, and cover it back up with the access panel you removed earlier.