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Electric dryer runs but no heat. How can I tell if it is the thermostat next to the heating element?

Kenmore electric dryer, model #: 110.86873100. Runs, but no heat. No change in operation when fuse is bypassed. Cleaned out lots of dirt and lint from exhaust side. Heating element seems ok from visual assessment (used mirror to look up inside). I'm guessing the thermostat right next to the heating element is bad. How likely is that, and how can I diagnose it? Also, do I need to check the thermal cutoff, and how can I do that?


Dryers , Kenmore , Washers
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2 Answers from these members:
afritz afritz
Hello there, electric dryers are a very important appliance in a household; it certainly is in mine. It is very convenient and saves you from having to take a trip to the clothes line outside. A suggestion I have while you are waiting for a response from an expert is visiting the Sears Home Services website and it will give you lots of helpful ways of how to troubleshoot your appliance and gives you lots of helpful tips. I have provided the link below. Hope this helps!
by afritz afritz Earned 1,308 community points in Kenmore
July 2nd, 2010
Answered in 5 minutes
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Fred M
If an electric dryer is running then the thermal fuse is okay.

First don't overlook the circuit breakers to the dryer. It is possible for one of the two breakers to trip leaving the dryer 120 volts to run with but not have 240 volts to heat with. Turn each of the dryer's breakers off and then back on.

There are three other parts beside the timer, motor switch or element that might prevent the dryer from heating.

The thermostat, next to the thermal fuse, the hi-limit thermostat and the thermal cut-off. The hi-limit and thermal cutoff are located on the heater box.

All three can be checked for continuity/resistance if you have access to a volt/ohm meter and are comfortable using it.

If you have no meter there is another way if caution is used.

Remember to unplug the dryer first.

The idea would be to bypass the thermostat, hi-limit or thermal cutoff one at a time and see if the dryer will heat.

Start with the control thermostat on the blower housing next to the thermal fuse. There will be two heavy red wires and a couple of smaller violet wires. With the dryer unplugged remove the two heavy red wires and join them together. A small insulated wire works best. With the wires joined the thermostat is bypassed. Then carefully plug the dryer in and run it to see if it will heat. If it heats the thermostat is the problem. If it doesn't heat then the thermal cut-off and hi-limit can be checked the same way.

The timer, motor switch and element can not be checked this way.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If there are any additional details then I may be able to help you further.
by Fred M Earned 4,120 community points in Kenmore
July 6th, 2010
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