Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to Troubleshoot a Gas Dryer - Part One

How to Troubleshoot a Gas Dryer - Part OneIf your gas dryer does not work at all you can check the power coming from your house, the door switch, timer, and thermal fuse. To check if there is power, first see if your dryer is plugged in. (Yes, it might sound stupid, but it happens more often than you'd think!) Does the power outlet where the dryer is plugged in work? To test that, plug a lamp or something else in the outlet and see if it works. Also, check the circuit breaker and see if something has tripped a circuit or blown a fuse. If your door switch is faulty, then that could be a reason why your gas dryer doesn't work at all. Your door switch is located inside the dryer main housing next to the door frame. If the part tests out bad, then you should replace it. Next, you can check the timer to see if that is the problem, basically if there are open contacts in the timer it won't work. Lastly, you can check the thermal fuse. The fuse is actually a safety precaution measure in the dryer; it will blow if your dryer overheats. This fuse is located on the exhaust duct inside the back cover panel. If your fuse has blown, and you test it with ah ohm meter, it won't have continuity. If this is what is causing your dryer to not work at all, you will need to replace the fuse because it cannot be reset.

If your dryer is not heating, you can check the igniter, gas valve coils, and the thermal fuse. Most gas dryers use an electronic type of igniter to ignite the gas coming in from the gas valve. If it glows a bright orange, it is working properly. When your igniter burns out, the dryer will still tumble your clothes, but there won't be heat because the gas cannot ignite. If your igniter is burned out you will need to replace it. The igniter is located inside the dryer housing, near the front and towards the bottom. The igniter is usually in a metal cone shaped tube. It's mounted to the far end of the burner tube and it should have some wires attached to it, or to the tension bracket. The next thing you can test are the gas valve coils. The first thing to watch for is the igniter, if it glows orange and then shuts off without igniting the gas, then there may be some faulty coils on your gas valve. When these coils get energized, they open the gas valve. If they are faulty then the valve won't open and the gas can't ignite. If this is the case with your dryer, it's best to replace all of the coils at the same time. To check the thermal fuse, you can follow the exact instructions I stated in the previous paragraph.

If your dryer takes too long to dry your clothes you can check the vent, the flame sensor/gas valve, internal ductwork, and the cycling thermostat. Most of the time there is some sort of clog inside the venting that goes from your dryer to outside of the house. For a dryer to heat up, the duct has to be clear of any sort of clog or lint. To clean this out, you can use a vacuum. Also, vent cleaning should be done at least once a year, if you do laundry often. Next, you can check the flame sensor/gas valve. The flame sensor is next to the igniter. The gas may shut off before the cycle is finished if the flame sensor is defective. Sometimes one of the electrical coils on the gas valve fails. If this happens, the flame will shut off before your thermostat can send a signal, which will make the drying time a lot longer. If the sensor or the coils are the problem, replace them. If your dryer's internal ductwork gets clogged, it won't be able to run correctly. Most of the time you will need to disassemble your dryer to reach the ductwork, to clean out the clog. You can check this quickly by sliding out your lint filter, and use a flashlight to look inside the duct. If you see a buildup of lint, you should clean it out with a vacuum. However, if you can't remove the clog with a vacuum, you might call a serviceman to do that for you. The cycling thermostat is not a common reason why your dryer would take a long time to dry clothes, however it does happen sometimes. If this thermostat breaks, it can cause your dryer to heat improperly. You should replace it if it is faulty.

In summary, if this guide did not help you fix your problem, you should contact an appliance technician to repair it. However, I hope this article was handy in giving you some information on how to troubleshoot your gas dryer in the future. In my next article I will help troubleshoot some more common gas dryer problems.

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