If you have a separate washing machine and dryer, you may be less than happy if the latter appliance does not work when you have a large load of soaking wet clothes in hand. In this case, you'll want to find out why the dryer is refusing to cooperate, or else your laundry day may take on additional dimensions. What should you be looking for so you can get to the bottom of the problem?
First Things First
The first thing to do is to check the fuse or breaker and ensure that the appliance is plugged in correctly. Assuming all is okay, there are two or three areas to look at in terms of potential electrical faults.
Heating Element Failure
If you have a multimeter in your garage, now is the time to break it out.
Firstly, check to see if the heating element is working. If it's malfunctioning, it won't be able to generate enough heat to dry the clothes or could, in itself, overheat, causing a failure. Look at the owner's manual to identify the element and place each of the probes on the wire terminals. If you do not get a reading, there is a lack of continuity, and the element will have failed.
Thermal Cut-Off Problem
Next, have a look at the thermal cut-off switch. This is a device that is meant to ensure the appliance doesn't overheat. Again, look at the owner's manual to find out where it is located at. It may be at the rear of the appliance, accessed through the back cover panel. If the machine has overheated, the thermal fuse can trip, but it can also become faulty and prevent the device from working at all. Again, you can test this using the multimeter to see if it is active or has blown.
You should also suspect a thermostat failure. Find out if your device has one or two thermostats as this can vary between different appliances. These devices are designed to regulate the temperature during normal cycles and when the dryer is working at maximum capacity. If they are working correctly, they are designed to turn off the heating element once it reaches a certain temperature threshold. If the thermostat does not do this, the heating element may also fail, leading to a premature shutdown.
Getting Professional Help
Of course, if you do not feel comfortable performing this type of work or cannot get to the bottom of the problem, contact an electrician. They will look at the problem and conduct a repair so you can continue with your laundry day chores. For more information about appliance repairs, contact a local electrician.