Last Saturday, my wife called me over to the drying machine and told me that it just was not putting out hot air. The dryer was pushing air though the basket, but there was no heat. In South Carolina, it is so humid drying clothes without a dryer is a multi day process. I knew it would cost at least $120 (two trips- One to inspect and one to install the part) plus the padded cost of a part to fix it. I decided to go the frugal way, and get more blogging material. First, I checked on the internet and found some plans for the dryer. (It is a model GEW9200LW0). Here is a link to a site with the repair manual. I saved it on my computer so I would have it for future reference.
The tools I needed to fix this were a flashlight, a ratchet, a 1/4 ” socket, and hopefully a nut driver. (I just used the socket on a screwdriver adapter).
Before you even start to rip your dryer apart, reset the breaker and make sure you have power to the back of the dryer. I checked these and found out I had to look deeper. Before I did this I unplugged the dryer and then double checked to make sure . I really don’t like the idea of having the poop literally shocked out of me.
The good news is that I did not have to tear the dryer apart to get to two additional possible problems. First you need to take off the bottom panel, using a 1/4 ” socket to remove the two screws that are on the bottom front corners of the dryer. I propped it up on some 2×6′s to get easier access to the screws and make it easier to slide the bottom panel off.
There is a thermal fuse that shorts out if the dryer outflow is too hot. This prevents you from destroying larger more expensive components, and all you have to do is buy a $10 fuse. The fuse is located behind the blower casing, which you can reach around if you take off the bottom panel. It is a white flat plastic piece, about 1×1″, with two connectors coming out of it. It is pretty well centered in the dryer by the blower. To check if it is good, check it’s resistance after unplugging it from the system. It should be darn near zero. If it is open (infinite resistance), you have melted the fuse and need to buy a new one. Just take it out with a ratchet and don’t lose the screws. Make sure you clean out your dryer vent, as restricted flow because of lint is generally the cause of overheating. That wasn’t my problem.
I then checked the heater. You can also access this through the bottom front panel. I undid the green grounding wire so I could have a little more working room. This also would have helped me check the thermal fuse, as the angle is very difficult to work with. I also removed the plate over the front of the heater when I removed the one screw holding it. At this point you should be looking at this.
To test if the heater is working, unplug one of the red wires on the end closest to you and test the resistance of the heater. It should be between 7 and 12 ohms. Mine was zero. I removed the other red wire and took out the heater. There is a screw right behind where the wires are hooked up, and I used by ratchet to remove that screw. The heater then slides out. The problem is the spades run into the blower on the way out. To get around this I just unscrewed the screws used to hold the heater holder to the bottom of the dryer, as shown in picture 2. I was able to slide the heater holder over just enough to slide the heater out. The heater had a break in the wire, so I looked at ordering a new one. The best price I found was at partstap, paying about $36 for the part and $6 shipping. The part was $60 at a few places. I ordered the part late Saturday night and it got here today (Wednesday). I slid it into the slot, replaced the screw, and reconnected the wires. I put everything back in place, happily not ending up with any holes or screws left over. I double checked all the connections before I replaced the front panel. I plugged it in and it is working. Yeah!
Things I learned.
- Use Google to find some valuable information.
- Partstap made a positive impression on me based on shipping speed and price. Shopping around saved me over 40%. Let me know what your experiences are with them, so I can find out if this was a great isolated incident, or the rule. So far, people have said that it is easy to order from them, but hard to return. Based on comments that I am getting, it looks like Ebay can also have some great (best) deals on the part. Scroll through the comments to get a better picture.
- Don’t get shocked. I didn’t get shocked and I liked that. You will too. Unplug it!
Happy trails, good luck, and give me feedback on anything you would like to see.
Thanks for the feedback that I have thus far recieved.