Whirlpool makes a range of electric, gas, front-loader, and top-loader dryers. If your dryer is heating but heating slowly, it is most likely because of a lint blockage. If the dryer is not heating at all, it is most likely because of a fault with the heating element or thermal fuse, which should be tested with a multimeter and replaced if found to be faulty. Follow this guide for instructions and other possible reasons why your Whirlpool dryer is not heating.
Blocked Lint Screen
If your Whirlpool dryer is still heating but heating slowly and generally doing a poor job of drying your clothes, cleaning out the lint screen may solve your heating issue. When the lint screen is blocked up, the moisture in the air stays in the dryer drum longer, causing the dryer to take longer to dry your clothes. A blocked-up lint screen can also cause lint to block up other parts of your dryer, so make sure it is emptied regularly.
Blown Thermal Fuse
If your heating element is working, another common reason for a Whirlpool dryer not heating is the thermal fuse. The thermal fuse is a safety device designed to prevent your dryer from catching fire. On newer models, if the dryer temperature exceeds a certain level, the thermal fuse is tripped, and the dryer stops working. On older models, the dryer may continue to work but without producing heat. If you determine the thermal fuse is at fault, make sure to determine what caused it to blow and fix the issue.
Some dryer repair shops advocate bypassing the thermal fuse by adding a jumper wire. While this method does determine whether the fuse is bad, it is too easy to forget to remove the jumper and replace the thermal fuse. Instead, remove the wire leads from the thermal fuse and set a multitester to its lowest RX setting. Touch the tester’s probes to each terminal on the fuse. A reading of infinity indicates the thermal fuse is good. Any other reading means the fuse has triggered and must be replaced.
Thermal fuses are required on all dryers built since the 1980s. A thermal fuse acts like a switch when dryer exhaust temperatures climb too high. Should temperatures exceed normal loads, the thermal fuse triggers and shuts down the dryer, which helps prevent fires. However, a thermal fuse is a one-time device. Once it triggers, it must be replaced. After you access the device, testing a thermal fuse is a quick procedure. Before turning the dryer back on again, troubleshoot what caused the thermal fuse to trigger, and correct the problem.
Before turning the power back on to the dryer, inspect the appliance and troubleshoot the reasons the thermal fuse triggered. Check the dryer exhaust for lint build up or an obstruction that may have caused a rise in temperature. Make sure the blower motor turns easily without binding. Some repair shops replace the dryer cycling thermostat anytime they replace a thermal fuse. These devices are located near the fuse, and often trigger the thermal fuse when they fail.
Sometimes, the drum on a Whirpool dryer continues to operate even after the thermal fuse triggers. The clothes don’t get dry because the fuse shuts off the heating element. On other models, the dryer will not come on at all. Turn off the power to the dryer by unplugging it from the wall, or by tripping the breaker switch at the home’s main electrical panel. Remove the back access panel on the dryer, and look for the exhaust duct near the bottom of the unit. The thermal fuse is either circular or oblong, often white plastic with black material in the center and two wire leads. The thermal fuse is mounted on the exhaust duct.
Robert Korpella has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a certified Master Naturalist, regularly monitors stream water quality and is the editor of freshare.net, a site exploring the Ozarks outdoors. Korpellas work has appeared in a variety of publications. He holds a bachelors degree from the University of Arkansas.