Gas Dryer Repair Heating Problems
Appliance repair work is similar to detective work, so before we tear into this dryer repair, let’s take a moment to observe the dryer’s symptoms. Is there a strange noise? Is the dryer not heating at all or not as well as it should be? Does the dryer heat for a few minutes and then go cold? In this chapter we will be trouble shooting heating problems.
First check the obvious. Is the dryer getting gas from the house? Something as simple as improper installation of Teflon tape could be greatly reducing the gas flow. You should know that the gas valve is on and that gas is in the flex line. Some gas connection fittings need to be installed in the proper direction or can close internally blocking the gas flow.
While we’re back here let’s disconnect the ducting from the dryer. Many times the ducting from the dryer to the wall or the ducting from the house can become clogged with excess lint. This can cause your dryer to take a very long time to dry a load of clothes. In extreme cases dryer fires can occur.
Often long dry times can be solved by simply disconnecting the dryer’s duct and running a test load. If the dryer now magically works, check the ducting for blockages. Dryer manufacturers often suggest limiting the ducting length to no more than 10 feet and each 90 degree angle in the homes ducting is like adding five feet to its length. Vertical home ducting can also be a common source of clogged ducting and heating issues.
One more thing to consider: could your dryer be getting a bad rap because of your washers’ inability to spin? You should not be able to ring water out of fabrics at the end of your washer’s spin cycle. Poor spin speeds often can mislead people into thinking that their dryer has a problem.
So let’s look at a properly functioning dryer and then we’ll be better prepared to notice problems
To observe the burner look for a small cap on the front left of the dryer. This cap is a viewing port for observing the burner assembly. Remove it with a flat head screwdriver from the tab on the bottom. Now we can start the dryer on a cycle that will require the dryer to engage the burner. You want to avoid cycles like “no heat” and “air fluff”.
We are waiting to see if the burner igniter is going to glow. Knowing this will help us to cut the possible causes of the heating problem in half. If the igniter glows we know that it’s okay. We also know that the thermal fuse at the back of the dryer is okay as well.
Next we will want to see if it turns off. If it didn’t glow, don’t worry, we’ll troubleshoot that option in a moment. If the igniter clicks off after a few seconds of glowing bright orange you know that the flame switch mounted on the left side of the burner tube is okay as well.
At the moment that the click of the flame switch is observed the burner valve should release gas for burner ignition. If the igniter turns off with no ignition and you are sure that you have gas supplied to the dryer, then you likely need to replace the two coil valve solenoids on the top of the burner. In extremely rare cases the valve may need replacement, but the coils are a safe bet.
These safety coils may gradually fail over weeks or even months giving partial heating and long dry times. As safety coils are going bad they will work properly for a short amount of time, then after a half an hour or so of cycling on and off to maintain the drum’s temperature they will break down and cease to open the valve resulting in cool or wet clothing at the end of the cycle.
If the igniter glows, but never clicks off, you likely have a bad flame switch, also called the flame sensor. But let’s just say that your igniter never heats up. For this one we’re going to dig a little deeper in our next dryer repair article.