How To Repair A Dryer That's Getting Too Hot

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Cycling Thermostat

If your gas or electric dryer is getting too hot, it may be the fault of an old or defective cycling thermostat. This part governs the temperature of the dryer drum by opening when the drum gets to the right temperature and thus breaking the electrical flow to the heater or gas burner. Then when the drum cools, the cycling thermostat closes, power can run through it, and the heater or burner is switched back on. You’ll find the cycling thermostat in the internal airflow ducting, generally on the housing of the blower. Sometimes you can solve the problem just by unplugging the dryer and cleaning the cycling thermostat thoroughly. Since the correct way to test whether the cycling thermostat is advancing the timer is with the dryer actually running, a test on this part should only be done by a service technician. If you truly do not want to pay for repair work, you can eliminate all the other potential sources of air flow trouble (in your drum seals, blower wheel, vent, drive motor and thermostats) and then just replace the cycling thermostat if all else is fine. This part might cost less than a technician’s visit.

High Limit Thermostat

If the exhaust vent on your dryer is restricted or blocked, the hot air will be confined in the dryer and the high limit thermostat attached to the heating chamber will trip and stop the electricity from flowing to the gas valve or heating element. It’s meant to do this as a safety feature to prevent overheating but if the vent restriction is not corrected, repeated cycling of the high limit thermostat may cause it to fail such that it no longer prevents overheating. Clear the vent restriction before replacing the thermostat to ensure that your dryer operates safely.


If you have a late-model dryer, it may have a solid-state device to keep correct temperatures in the dryer drum. This thermistor usually would be connected to the housing of the blower. It will have varied resistance as the temperature fluctuates. The resistance level of the thermistor gets monitored by the electronic control board to send energy via a relay to control the heater/burner. So the electronic control board may not be sending correct signals to the heat source if your thermistor is broken or dirty. And then your dryer would get too hot. If you have a fault code showing on your electronic dryer, look the code up in the fault code glossary we’ve provided. If your dryer doesn’t display a fault code, check the diagram in the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website to discover the correct thermistor resistance at room temperature. Then use your multi-meter to test the contacts on the thermistor. Just don’t forget to unplug the dryer first.

Exhaust Vent

Does the top of your dryer feel hotter than usual? It could be due to a blocked vent. A restriction in the exhaust vent reduces air flow. The rising temperature inside the dryer will make the top of the dryer feel hot and it will also usually trip the high limit thermostat. Then the electricity will no longer flow to the heating element and your clothes will need more time to dry. Unplug the dryer, detach the exhaust vent, and clean it out if it is full of debris. Also check the exterior vent cap to make sure that it opens fully when the dryer is running. Then check the section in this guide on the high limit thermostat to see if yours needs replacement.

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