Naturally, you want to protect your appliances and keep them operating in peak condition for as long as possible. But did you know that certain appliances have a device that allows the unit to protect itself? That device is a thermal fuse and it can be found on dryers, ovens, microwave ovens, even some dishwashers and refrigerators. This safety device protects the appliance from overheating and potentially damaging the motor or other sensitive components. If your gas or electric dryer begins to overheat, the thermal fuse is designed to open, or “blow”, interrupting the voltage and preventing power from reaching the motor and heating components.
Will the dryer run if the thermal fuse is blown?
Unlike a thermostat that can reset itself, once a dryer thermal fuse blows, it will need to be replaced with a new one before the dryer will run. While a blown thermal fuse is the most common reason a dryer won’t start, run, or heat, you should remove the fuse from the appliance and test it to determine if it has blown or not before purchasing a new one. On electric dryers, the thermal fuse is often located on the blower housing or near the heating element. On gas models, the thermal fuse can be found on the blower housing or near the burner. To reach the fuse on some dryers, you can simply uninstall the appliance’s rear panel or a lower front access panel. However, many dryers will require you to fully disassemble the appliance, removing the top panel (and, possibly, a control panel as well), a front panel, a front bulkhead, and the dryer’s drum before you can access the fuse. That’s the hard part. To uninstall the fuse itself, you will simply unthread one or two mounting screws and disconnect the power wires from the fuse’s terminals.
How to test a thermal fuse
Once you’ve removed, or isolated, the thermal fuse from the dryer, you can use a multimeter to test the component for electrical continuity – a continuous electrical path present in the part:
- Rotate the multimeter dial to the lowest setting for “Ohms of resistance”.
- Touch the black lead to one of the fuse’s terminals and the red lead to the other terminal.
- If the meter display shows zero Ohms of resistance, the fuse has electrical continuity and has not blown, indicating that another component in the dryer is likely defective and preventing the appliance from running or heating. If the meter display shows no significant change, the fuse has no continuity which means it has blown and will need to be replaced.
Make sure the venting is clear
Once you’ve established that it is, indeed, a blown thermal fuse that is preventing your dryer from working, there is a very important maintenance procedure you should perform to ensure any new fuse you install doesn’t blow within a few hours of dryer use: clean the venting. The number one cause of thermal fuses blowing is the build-up of lint inside the exhaust venting which makes the dryer overheat. At least once a year you should detach the venting from the rear of the appliance and use a vent brush to clean out the lint and any other debris to ensure good air flow. You should also remember to clean out the dryer’s lint filter after every cycle and consider using a vacuum cleaner to periodically clean out the filter housing as well.
Find the right dryer parts with Repair Clinic
Repair Clinic stocks thermal fuses for all the top gas and electric dryers including those made by Kenmore, GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, Electrolux, LG, and Samsung. While thermal fuses can look similar, it’s important to purchase the exact one that is compatible with your model. To do this, enter the full model number of your gas or electric dryer in the Repair Clinic website search bar, then select “Fuse, Thermal Fuse & Breaker” using the part category filter to identify the specific thermal fuse you need. In addition to fuses, Repair Clinic carries all the replaceable appliance parts to fix your dryer such as igniters, gas valve solenoids, heating elements, thermostats, timers, door switches, and much more.