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Kenmore Dryer Not Working/Heating/Drying

A Kenmore dryer that doesn’t work can be one of the most frustrating and inconvenient problems in the middle of winter. Without the dryer, clothes can pile up inside the house waiting to dry for days on end. This is something that many Kenmore users have come across, so I decided to write an article outlining what is preventing your dryer from working and how you can fix it.

A Kenmore dryer will not heat with a broken heating element, blown thermal fuse, malfunctioning thermostat, faulty power supply or broken control board. Besides lack of heat, your clothes will also not dry if there is reduced air flow, the clothes do not move or the moisture sensor is broken.

Man showing the dryer

I will cover each of these problems in more detail throughout the article. However, you may find your dryer doesn’t work because the door keeps popping open or it won’t turn off. I have also included these issues below, including why the ‘check filter’ light is always on.

Kenmore Dryer Not Working

Woman checking the dryer

There are many reasons why your dryer may not be working. Below are the key issues people have had with their Kenmore dryers and an outline of what may be causing the issue. These have been explained in more detail throughout the article.

If your Kenmore dryer is not heating or getting hot, you should consider the following. These components are also to blame if the dryer is not blowing hot air.

  • Worn heating element
  • Blown thermal fuse
  • Broken thermostat
  • Faulty power supply
  • Broken control board

If the dryer is not drying your clothes, whether partly or at all, you may need to look into these components of the dryer instead.

  • The dryer is not heating (due to one of the above reasons)
  • There is restricted airflow in the dryer
  • The clothes are not being circulated
  • The moisture sensor is triggering too early

Besides the above issues, there are a few more components that can prevent your dryer from working when they malfunction. These are listed below.

  • A broken door latch will cause the dryer door to keep popping open
  • A broken timer will prevent the dryer from turning off

Kenmore Dryer Not Heating/Getting Hot

Confused woman looking at her clothes

Worn Heating Element

The heating element is what heats the air that circulates within your dryer. This element receives electricity from either side, allowing it to flow through the coils of the element. As electricity flows through the coils, they begin to radiate heat.

The heating element can wear out over time, preventing it from getting hot, even when it has an adequate electrical supply. You can locate this component, which looks like a silver box, at the back of your dryer.

To test the heating element, you should first inspect for physical damage. You can then test the element for continuity by using a multimeter. If there is no continuity of electricity through the heating element, this is the cause of your dryer not getting hot and you will need to replace it.

Blown Thermal Fuse or Broken Thermostats

The thermal fuse, high limit thermostat and cycling thermostat are all located close to the heating element in your dryer’s electrical circuit. These components are all able to cut the power to the heating element if temperatures get too high.

Because of where they are positioned in the circuit, the dryer will actually still run if these have been activated. This means that, in the time your dryer has been tumbling the clothes, only cool air was being circulated throughout the drum.

The thermal fuse is the easiest component to replace and it is useful to have a spare one on hand anyway, so this would be a good place to start. If this is not the issue, you may need to replace the cycling thermostat or the high limit thermostat.

Faulty Power Supply

As mentioned above, the heating element receives power from both sides. This power is drawn from the two prongs of the power cable, both receiving 120V each.

One of these supply circuits is connected directly to the earthing line and also runs through the motor, whereas the other goes straight to the heating element. For this reason, if the first line of electricity is broken, none of the dryer components will work. However, if the second line of electricity is broken, the dryer will still run and the heating element will not heat up.

This can occur after a power outage or if the breaker is tripped. You can check your breaker first, but you may also need to test the voltage of each leg of the electrical socket to determine if one is malfunctioning. You can do this with a multimeter, but you may need an electrician to fix it.

Broken Control Board

Another possibility is that the control board is broken, which can affect any component of the dryer. The control or circuit board contains many tiny electrical circuits that are used to turn different parts of the dryer on and off at the right time. If the circuits for the heating element have shorted or become damaged, the heating element will not work.

Kenmore Dryer Not Drying Clothes

putting clothes in dryer

A dryer needs air flow, heat and movement of the clothes within the drum to adequately dry your clothes. If any one of these elements to the drying process does not occur, your clothes will not dry in the allocated amount of time.

No Heat

Heat is an essential part to drying your clothes, which is why the heating element is such an important part of your Kenmore dryer. Without it, the air flowing through the dryer would be cold. This is about as effective as if you had hung them out to dry on a cold and cloudy day.

You can determine whether this is the issue simply by feeling the clothes after the drying cycle. If they are cold, there is something wrong with the heating mechanism within the dryer. Reasons for this issue can be found above.

Restricted Air Flow

Air flow is another important element to drying your clothes because this not only brings hot air from the heating element into the dryer drum, but it also carries humid air out of the dryer. Removing the moisture is just as important as drawing in the heat.

When the air flow is restricted in your dryer, you will notice that your clothes are warm after the cycle, but still damp. You may even notice that the exhaust vent does not produce as much air. Regardless, there are two ways that the air flow can become restricted in your dryer.

Firstly, the blower wheel that pushes the hot air into the dryer drum can become dusty or covered in excess lint. The sleeve of the blower wheel can also wear out, causing it to wobble when rotating. Either of these scenarios can reduce the effectiveness of the blower wheel, reducing airflow.

Secondly, the airflow can become restricted from exiting the dryer drum. This is incredibly common because this occurs when lint builds up in the lint folder of extraction tubing. You should clean the lint filter after every use and clear out the extraction tubing at least once per year.

