Here Is Why Dryer Keeps Blowing Thermal Fuse

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Dryers have many parts that can go bad. Two such part are the thermal (limit) fuse and the thermal cutoff.

In past years, house fires were commonly caused by failed dryers.

However, thanks to these components, this is a thing of the past, as both parts work to prevent fires.

Let’s take a look at some common issues with both the thermal fuse on the blower wheel and cutoff fuse on the heater assembly.

We’ll discuss some troubleshooting and possible fixes.

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Thermal (Limit) Fuse On The Blower Wheel

This particular thermal fuse is located on your dryer’s blower wheel.

It monitors the temperature of the dryer, and when that temperature gets too high, it shuts power off to the motor (not to the heating element !!!)

Diagnosing a tripped thermal fuse is easy. You just need to have a multimeter and check continuity between two contacts.

But first, turn the dryer 240V power cord OFF from the wall and only then start to work on the dryer.

Every dryer has its own procedure on how to disassemble it and how to reach this fuse.

Failed Relay on the Control Board

Another common reason for Whirlpool and Maytag dryers, that this particular thermal fuse keeps tripping is due to a failed relay on the control board.

Usually, this relay becomes stuck in the “ON” position and sends the power to the heating element, ignoring ON/OFF commands from the control board.

This will cause the control board to constantly send power to the heating element while dryer running.

It will not send the power if the dryer is not running !!!

When the critical temperature is reached, the thermal fuse blows. Usually, this is happening at the end, when the dryer goes to the Cool Down cycle.

When this occurs, you’ll need to replace the thermal fuse and entire control board, because the relay is stuck.

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Here’s how to check the control board:

  • Unplug the dryer
  • Remove the screws on the back of the machine that hold the control panel in place
  • Flip the control panel over to expose the control board
  • The relay switch should be on the lower right of the board
  • Check for any melting or black marks to indicate it has failed
  • If there is nothing visible, change control board anyway

The Thermal Fuse is Wrapped with Lint

Lint can bypass the trap sometimes, and end up in the wrong places inside your dryer.

Once such place it can end up is wrapped around the thermal fuse inside the blower wheel.

When this occurs, it will cause the fuse to overheat and blow due to heat build-up.

If this is the issue, you’ll need to access the blower wheel and clean all lint and other debris from around it.

Then you will need to locate and replace the thermal fuse.

To make it easier to locate, keep in mind that the blower fan is attached to the drive shaft motor.

Thermal Cutoff (heater Assembly) Fuse Keeps Tripping

The thermal cutoff is located on the heater assembly and it controls the temperature of the dryer.

It also helps monitor the amount of heat being produced by the dryer.

If you notice that the drum spins but there’s no heat produced, the thermal cutoff switch is probably blown.

You may also notice that your dryer is producing a small amount of heat, but not enough to dry your clothes in a timely manner.

You can troubleshoot the thermal cutoff by testing it for electrical continuity. However, you’ll also have to determine what made it fail in the first place.

Here are the most common reasons a thermal cutoff fuse will keep tripping.

Dryer Hose or Vent Line Clogged

When dryer hoses or vent lines become clogged it prevents proper air circulation, which will eventually cause your dryer to overheat.

This is the most common reason a thermal cutoff fuse keeps tripping.

You need to remove the vent line from the back of your dryer and clean it out.

Here’s the easiest way to clean the dryer vents:

  • Unplug the dryer
  • Locate the vent on the back of the machine
  • Remove any clamps or tape holding the vent to your dryer
  • Move the dryer out of the way to give you room to work
  • Clean the duct from the interior side of the vent. This will be behind your machine in the laundry room
  • Once that’s as clear as you can get it, you’ll need to locate the exterior vent on the outside of your home
  • This area is easy to access by removing the duct cover or flap
  • Be sure to clear the entire line, this may take a few tries depending on how many twists and turns your duct work has
  • Once you feel confident that all lint is removed, reconnect everything

Sometimes you can discover bird nest on the very end of the vent line.

Heating Element Grounded

When the coils in the heating element expanding, they can touch metal casing and it can cause the heating element to become grounded.

When this occurs it will cause your dryer’s heating element to remain “ON” constantly, even during the fluff or AIR ONLY cycle.

Cycling thermostat just not able to control amount of heat produced by the heating element.

Eventually, this will cause your dryer to overheat which will trip the thermal cutoff fuse.

