How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Tyler Z. Your Own Question
Tyler Z.
Tyler Z., Appliance Doc
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 79581
Experience:  9+ years being an appliance technician with factory training.
Type Your Appliance Question Here...
Tyler Z. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

(Appliance Doc Only) Got a Kenmore Dryer that heats perfectly

This answer was rated:

(Appliance Doc Only) Got a Kenmore Dryer that heats perfectly well sometimes and other times does not heat at all. What's going on?
Hello, and thank you for using this service. I'll be helping you with your problem today.

The real problem is that the dryer is heating sporadically. If I had to guess, then i would say this is a pretty common issue unfortunately and it means that your gas coils are starting to fatigue and need to be ordered and replaced. As the coils heat up, the unit stops opening the valve or can't hold it open as long as intended because it gets weak. You just need to order and replace the 2 black cylinder gas coils located directly in front of the igniter. Below is a link to the part you'll need to order and replace.


But really to get any clue as to where the problem lies, you'd need to check the dryer when it's not working. You'd want to see if the igniter still glows on and off when it's not heating. If so, then your coils are definitely bad. If not, then there are a number of possibilities like the thermostat (not fuse or cut off because those never reset), the motor itself, or the timer, or possibly a bad/loose wire.

Please remember to rate my service before you leave. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. You can continue asking follow-up questions until you have all the information you need even after rating my service. Thank you!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is an electric dryer. Of that I'm sure. I didn't check the model number when I was there, but I'm just going by the model number they gave me. This seems to be the only one in the house and it is a 110 Kenmore number.

Aye, I understand, my answer still stands based on the model number you gave me.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How could that be? I checked to make sure it is correct and went to Sears Parts Direct. It shows up as an electric Kenmore. You're always right on, so I'm wondering what reference you're using? Can you take a second and go to Sears Direct with that number? I'll be glad to wait.

I'm sorry, one of the numbers I typed in wrong. That being said, it's really a guessing game on an electric dryer now because you said the problem is sporadic. The problem won't be a fuse and it won't be the cut off because those don't reset. It also won't be the heater because a heater can't work sometimes and not others. Unfortunately you could still have a bad timer, motor, or thermostat. But since the problem is sporadic, you can't test for the problem. You'd either need to wait for the problem to get worse where it's not working most of the time and you can actually test it when it's not heating, or you'd need to guess as which part you'd want to replace. First check the power cord and make sure the power cord isn't shorting out at the back of the dryer because the dryer will run with 120 volts but it can't heat without 240 volts. If that all checks good, honestly I find that the motor is the most likely part that fails in these cases because the centrifugal switch inside the motor won't make good contact sometimes.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Okay. Three more based on what you've told me. (1) How does the centrifugal switch relate to the heating? (I don't know anything about that). (2) Do I need to test for that? I have a 110 test cord that I could hook up to the motor. (3) The dryer was quite gunked up inside with lots of lint. Is it possible it could have heated up down there and be causing problems for the cycling thermostat? Something I learned since I talked to you earlier is that you could do a load and it would dry fine, and then put in another load right after and it wouldn't heat. So consecutive use seems to have something to do with it, and I was wondering if maybe the heat in the bottom was faking out the cycling thermostat and telling it to cut off? It's a long shot, I know, but I looked for loose wires and didn't find any.

How are you going to test a problem that's sporadic? That's a general question, but the point is that you can't. That's why you have to wait for it to get worse. The centrifugal switch is part of the motor and as the motor spins up to speed, it makes contact to allow the power to go to the heater and complete the circuit. This makes sure that the heater doesn't come on if the motor isn't running. There are 2 red wires going to the motor and if you test voltage between them, you should have 0 volts when the motor is running. If so, then the centrifugal switch is working, but again the dryer works much of the time so how do you know the test you make would be valid?

Could the cycling thermostat go bad? yes, but again, that would be impossible to test until the dryer stops heating completely. Lint build up would not cause the cycling thermostat to go bad however.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Okay. I'll pass that on and charge them an analysis fee and tell them when it goes out again that fee will go toward any other labor. Since I've never dealt with a centrifugal switch problem, is this like getting a new motor and switch, or is it a cost-effective repair do you think?

So yes, the centrifugal switch is all part of the motor. The entire motor would need to be replaced and if it's a lower end dryer it wouldn't be worth repairing most likely. It's really hard to give a diagnosis with such bad news on something you can't test, but the other options is to just wait until the problem become more consistant so you can actually test the thermostats and such to determine what has failed.

Tyler Z. and 2 other Appliance Specialists are ready to help you