GE Dryer Not Heating up or Too Hot and Then Shuts Off

GE Dryer Not Heating up or Too Hot and Then Shuts Off

In many homes, the dryer is used multiple times per week. Given how often it is in use, it is not uncommon to find issues with your unit. Luckily, there are a number of resources available to help troubleshoot. But when dealing with a GE dryer that is not heating properly, can you really do-it-yourself?

If your GE dryer is not heating or becoming too hot and powering down, you should first check the vent for blockages. This can be the primary cause of a number of issues. With this clear, you will need to take the unit apart to go on to test the heating elements, fuses, timers and thermostats for damage or faults. 

In this article we will explore the most common reasons as to why your GE dryer is not heating up, not drying clothes, or overheating. We will also look at what you can do at home to fix these issues. 

GE Dryer Heating Issues

GE Dryer Heating Issues

If your GE dryer is not heating up, or not getting hot enough to dry your clothes, there are a few common causes you should look into before calling for a service: 

  • Blocked vent
  • Faulty heating element
  • Broken thermostat
  • Blown thermal fuse
  • Defective timer
  • Full lint trap
  • Issues with the cycle thermostat

In many cases, the reason behind your heat issues with your dryer is a single defective component. By testing and changing this one thing, you can often solve the issue without having to replace the whole unit.

What You Can Do

Before you do any tests or checks of your dryer, always ensure the unit is unplugged and completely powered down. If your dryer has a steam feature, also be sure to unplug the water supply in the back of the unit. 

Always ensure you check and clean the lint trap, as this can cause blockages and internal issues if left to accumulate for too long. This is often the reason that the vent becomes blocked. 

Check Your Vent

A blocked vent is the most common cause of heat issues and long dry times for most dryers. The vent is attached to the back of the unit and is used to express moisture created through the drying cycle. If clogged, you will see problems with heat and wet clothes. 

In some cases, the vent can become bent, which will allow moisture and dust to build up in the creases. Try to make sure your dryer vent is clear and not compressed behind the unit. 

You can clean the vent by carefully removing the tube from the back of the unit and from the wall. Visually inspect before using a vacuum or long brush to clear away anything that may have become lodged inside. 

You should also check the spot from which the vent leaves your home. It is not uncommon to find leaves and other debris stuck in the exhaust. 

A clogged dryer vent can actually be the cause of the following issues as well. Before checking any of the other common causes mentioned below, check the vent for debris and aim to keep it as clear as possible.

Check the Heating Element

The heating element is used to warm the air before it is pushed into the drum. If this element is faulty, the air will not heat properly, if at all. GE dryers have two elements so you may feel some warmth even after one has blown. 

Using your user manual as a guide, you can test these elements using a multimeter, though it is not overly easy to access:

  1. Unplug the unit
  2. Remove the top by unscrewing the screws near the door
  3. Remove the front by unscrewing and lifting up and towards you
  4. Pull on the belt gently until it gives and you can move it to the side
  5. Remove the tub by carefully sliding out the front
  6. Check with your manual diagram so you know you have the right part
  7. Visually inspect the elements for any signs of damage
  8. If no damage is visible, check each with the multimeter
  9. If the elements are in working order, you should see a continual current between the terminals

In the event you find one of the elements has blown, you can find and replace it yourself in just a few steps:

  1. Starting from the last point, with the dryer already broken down, locate the element on the back wall and unscrew the assembly but do not remove completely
  2. Take a picture of the wires so you have a reference when you go to replace it
  3. Now remove the screws completely and pull the unit from the dryer
  4. Replace the element with a new replacement, securing the wires per the picture you took
  5. Secure the assembly in place
  6. Check that everything is in working order using your multimeter
  7. Reassemble the dryer
  8. Once reassembled, run a test cycle to check that everything is working

Check the High Limit Thermostat

If there is a fault with the thermostat, it will likely be cutting out heat to your dryer. This component acts as a safety measure, shutting off the dryer if it begins to overheat. A fault here can cause the thermostat to shut the heat off, even when the dryer is not too hot.

The thermostat can be checked and tested in the same way as the heating element. Use the user manual to ensure you have the correct part. Test the unit using your multimeter. You are looking for continuity. If you don’t get a continuous reading, the thermostat will need to be replaced. 

Check the Fuse

Another safety feature, the thermal fuse is another method of preventing your dryer from overheating. It can often be found at the dryer’s heat source and will shut the heat off if the dryer becomes too hot. 

As with the heating element and thermostat, this can be tested using a multimeter. Once again, you are looking for a continuous electrical path. Otherwise it will need to be replaced. 

Check the Cycling Thermostat

This thermostat monitors and adjusts the temperature within the dryer. It will switch the heat on or off depending on the internal temperature during the drying cycle. If this element fails, you may find that the dryer will run, but that the air will not warm up.

In order to test this part, follow the steps above to take your dryer apart, removing the drum also. It will be located near or attached to the blower housing:

  1. Using the diagram in your user guide, locate the cycling thermostat 
  2. Take a picture of the wires before inscrewing and removing the unit
  3. Test the part as described above using a multimeter
  4. If the readings are bad, install the replacement 
  5. Secure it to the housing and insert the wires using the picture taken earlier
  6. Reassemble the dryer and run a test cycle

GE Dryer Too Hot and Shuts Off

GE Dryer Too Hot and Shuts Off

If you are finding that your dryer is heating up too much and subsequently powering down, there are a few common causes that you can fix at home, many of which we have already covered:

  • Faulty heating element
  • Blocked vent
  • Issues with the cycle thermostat
  • Broken thermostat
  • Blown thermal fuse

However, one cause we have not yet covered is a damaged or broken blower wheel or motor. This part is used to blow air into the dryer drum during a drying cycle, and can often become blocked with excess lint, socks and small items that have become loose. 

In addition, the part can actually wear out over time, causing the unit to move and damage the motor. 

What You Can Do

An easy way to test the blower wheel is to remove the vent from the back of your dryer while a cycle is running. Carefully place your hand near the opening to assess the air flow. If it is weak, you will need to look closer for potential obstructions. 

Following the above guide on how to break your dryer down, you can access the blower wheel and motor from the front at the bottom of the unit. You will need to take the dryer apart and remove the drum.

Inspect and clean the blower wheel for damage and blockages. You can usually tell if it is at fault because it will shake or move when touched.

Next, check the motor using your multimeter. If needed, replace the unit carefully after thoroughly cleaning the blower wheel. 

In the video below, you can see a detailed explanation of how to locate and replace the blower wheel and motor:

Final Thoughts

If your GE dryer is not heating up, not hot enough to dry your clothes, or becoming too hot and shutting itself down, there is likely a simple internal fault at play. Whether a damaged thermostat, or blown fuse, you can often test and replace these broken parts. 

Always be sure to unplug your dryer before performing any tests and if you do not feel comfortable taking your dryer apart, call a repairman for a service. 

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