Why Is My Electric Dryer Overheating?

Key Causes and Solutions

2 minute read

A realistic illustration of a domestic clothes dryer with visible flames and smoke coming out of it, placed in a home laundry room setting. The dryer is white, front-loading, and situated next to a washing machine. The room is well-lit, with tiled flooring, a small window, and laundry-related items scattered around, like a laundry basket and detergent bottles. The fire should look contained within the dryer, emphasizing safety and not spreading to the surroundings.

Electric dryers are essential in modern homes, but they can sometimes face the issue of overheating. If you’re asking, “Why is my electric dryer overheating?” you’re not alone. Overheating dryers can harm your clothes and the appliance itself. This article explores the primary reasons behind dryer overheating and offers practical solutions.

Understanding Dryer Overheating

The core of an electric dryer is its heating element, powered by electricity. It’s crucial for drying clothes, but when malfunctioning, it leads to dryer overheating. Recognizing the signs of electric dryer overheating early can save you from potential hazards and costly repairs.

Dryers and Heat Control

Dryers regulate heat through thermostats and switches. However, when these components fail, dryer overheating occurs. If your dryer is overheating, it’s time to investigate these parts.

Causes of Dryer Overheating

Shorted Heating Element

A frequent culprit of dryer overheating. If shorted, it can continuously produce heat, leading to dryer overheating. Using a multimeter to check for a short in the heating element is a practical approach:

Disconnect the Dryer: Ensure the dryer is unplugged or disconnected from the power source before attempting any checks or repairs.

Access the Heating Element: Depending on the dryer model, you may need to remove the back panel or another section of the dryer to access the heating element.

Use the Multimeter: Set the multimeter to the ohm setting (Ω). A multimeter can be used to check the continuity of the heating element. If the heating element has continuity, it means the electrical path is complete and the heating element is likely functioning properly.

Check for Continuity: Remove the wires connected to the heating element and touch one meter probe to each of the terminals on the heating element. A reading of infinity indicates a broken element (no continuity), while a very low reading indicates a shorted element.

Inspect Visually: Apart from using a multimeter, visually inspect the heating element for any signs of damage, such as breaks or burn marks

Air Flow Issues

Poor airflow can lead to electric dryer overheating. Regular cleaning of vents and filters is crucial to prevent this.

Clean the Lint Filter: After every use, clean the lint filter. Lint build-up restricts airflow, causing the dryer to work harder and potentially overheat.

Check the Venting System: Regularly inspect and clean the dryer’s venting system. This includes the hose that runs from the back of the dryer to the outside vent. Lint and other debris can accumulate in this hose, restricting airflow.

Inspect the External Vent: Ensure the external vent is clear of obstructions like bird nests, lint, or other debris. Also, make sure the vent flap opens freely.

Avoid Overloading: Overloading the dryer can restrict airflow inside the drum, leading to longer drying times and potential overheating.

A realistic depiction of a dryer with signs of poor airflow. The image should show a dryer with a visibly clogged lint filter, full of lint and debris. Additionally, include a blocked or kinked vent hose attached to the dryer, and an external vent clogged with debris. The focus is to visually represent the concept of poor airflow in a dryer, highlighting the common issues like clogged filters and vents that can lead to this problem.

Obstructed Blower Wheel

A realistic depiction of the interior of a dryer drum overloaded with lint and small objects. The image should show a significant amount of lint accumulated inside the dryer, along with common small items like coins, buttons, and paper clips that often get trapped in dryers. This scene should emphasize the need for regular cleaning and maintenance of dryers to prevent such build-up, highlighting a common household maintenance issue in a clear and detailed manner.

Lint or small items caught in the blower wheel can cause dryer overheating. Regular checks are necessary to prevent this.

Defective Cycling Thermostat

This thermostat regulates heat. If faulty, it can lead to dryer overheating. Test with a multimeter for functionality.

Worn Drum Felt Seal

Not as common, but still a potential cause of dryer overheating. Check the seal for wear and tear.

Preventing Dryer Overheating

Preventing dryer overheating involves regular maintenance. This includes cleaning lint filters, checking venting systems, and inspecting key components. If you suspect your dryer is overheating, addressing these issues promptly can prevent more serious problems. Here, at FairApplianceRepair we provide unmatchable service in multiple appliance brands, so we got you covered!


Dryer overheating can be a significant inconvenience and hazard. Understanding the causes and solutions is crucial in maintaining your appliance’s efficiency and safety. Regular checks and maintenance can prevent most instances of dryer overheating, ensuring your dryer runs smoothly and safely. If you’re experiencing dryer overheating, consider these points to diagnose and resolve the issue efficiently.

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