Why Does a Dryer Overheat?

Why Does A Dryer Overheat

Having issues with your clothes dryer overheating? An overheated dryer can damage fabrics, cause a fire hazard, and lead to a breakdown of the appliance itself. But what exactly causes a dryer to get too hot? Read on as we explain the most common culprits behind dryer overheating and how to diagnose and address them.

Why is My Dryer Overheating and Shutting Off?

Excessive heat during the drying cycle is one of the top reasons clothes dryers malfunction. But overheating doesn’t just lead to the dryer shutting itself off – it can also scorch your laundry, produce burning smells, and heighten the risk of a fire.

When you notice any of these warning signs, it’s crucial to pinpoint the cause of the overheating and remedy it promptly. Keep reading to discover the main causes of dryers overheating and how to troubleshoot them.

Clogged Dryer Ventilation

The number one reason a clothes dryer overheats is inadequate airflow. When airflow within the dryer is obstructed, the hot air produced has nowhere to escape. Airflow problems commonly arise from:

  • Clogged dryer vents - Lint and debris buildup within the vent pipes prevent hot air from exiting. Annual dryer vent cleaning is essential;
  • Blocked exhaust duct - Dryer ducts can become crushed or filled with lint. Check ducts for obstructions;
  • Bent dryer vent hose - Kinks in the flexible metal vent hose can restrict airflow. Inspect the hose carefully;
  • Clogged lint screen - Clean the lint screen after each and every drying cycle;
  • Damaged blower fan - The dryer’s blower fan pushes the hot air out. If damaged, airflow is reduced.

Regularly inspecting and cleaning the dryer venting and lint screens is the best way to prevent airflow problems. But if overheating issues pop up, examining the venting should be the first troubleshooting step.

Heating Element Failure

Within electric dryers, the heating element generates the heat needed to dry the clothing. Over time, the heating element can warp, dislodge from its fittings, or touch other components. Any of these scenarios can lead to overheating.

Carefully inspect the heating element for signs of damage. Use a multimeter to check it for continuity – if there’s no continuous circuit, it needs replacement. On gas dryers, the burner assembly heats the air instead, but improper burner operation can also cause overheating.

Thermostat Malfunction

The cycling thermostat and high-limit thermostat regulate the dryer’s internal temperature. The cycling thermostat turns the heat on and off to maintain the proper temperature. The high-limit thermostat shuts off power if the dryer overheats.

If either thermostat fails, it can lead to excess heat buildup. Use a multimeter to test both thermostats and replace any faulty ones. Be sure to consult your owner's manual for the proper temperature ratings.

Moisture Sensor Issues

Many dryers have a moisture sensor that detects when clothes are dry and automatically shuts off the machine. But if this sensor gets coated in fabric softener residue, it can give false readings and allow overheating to occur. Clean the sensor gently and test operation. If issues persist, replace the faulty part.

Other Causes of Dryer Overheating

Some other potential causes of clothes dryer overheating include:

  • Worn drum seals - Allow hot air to leak from the drum;
  • Damaged blower fan - Reduces airflow as described above;
  • Defective control board - Can fail to properly regulate temperature;
  • Wrong vent hose length - Too long or short causes airflow problems;
  • Outdated/weak circuit breaker - Can fail to trip when the dryer overheats.

Carefully inspecting your dryer and its venting can help you determine what allows overheating to happen. Diagnose the specific cause before attempting repairs.

How Can I Prevent My Dryer From Overheating?

While periodic dryer vent cleaning is the best prevention against overheating, you can also:

  • Clean the lint filter after each load;
  • Avoid overloading the dryer drum;
  • Allow proper clearance behind and around the dryer;
  • Use lower heat settings whenever possible;
  • Limit drying cycles to 30-40 minutes;
  • Have your dryer serviced annually.

Following the manufacturer’s usage guidelines can also help minimize the chances of excess heat buildup occurring.

When to Call a Dryer Repair Professional

If your DIY troubleshooting efforts don’t successfully resolve your dryer’s overheating problems, then it’s time to call a professional repair technician. The experts at RC Appliance Repair, renowned for their excellent Dryer Repair Riverside services, have the skills, expertise, and tools to diagnose and fix overheating issues promptly.

Contact our factory-authorized service company and avoid delays waiting for specialized parts. With RC Appliance Repair's exceptional dryer repair Riverside service, you can stop the overheating, prevent further damage, and rest easy knowing your dryer has been restored to safe operation. Don’t put it off!


Excessive dryer heat can lead to damaged fabrics, breakdowns, and fire hazards. Clogged vents, faulty thermostats, and broken heating elements are common culprits. Inspect and clean your dryer vents and lint screens regularly to prevent most overheating problems. If issues persist, contact a professional appliance repair service for prompt diagnosis and repairs. With proper dryer maintenance and immediate attention to any overheating, you can extend the life of your clothes dryer and prevent catastrophe.

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