To repair this problem you will need to follow these steps:

  • Unplug the machine
  • Remove the back panel from the dryer
  • The heating element will be located near the bottom of the machine, you’ll need to disconnect the wires going to it
  • Mark the location of each wire, so you can remember where they go later
  • Remove the high-heat thermostat from the old heating element and transfer it to the new one
  • Position the new heating element to the heater box properly and screw into place
  • Replace the wires and back panel
  • Plug the dryer in and test to see if it’s working properly

In the end, anytime the thermal fuse or cutoff trips, it will need to be replaced.

As a one-time use part, it’s not designed to be reset.

Also, remember to track down the actual problem when this fuse blows.

The simple fact is, it doesn’t happen for no reason at all.

Have you had issues with a thermal fuse tripping?

What brand machine do you have and what was causing the problem? Comment now and let us know.

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Reader Comments (85)

  1. Hello I have a Maytag medc465hw0 dryer and it will run for a while and then shutoff but when it cools down it turns back on. Nothing gets hot on air fluff mode, but it will still shut off after 20-30 minutes. This is running without the vent hooked up.

  2. Hi Eugene,
    Great site. Very informative.
    I have a 1997 Whirlpool LTE6234DQO, stacked w/d, electric. The 8′ vent run is very clean. New vent hook-up hose. I removed every possible piece of dust/lint from entire unit.
    Stopped producing heat, so replaced thermal fuse from heater box, 255° limit stat; 155° limit stat & 2nd fuse (?) from blower housing, (4 oem components).
    It ran & produced heat with and w/o vent hook-up, for about 20 minutes. Did a small add’l load & again, success.
    Next day, no heat . . .
    No control board in this ol’ baby. What’s left to replace?
    I assumed the heater coil is good because it does produce heat, until the fuse fails, though, I haven’t measured it.
    Please help solve the mystery. Thanks much.

    • Do you have a multimeter? Did you check heating element, to make sure its not grounded? You need to measure resistance from the heater housing to the one of the coils. If you will have some readings on the multimeter, heating element is grounded and will be producing heat even when the dryer going to the cooling cycle.

  3. I have a Maytag MEDB400VQ1. I’ve replace thermo cut off kit
    280148 twice. The vent is clean all the way to outside. The heating element is not grounded. I’ve tried to switch from air fluff to heat and that works fine. I hope it doesn’t blow the fuse again. It lasted about 3 weeks and then blower the second time I replaced it. Anymore ideas? Thanks

  4. We (my wife and I) are in the process of troubleshooting our electric dryer in basement that keeps on blowing a thermal fuse. We do think the original problem was a clogged pipe with lint. Note: when the lint filter light goes on and off for 2 months, listen to it! Sigh. Ok so the venting is totally clear now. Just replaced with solid pipe too-a 3′ section in wall was pretty clogged. We cleaned up all the lint in side dryer after taking everything apart (and it was bad too). Replaced the heating element (entire), thermistor, thermal fuse -this will be the third one now. NOW looking for any blackened wires that could of got damaged when the original problem likely started all of this (smelled the burn-and a few blackened areas esp in original element). Will also try running on air to see if control bd switch is staying ON. Will ALSO see if any air backflow obvious making dryer to heat up too much. Will check continuity of everything before we proceed again as well. When I replaced the thermal fuses, the dryer would run for part of a load (did this 2X) and heat would shut down, not the tumbling. This thread is great btw! WE (my wife and I) can take apart this dryer in our sleep. haha If we are overlooking something, please help 🙂 Thank you.

  5. kenmore elite oasis model 110.68062801 thermal fuse blowing.
    first time was that the area below the blower fan was clogged and didnt see that with out pulling front of dryer to get to thermal fuse figured that was it. replaced fuse, after one load dryer wouldnt start. fuse blown again. i replaced thermal fuse and thermister(even though thermister checked good) i checked heating element had 9.8ohms of resistance. checked connectors on element to ground and found no shorts. connected to high limit and cut offs they had continuity and used hot hair dryer to see if they would open, they did not, not sure if not hot enough or if they are basically thermal switches and are stuck shut. i am running a couple small test loads right now on lower heat. first was with just air and it disnt heat up then bumped it up to low didnt get to hot now trying medium and so far it seems to be working. will check temp here soon. the first fuse i replaced was with a cheap one off amazon not sure if it was a cheap knock off and not rated right.

    • update when running on medium heat it wasnt heating. pulled apart to see i forgot to connect the cut off so. connected back up plugged back in and now heating but is heating even on just air. getting pretty hot. so think either high limit or cut off stuck shut. or would this lead to the control panel?


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