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Why Is My Dryer Not Starting?

A dryer that won't start isn't much use to you at all. It can also be difficult to troubleshoot something that won't turn on and therefore can't provide you with any clues or errors codes. It comes down to some snooping and troubleshooting the components of the dryer and the common reasons they might be failing. There's a few user error reasons a dryer might not start but some are more complex and require a bit more of a professional eye to handle.

Unless you're pretty savvy when it comes to electrical components, most of what can be behind a dryer not starting will require professional help. But it doesn't hurt to try and figure it out to at least make your repair pro's job easier when they come to do some maintenance work. So it's worth safely having a look at your dryer’s electrical workings.

User error

We have to get the obvious out of the way. Make sure the dryer is plugged in. And if the dryer is plugged in, make sure the outlet it's plugged into has power running to it. Many homeowners assume appliances are not working when really an outlet isn't receiving power or a breaker has been tripped. So take a look a this first. Then look at the actual instructions for turning a dryer on and make sure all the buttons and switches are working. It may feel silly but doing this quick check can save you a world of work later.

Control board failure

This can be pretty common on different models so make sure there's no recall or consumer awareness report you should know about when it comes to your dryer. A malfunctioning circuit board may show you an error code which can make it easy to diagnose. But if your model doesn't have this, you'll have to do some digging. Unplug the machine and then remove your dryer's panel, inside you will find the control board. Damage to the control board should be pretty evident (usually as black or gray smudges or as holes where circuits should be). Removing it and replacing it is something a professional with electrical knowledge should handle.

Damaged thermal fuse

Most dryers rely on a thermal fuse to heat the air, similar to the thermal fuse inside your dishwasher. This sits in the exhaust duct and is pretty small. But if it blows then your dryer either won't heat or may not turn on at all. To check on this, go into your dryer's exhaust duct and look for a small bit of plastic or metal houses, about an inch or so big. Inside will be a small fuse, usually covered in black resin. A blown fuse might look obvious, but it also may not and may require you to check the electrical flow to the fuse. For something like this you should call a professional to make sure it is handled safely and completely.

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