No Movement of the Clothes

The reason your dryer drum rotates during the drying cycle is that the clothes need to be tossed around to allow air to flow through each garment. If the drum does not rotate, the clothes lay in a heap on the bottom of the drum. In this scenario, only the clothes at the top of the pile would be exposed to the warm air and have a chance of drying.

You should notice if your dryer drum is not tumbling, but you may also have overloaded the drum. Having too many clothes in the dryer during a cycle can restrict the air flow and prevent the clothes from drying.

The Dryer is Not on For Long Enough

Another uncommon possibility is that you did give the dryer timer enough time for the machine to dry your clothes. Large, bulky items, or a full load, will take longer to dry than the average garment of clothing or a smaller load. Make sure you allocate enough time for these heavier loads to dry, or set the dryer to turn off automatically instead (if your model allows it).

Kenmore Dryer Not Drying Clothes Completely

Man felt stink

Any of the issues mentioned above can prevent your clothes from drying completely. Of the three problems, restricted airflow is the problem that will still dry your clothes to an extent, but not completely. However, there can also be an issue with the moisture sensor, which I will explain below.

Check the Moisture Sensor

Some Kenmore dryers have an in-built moisture sensor. This sensor detects when the clothes are dry by measuring the moisture content within the air in the dryer. Once the air is dry, the moisture sensor will send a signal to the control board to turn off the dryer.

If this sensor is malfunctioning and triggering too early, the clothes will still be damp. In this instance, there are no issues with the airflow, heating mechanism or rotation of the dryer drum. The cycle has simply been stopped too early, such as if you had set the timer for less time than what was needed.

You should be able to see the moisture sensor inside the dryer drum at the back. You can remove this by taking off the rear panel of the dryer, disconnecting the sensor and twisting the metal fastener.

Kenmore Dryer Not Blowing Hot Air

putting clothes

As mentioned above, there are a number of reasons why your dryer may not be blowing hot air, but these all relate to the heating element not heating up. Reasons for this include the following.

  • The heating element has worn out
  • The thermal fuse has blown
  • One of the thermostats is broken
  • The power supply is faulty
  • The circuit board is broken

The most common cause of these issues is problems with the thermal fuse or thermostats. You can test if the thermal fuse has blown by bypassing it in the circuit and testing the dryer’s air temperature.

You can bypass the fuse by removing the two wires from the fuse and taping them together (with electrical tape). If the dryer blows hot air, this indicates that the fuse was the problem and you will need to replace it. You should not bypass the thermal fuse for extended periods of time as this can be a fire hazard.

To test either of the thermostats, you will need to remove the thermostat from the dryer and test it with a multimeter. You should have no resistance through the thermostat for it to be working correctly. You can also use a multimeter to check the heating element for continuity.

Kenmore Dryer Door Keeps Popping Open

putting clothes

The door to your dryer will keep popping open if the door latch is broken. This can be frustrating because the dryer will stop every time the door opens like this.

If this is happening to you, you will need to replace the latch on your dryer door. To replace the latch, you need to remove the dryer door by taking it off its hinges. This will allow you to see the door latch clearly.

Once you have located the latch mechanism, use needle-nose pliers to remove the old latch. The new latch should click into the open space where you removed the old one.

Kenmore Dryer Keeps Saying Check Filter

Pressing start in dryer

All Kenmore Dryers have a reminder to check your lint filter. On some models, this comes on automatically after each load to remind you to clean the filter. The filter needs to be cleaned after each load to prevent lint from building up, which can restrict air flow in the dryer.

Unfortunately, if your dryer has an automatic reminder light, you cannot turn this off manually; it will only turn off once the dryer has started another cycle. It is a normal function of the machine and will come on, regardless of whether or not the filter is clean. There is no sensor to detect when the lint filter is actually full.

To clean your lint filter, you will need to remove the lint screen from the top of the dryer. Most lint can simply be gathered and removed from the filter with your fingers. However, if your filter needs a more thorough clean, you can clean it with water.

If cleaning thoroughly, make sure to remove excess lint first. Then submerge the lint filter in warm, soapy water and wash with a soft brush. Once the filter is clean, rinse it and dry with a towel before putting it back in the dryer.

If your dryer’s ‘Check Filter’ light does not turn off at all, then there may be a connection problem between the light and the main control board. You can check the wiring is secure from the control board to the control panel. Otherwise, you may need to replace the control board if it is bothering you.

Kenmore Dryer Will Not Turn Off

Pressing start in dryer

A Kenmore dryer is usually turned on for a designated amount of time using the timer dial. Once the dial reaches ‘0’, the dryer will automatically turn off. If there is something wrong with the dryer timer, the dryer may not turn off.

The two main reasons why the timer will not turn your dryer off is that the dial never reaches ‘0’ or the signal is not being sent to the control board. You should notice whether or not the dial turns towards ‘0’ during a cycle. If it does not, this indicates that the small motor within the timer dial is no longer working.

If the dial reaches ‘0’, but your dryer still will not turn off, a switch behind the timer may be broken, or the circuit may have shorted. You can try turning your dryer off at the wall and waiting at least five minutes before plugging it back in to try to reset the dryer. Otherwise, you may need to replace the timer.

The timer mechanism can be accessed behind the control panel where the timer dial is located. You will need to remove the small panels either side of the control panel before removing the screws at the back. Once the screws behind the control panel have been removed, you can pull the front of the control panel forwards to reveal the timer mechanism.