whirlpool dryer blows cold air

jvmagicFebruary 17, 2009

Hello,

I have 3 yr old whirlpool dryer that has stopped drying our clothes. I have checked the lint trap and the vent hose which are not plugged.

what are some of the steps to take now? It is an electric dryer.

thanks in advance,

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somonica

This happened to me before.....

Have you check the fuse on the panel yet?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 7:53PM
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jvmagic

sorry for the ignorant question but what are the steps in checking the fuse?

thanks

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 8:15PM
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dadoes

Your household fuse or breaker panel. Electric dryers run on 220v, which is two 110v circuits. If your house is wired with fuses, the fuse on one of the 110v circuits could blow, resulting the dryer's motor running but the heating element not. Same for breakers, one breaker could trip leaving the dryer's motor running but not the heat. The two breakers are usually ganged together so if one trips they both trip ... but not always.

Checking just the vent hose for clogs between the dryer and wall may not be sufficient. You need to check all the way through the exhaust duct to where it exits outside. However, if the machine is running, tumbling the clothes and they're completely cold after several minutes, it's definitely not heating and a clogged exhaust won't cause that directly.

A 3-year-old dryer should have a non-resettable thermal fuse as part of its overheat protection. If the exhaust clogged or the operating thermostat failed and the machine overheated, the thermal fuse would blow and require replacement, after fixing whatever caused the overheating. However, in most cases the dryer is completely dead if the thermal fuse blows.

Other causes of not heating would be a bad timer, a bad temperature selection switch, a bad operating thermostat, a bad high-limit thermostat (which is separate from the aforementioned thermal fuse), or a burned-out heating element. The heating element should last longer than 3 years. Premature failure of heating elements is often caused by constant overheating due to a clogged exhaust.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 10:05PM
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jvmagic

I inspected the breaker panel and did not see any tripped breakers.
what is the next step in detail please?

thanks in advance

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:44PM
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dadoes

You did flip the dryer breakers off and back on, yes? A tripped breaker doesn't always "look" tripped. A breaker can also go bad and not close the circuit even when it's flipped to on.

The next step would be disassemble the dryer and check the components that I outlined previously.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:42PM
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jvmagic

dadoes,
I did reset the breakers.
I have take photos of the components behind the dryer. could you please point out which I should test/replace (how)?
I truly appreciate your help.
Hope these photos can help you assist me further.

[IMG]http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s54/jvmagic/dryer/IMG_2420.jpg[/IMG]

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 12:04AM
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jvmagic

ttt

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:50PM
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dadoes

Do you have a volt/ohm meter?

If so, confirm there's voltage across the power cord terminals.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 4:52PM
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dadoes

There's apparently not a separate temperature selector. High and low temp is integrated in the timer cycle settings?

Or is that a temp selector at the left side, with push-to-start being part of the timer knob?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 4:57PM
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dadoes

Make SURE dryer is UNPLUGGED!

Set your volt/ohm meter on ohms at the highest scale.

Remove one wire (blue and red) from each component, check for continuity across the component terminals (blue-blue, red-red). If the meter reads 0, it's good. If the needle doesn't move, reads infinity, it's bad.

The thermal fuse likely is good, the dryer usually wouldn't run at all if it's not.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:18PM
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dadoes

Same as previous, remove one wire from each component, check for continuity.

You can pull all the wires and remove the element housing, slide the element out of the housing and visually inspect if it's broken.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:23PM
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jvmagic

dadoes,

you the man......WOW. I truly appreciate the time and detail you put into this.
the temp selector at the left side (push-to-start)is part of the timer knob.
is there anything else I need to look at on the right hand side of the dryer (I noticed all testing is done on the left side). I don't mean to question you but better yet, want to educate myself.

thank you soooooo much

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:36PM
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jvmagic

ooppppppps, you did mention the other side. sorry about that.

where do you suggest I purchase the faulty parts?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:28PM
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dadoes

I've used these online sources. There are others.
www.searspartsdirect.com
www.partstap.com
www.repairclinic.com

The thermal fuses shouldn't blow unless something else fails. The operating thermostat is supposed to trigger first of course to maintain the correct drying temp. The high-limit triggers if airflow is blocked and the element overheats. So theory goes that if either of the thermal fuses is blown then the operating thermostat (and/or the high-limit) is also bad.

