If you’re in the middle of doing a load of laundry and you all of a sudden discover that your dryer isn’t working, you’ll be left with a big pile of damp clothes and no way to dry them. Unless you’re ok with spending hours hanging your clothes up and waiting for them to air dry, you’ll probably be wanting to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
If your Whirlpool dryer completely fails to start, there are several potential causes of this issue. Common causes include a blown thermal fuse, a faulty switch, or a broken drive motor/drive belt. It may also be an issue with the power supply going to the dryer.
In this article, we’ll be going over all of these issues and more that can cause your dryer to stop working, and we’ll explain how these issues happen and what you can do to resolve them.
Blown Thermal Fuse
Source: Sears Parts Direct
All modern dryers, and many other appliances besides, come equipped with thermal fuses as a safety measure. The purpose of the thermal fuse in your dryer is to protect the various components in the dryer from overheating.
Thermal fuses work by automatically breaking the circuit when they detect an overcurrent. The contact points of the fuse are usually held together by some kind of meltable material. If the circuit starts to heat up as a result of the overcurrent, the material in the fuse melts, the contact points come apart, and the circuit is broken.
How to Fix It:
To determine whether a blown thermal fuse is preventing your dryer from starting, you can use a multimeter to test the fuse for continuity. Most of the issues we’ll be going over in this article can actually be diagnosed with a multimeter, so you’ll really want to have one on hand when fixing a dryer that won’t start.
If you’ve determined that a blown thermal fuse is the cause of your problem, you’ll have to replace it. Luckily, replacement fuses for Whirlpool dryers are pretty cheap and readily available online.
When replacing a blown thermal fuse, you should also check your dryer vents. If they look clogged, you should clean them out, as this is likely the reason why your fuse has blown.
This is because when the dryer is forced to blow exhaust through clogged vents, the fan that creates airflow within the dryer has to work a lot harder, which eventually causes the motor powering the fan to overheat.
Before replacing a thermal fuse or any other part within your dryer, you should disconnect your dryer from its power supply to avoid giving yourself an electric shock.
Bad Start/Door/Belt Switch
Within your dryer, there are several switches that control your dryer’s various functions. Let’s go over each of these switches and explain what they do.
The start switch, as the name implies, is the switch that activates the drive motor and starts the drying process. To test the start switch, just hit the “start” button on the dryer’s main console. If the dryer fails to make any kind of noise or response when you do this, there’s a good chance that the start switch is at fault.
The door switch is a safety feature, and is used to stop the dryer in the event that the door is opened while the dryer is running. If the switch fails, it may be unable to detect when the door is closed, which will prevent you from being able to start your dryer.
To test your door switch, close the door, start the dryer, and listen for the sound of the door switch activating. If the switch is working properly, it should make an audible “click” sound when the dryer starts. If you don’t hear any such sound, the door switch could be the cause of your problems.
Finally, we have the belt switch. Some Whirlpool dryer models are equipped with a belt switch, which is intended to automatically stop the dryer if the belt connecting the drive motor to the drum breaks. If the drive belt really has broken, the dryer won’t run either, but sometimes the switch can fail and the dryer won’t start even if the belt is intact.
How to Fix It:
Regardless of which switch in your dryer has stopped working, the procedure for diagnosing and fixing these broken switches is largely the same. If you suspect that a bad switch is the reason your dryer isn’t working, get out your multimeter and use it to test the switch for continuity.
If any of the switches you test don’t have any continuity, you’ll have to replace them. Luckily, these switches are usually pretty inexpensive to buy and also fairly easy to replace yourself.
Faulty Drive Motor
The drive motor is what provides power to all of your dryer’s moving components, including the drum and the fan. If the motor fails to start, the cause is usually either the thermal fuse or one of the switches within the dryer, but occasionally the motor itself can also fail.
The motor may stop working if the bearings inside it wear out and become seized up. These bearings are originally lubricated, but with enough time this lubrication can dry up and lose its effectiveness.
If the motor is just starting to go bad, you’ll likely be able to tell by the strange noises it makes. A dryer motor that is just starting to go bad might make a squealing, buzzing, or grinding noise.
How to Fix It:
Before checking out the motor, you should check the thermal fuse, the various switches in the dryer, and the dryer fan. If the motor isn’t running, these components are more often than not the cause of this issue, so check these parts first before looking at your motor.
If the thermal fuse is intact, the various switches are working fine, and the fan is free from obstructions, then you can take a look at the motor. Use your multimeter to test the motor, and if the multimeter indicates that the motor has gone bad, have it replaced.
Broken Drive Belt
We’ve already talked a bit about the drive belt, but let’s go into more detail about it here. The drive belt, as we’ve mentioned, is what transfers power from the motor to the drum and the fan.
This drive belt is made of rubber, which can eventually get weak and brittle if enough time passes and if the belt is exposed to too much heat. If the belt gets too brittle, it’ll break, and then the dryer will fail to run even if the motor is working.
How to Fix It:
If the drive belt in your dryer has broken, you’ll have to replace it. The good news is that replacement drive belts for dryers are very inexpensive, and pretty easy to install as well.
Problem With Power Supply
It’s also entirely possible that nothing is wrong with your dryer at all, and the reason it’s not working is because it’s not receiving any power to begin with. This could be because of a tripped circuit or a blown home fuse, or it could be a problem with the outlet the dryer is plugged into.
How to Fix It:
First, go to your breaker/fuse box, and inspect your breakers or fuses (depending on what your home uses). If you see any tripped breakers, reset them, and if you see any blown fuses then swap them out for fresh ones.
If you don’t see anything out of the ordinary in your breaker/fuse box, try testing out the outlet next. You can try either testing the outlet with a multimeter, or plugging another appliance into the outlet and seeing if it works. If you can determine that the outlet is at fault, you should replace it.
Faulty Control Board
Source: Circuit Board Medics
The control board in your dryer is the main circuit board that sits behind your dryer’s control panel. It’s not very common for the control board in a dryer to fail, but it does happen on occasion. If it does, this can easily stop the dryer from being able to run.
How to Fix It:
Before considering the control board as the source of the problem, you should test out all the other components of your dryer first, as they are far more likely to fail. If there seems to be no other possible cause for this issue, then you can try replacing your control board.
You can test the control board with a multimeter if you have one, or you can visually inspect the control board for signs of damage like scorch marks.
Your dryer contains a timer, which is used to control the timing of the various cycles during the drying process. The timer controls how long the dryer runs for, how long the heater runs, the length of the cooling cycle, and more besides.
A faulty timer is another fairly uncommon cause of a dryer that refuses to run, but it is still a possible cause nonetheless.
How to Fix It:
Once again, this is another one of those components that you should only test after testing everything else. If you do have reason to suspect that your timer isn’t working, get out your trusty multimeter and use it to test the timer’s continuity. If the timer isn’t working, replace it with a new one.