Dryer Heating Element Broken: 7 Common Signs (with fixes)

A broken heating element in a dryer can lead to clothes not drying properly or not drying at all.

Here are some common signs that can help you determine if the heating element in your dryer is broken:

Dryer Heating Element Broken: 7 Common Signs (with fixes)

Common signs dryer heating element is broken are wet clothes, longer drying times than usual, little or no heat and or burning smell.

Now we have answered the main question, let’s dive into troubleshooting.

Clothes remain wet or damp:

If your dryer is running, but your clothes come out wet or damp, it’s a clear indication that the heating element is not working correctly.

The heating element is responsible for generating the heat necessary to evaporate the moisture in your clothes.

Longer drying times:

If you notice that your dryer is taking much longer to dry a load of laundry than it used to, it could be a sign of a faulty heating element.

This is because the heating element may not be producing enough heat to dry the clothes efficiently.

No heat at all:

In some cases, the heating element can fail completely, resulting in the dryer running but producing no heat.

If your dryer is tumbling, but there’s no warmth inside, the heating element is likely the culprit.

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Uneven drying:

Another sign of a heating element issue is when some areas of your clothes are dry, while others are still damp.

This can indicate an inconsistency in the heat distribution caused by a malfunctioning heating element.

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Burning smell or unusual noises:

If the heating element is damaged or burnt out, you may notice a burning smell when the dryer is in operation.

Unusual noises, like screeching or squeaking, can also be a sign of a heating element problem.

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Check for continuity:

If you have some basic knowledge of using a multimeter, you can test the heating element for continuity. Unplug the dryer, disconnect the heating element, and use the multimeter to check for electrical continuity.

If there’s no continuity, the heating element is likely broken.

If you suspect that your dryer’s heating element is broken based on these signs, it’s a good idea to consult the dryer’s user manual for troubleshooting advice.

Cost to Replace a Dryer Heating Element, is it Worth it?

The cost to replace a dryer heating element can vary depending on several factors, including the type and brand of the dryer, the specific heating element required, and whether you choose to do the replacement yourself or hire a professional technician.

Here are some cost considerations:

DIY Replacement:

If you have some basic DIY skills and tools, you can typically purchase a replacement heating element for your dryer for around $20 to $50, although the price may vary based on your dryer’s make and model.

Keep in mind that the cost of the replacement element may be lower than hiring a technician, but you should consider your own skill level and comfort with making the replacement.

Professional Repair:

If you decide to hire a professional appliance repair technician to replace the heating element, the cost will include both the price of the replacement part and the technician’s labor fees.

The total cost can vary widely, but it might range from $150 to $300 or more, depending on your location and the specific technician’s rates.

Some technicians charge a flat fee for the service call, while others charge an hourly rate, so it’s a good idea to get quotes from different professionals to compare costs.

Whether it’s worth replacing the heating element in your dryer depends on several factors:

  • The Age of the Dryer: Consider the age of your dryer. If it’s an older unit and the heating element has failed, you might want to think about whether it’s more cost-effective to replace the entire dryer, especially if it has a history of other issues.
  • The Overall Condition of the Dryer: If your dryer is in good overall condition and you’re satisfied with its performance, replacing the heating element can be a cost-effective way to extend its lifespan.
  • Repair vs. Replacement Costs: Compare the cost of replacing the heating element to the cost of purchasing a new dryer with similar features. If the repair cost is significantly lower, it may be worth it.
  • Future Repairs: Consider whether the dryer has had other recent or recurring issues. If it’s been unreliable, you might want to invest in a new, more reliable appliance.
  • Energy Efficiency: Newer dryers are often more energy-efficient. If your old dryer is not energy-efficient, you might save on operating costs in the long run by upgrading to a newer model.

Ultimately, the decision to replace the heating element or the entire dryer will depend on your specific circumstances, including your budget, the condition of the dryer, and your long-term plans.

If you’re unsure, it may be helpful to consult with an appliance technician for a professional assessment and advice.

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How Long Should Dryer Heating Elements Last?

The lifespan of a heating element in an appliance like a dryer, oven, or water heater can vary depending on several factors.

On average, heating elements are designed to last for several years, typically ranging from 5 to 15 years. However, the actual lifespan can be influenced by the following factors:

Usage: The more frequently you use the appliance, the shorter the heating element’s lifespan is likely to be. High-frequency use can lead to faster wear and tear.

Quality: The quality of the heating element itself and the appliance in which it is installed can significantly impact its lifespan. Higher-quality elements and appliances may have longer-lasting heating elements.

Maintenance: Regular maintenance can extend the life of a heating element. Cleaning, proper care, and addressing issues promptly can help prevent premature failure.

Overheating: Excessive heat can cause the heating element to deteriorate faster. If the appliance’s thermostat or temperature controls are malfunctioning, it can lead to overheating.

Voltage fluctuations: Fluctuations in voltage or power surges can damage heating elements. Using surge protectors and stabilizers may help mitigate this risk.

Hard water: In appliances like water heaters, the presence of hard water minerals can cause mineral buildup on the heating element, reducing its efficiency and potentially shortening its lifespan. Regular maintenance to remove mineral deposits may help.

Physical damage: Accidental damage or misuse can lead to heating element failure.

It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and care to maximize the lifespan of your heating element. I

f your heating element does fail, it’s typically replaceable, and replacement parts are available for most appliances.

If you suspect a heating element is failing, consult the manufacturer’s documentation or contact a professional appliance technician to assess and replace the element if necessary.

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Final Thoughts

Wet clothes, longer than usual drying times, little to no heat, and/or a burning smell are common indicators that the dryer heating element is broken.

However, in most cases, it’s best to call a professional appliance repair technician to diagnose and repair the issue, as working with electrical components can be dangerous if you’re not experienced in appliance repair.

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