The thermostats are bi-metals. They can also be tested by placing face-down in an electric skillet or a skillet on a stove and heating, testing with an ohmmeter if they cut-out. You'll hear a faint click. If it clicks, but still tests with continuity (doesn't cut the circuit), then it's bad.

The operating thermostat likely has a bias heater that mounts around the disc, activated by the temperature switch for lower heat settings, tricking it into triggering at lower than the rated temperature. The bias heater isn't involved in your no-heat situation, this is just additional info. Earlier designs had multiple operating thermostats, each one triggering at a specific temp (125°F, 145°F, etc.) for lower temps. Bi-metals are typically stamped or labeled with their cut-out temp and differential. L155-20 for example would mean it turns the heat off at 155°F and back on at 135°F.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 7:23PM
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jvmagic

Hi,
All voltages checked out fine.

on the thermal fuse, I removed one blue wire and then set my meter to continuity, touched both terminals and there was continuity (beeped)...there was some clicking but don't know if it's because I did not touch the prongs properly on the terminals.

on the operating thermostat I removed one red wire, set my meter to continuity, touch the other red wired terminal and there was continuity (beeped)

I did not remove the purple wires but when I check for continuity across both purple terminals, there was no continuity (no beeping) Since you did not mention the purple wires I suppose they are
not to be tested this way.

on the upper thermal fuse, I removed one red wire and then set my meter to continuity, touched both terminals and there was continuity (beeped)

the high limit thermostat has two terminals (the bottom terminal touches an element terminal as well)
on this component, I removed the upper wire (red) and checked for continuity with the other terminal (which is also connected to the element terminal) and there was continuity (beeped)

on the element terminals which has three terminals (the one closest to the inside of the dryer does not have a wire) I removed the red wire (seen in photo) and check for continuity with the two other terminals and there was no continuity (no beeping). I tested the non-wired terminal with the top terminal (orange wire) and there was continuity (even with the orange wire removed.
no continuity when testing the non-wired terminal with the red wired terminal (red wire on or off).

Hope I did this correctly.

Please advice?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:41PM
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dadoes

Seems the element is suspect. I'd pull the element housing and remove the element from it for a direct exam. Disconnect all the wires (make note where they connect). Unscrew the anchor strap at the top. The housing then lifts up and off two hooks at the bottom. There should be one screw on back of the housing to remove, then the element frame pulls out from the bottom.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:43AM
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jvmagic

I forgot to mention that one of the prongs that connects to the outlet has a slight burnt look to it (some black powder; slight ordor)....I forget if this is the old plug from our older dryer we use to own. does this indicate anything in this case?
thanks

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 2:11AM
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dadoes

Possibly ... check for 110/220 volts at the outlet. Could be a questionable/damaged outlet and/or cord. Perhaps the outlet and cord should be replaced. Did you confirm voltage at the cord terminal block in the dryer? It has to be plugged in of course to check that ... be careful!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 2:53AM
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jvmagic

I did cofirm the voltage at the terminal block in the dryer. should I still check the 110/220 at the outlet?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 11:36AM
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dadoes

Shouldn't be necessary, as the voltage at the dryer would have to come from the outlet and cord. I'd still visually check the outlet and consider replacing it and the cord.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 5:01PM
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suburbanmd

Was the dryer running when you checked the terminal block voltage? If the socket isn't making good contact with the plug (as indicated by burnt spot), you might have good voltage when the dryer isn't running. But when it's running and drawing current, the resistance at the socket will drop the voltage.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 5:52PM
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jvmagic

suburbanmd,
the dryer was not running. should I confirm voltage while running at the terminals behind the dryer?

~jv

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 6:31PM
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jvmagic

dadoes,

I replaced the element ($38~ shipped )and it did the trick. Thank You so much for such detail and time behind this.

Can you shoot me an email off-line at jvaldez_32@hotmail.com

~jv

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 12:31AM
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