Alternatively, you might be considering replacing it without a specific reason. Is it worth the investment, and what are the signs that indicate it’s time for a replacement? Additionally, you might be curious about the cost involved in replacing this part.
We will address these questions to help you make an informed decision on whether or not the heating element in your dryer should be replaced.
What is a Heating Element in a Dryer?
The heating element is essentially a part of the electric dryer only; a gas dryer doesn’t have this specific component. The heating element in the electric dryer is responsible for heating the air inside the dryer drum.
It is connected to two legs of alternating voltage, each leg providing 120V. When you set the timer and heat on the dryer control panel, the two 120V currents reach the heating element and trigger the element to heat the air.
So when the heating element gets burnt out or defective, it won’t generate any heat, or less heat, which won’t be enough. So, a defective heating element can thwart the dryer’s primary function.
When Does a Heating Element Need Replacement?
It would be best if you replaced the heating element that is damaged, burnt out, or malfunctioning. When it happens, you should realize that the loads of clothes that you put into the dryer are still wet and didn’t dry after multiple cycles.
It doesn’t appear to be any issues with the machine; everything seems to be functioning properly. The drum is rotating, and the washing cycle is finishing, but the clothes inside the dryer remain damp. In that situation, you should understand that the heating element or its related devices is most probably damaged and needs to be replaced.
To check further, you should test the functionality of the heating element and conduct voltage tests on components associated with the heating system, including thermostats.
Here is the step-by-step process to text voltage test the heating element and other corresponding devices.
Power Off the Dryer
Ensure the power is off by unplugging the dryer from the power source or flipping the circuit breaker to the off position.
Locate the Heating Element
This part is quite challenging. You have to have a strong DIY muscle and some electrical knowledge to complete this part. If you don’t have proper knowledge and experience, don’t move on to do it, and better hand over the task to a pro.
In this step, you need to access the heating element to perform a test on it. You have to do a bit of hard work to access the heating element and its electrical system. First, read your owner’s manual carefully to know which part of the dryer is to be removed to gain access to the heating element. Depending on the model and manufacturer, you may need to remove the rear, top, or front panels.
However, most modern dryers have removable front panels that give you access to the heating element. The process might require removing screws, clips, or bolts to access the heating element.
Multimeter Test of Heating Element
Once you’ve opened the dryer, you will find the thermostats and thermal cutoff fuse. They are usually located near the heating element. The number and placement may vary depending on the dryer’s make and model.
Before you test the element:
- Remove the components from the dryer.
- Check the continuity of the two thermostats and the thermal cutoff fuse.
- If you find the continuity in these components, proceed to check the continuity of the heating element.
If the heating element does not test positive for continuity, the problem lies within the heating element. It may be because the electrical path within the heating element is broken, and the heating element is burned out. So, the heating element is due for replacement.
Remember, if any of these four components is defective or fails the continuity test in the multimeter, the dryer may not heat.
Inspect the Heating Element for Visual Damage
You can also check the condition of the heating element visually. A heating element can wear out with use. However, when you overstuff the dryer during each cycle, don’t clean the lint screen timely, and not having the correct vent and enough ventilation in the room can reduce the lifespan of the heating element.
Placing the dryer in a humid room without proper ventilation and a poorly installed venting system can cause some serious problems in the dryer, including the increased chance of condensation.
What is the Typical Lifespan of a Heating Element in a Dryer?
If you follow or maintain the customary guidelines for using the dryer, you can expect a heating element to last as long as 15 years. Some standard practices to keep the dryer in best order are:
- Keeping the dryer in a well-ventilated area.
- Avoid overloading the dryer, which puts too much strain on the heating element.
- Make sure the dryer vent is installed with few or no bends at all. Each 90-degree bend at any point of the rigid exhaust vent subtracts 8 feet from the 40-foot limit.
- Clean out all the debris and buildup from the dryer vent at least once a year. Besides, the clogged dryer vent increases the risk of fire hazards.
- Use the coolest setting possible. Using lower heat settings is easier on the heating element and can extend its life. Only use high heat when necessary.
Replace the heating element at the first sign of failure. Trying to prolong the life of a failing heating element will only lead to bigger problems down the line.
How Much a Heating Element in a Dryer Does Cost?
There are different types of heating elements, and the price of each varies significantly. Besides, the brand, model, and location can also influence the price significantly. One important fact is heating elements are unique in design to each dryer model. So, ultimately, the cost of replacing the heating element depends on the model and design of your dryer.
Without considering the labor cost, the price of only heating element parts can vary a lot, ranging from only $30 to $180. OEM heating elements from the original manufacturer tend to be the most expensive.
On the other hand, third-party/aftermarket generic heating elements tend to be the least expensive, costing in the range of $25-$60 on average. You can find these generic replacements online or at appliance parts stores.
Another important aspect to consider is whether you will replace the part or allocate the job to an electrician. If you do it by yourself, it is something easy nut to crack. You only need to be careful in every step. If you lack confidence and experience with electrical work, you’ll want to call a pro who will charge you between $50 and $100 an hour.
The final question to address is whether it’s worth replacing a heating element. The answer primarily depends on the condition of your dryer’s heating element. If it’s functioning correctly, there’s no need to replace it.
However, if you detect any defects or issues with it, it’s essential not to ignore these problems. A faulty heating element can significantly impact the dryer’s performance and potentially lead to other issues. For your information, the heating element plays a pivotal role in a dryer by heating the air, just as it does in a dishwasher, where it warms the water for cleaning dishware. In both machines, if the heating element is damaged or faulty, it can lead to a significant drop in the operation. Some dishwashers, although, might display a flushing light for faulty heating elements.