Thread Number: 31486
What Causes Dryer Heating Elements To Fail?
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Post# 474912   11/13/2010 at 21:41 (2,323 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

A friend of ours owns a dog grooming salon. Today we went by to visit. Both of her dryers (a 2007 Frigidaire & a 2005 Kenmore) were out. Both of them turn but don't heat. She has had the heating elements in both dryers replaced in the last year and they went out again.
The owner said she'll just buy a used dryer instead of fixing the dryers she has. She said even if she could get it fixed to $50.00 she can buy a used dryer for $25.00. (Woman think you know).
I looked at the dryers and they both looked clean and didn't seem to be overly linty either. She keeps the lint filters clean.

What causes heating element failure?

Post# 474916 , Reply# 1   11/13/2010 at 22:08 (2,323 days old) by powerfin64 (Yakima, Washington)        
exhaust hoses..

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are they clogged, or bunched up? are they semi-rigid or the nasty stuff? things to look into


Post# 474917 , Reply# 2   11/13/2010 at 22:11 (2,323 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

The exhaust hoses are very short flexible metalized material. And they are clean. They exhaust directly to the outside via a less than 1 ft length with no curves in the ductwork.
The dryers do not heat at all on any setting.

Post# 474947 , Reply# 3   11/14/2010 at 06:02 (2,323 days old) by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

1st I would try tripping the circuit breakers on both dryers to see if this fixes the problem. sometimes a dual breaker for 240 will trip on one side but not the other. Have had this problem with an a/c unit before. blower would work but unit outside would not functioin.

Post# 474956 , Reply# 4   11/14/2010 at 06:36 (2,323 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        

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I would say that lint buildup makes it to the element and burns it out. The replacements can fail early if the installed has handled them with bare hands. I have a co-worker that went through three heating elements in less than two years on his Kenmore dryer. Generally, I recommend replacing the hi-limit thermostat when the element has failed. He had replaced his twice. The last one, not. Odd that the brand new element lasted for years, but the replacements failed early.

Makes me wonder if the OEM elements are junk. Maybe you should only use FSP elements...

He ended up buying the cheapest Roper dryer Lowes had in stock.


Post# 474965 , Reply# 5   11/14/2010 at 07:08 (2,323 days old) by Toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

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Excessive voltage may be a factor.

But heaters both out simultneously may point to a lack of 220v.

On Long Island the voltage tends to run high. Had two new Whirlpool brand electric stoves. Both developed arcing surface-unit control switches. But in a commerical setting there may be 208v (3-phase) for a dryer rated 220v, so I don't think that will be a problem.

Likewise banging / slamming the heck out of the dryer door may not help the phiysical integrity of the heating coils either.

Post# 475177 , Reply# 6   11/15/2010 at 07:54 (2,322 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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First the owner should find out what the problem is by calling a qualified person to access and fix the problem. Electric dryers with vents that short should never burn out an element in a lifetime unless the voltage is too high. If you approach or go over 250 volts the elements will fail prematurely. Normally a heating element will outlast an electric dryer and if you do have an element failure the solution is not just to replace the element like you would replace a light bulb but to figure out way it failed and fix that problem. I have been repairing dryers for over 30 years and learned long ago when a heater is burned out that if you don't fix the underlying problem you will just be back and have an unhappy customer. The experience of Malcolm's co-worker is very common as there was else wrong that was not fixed and no it does not hurt the element to touch it with your hands. If fact on GE and MT HOH and many others you have to string the element through the insulators by hand and I have never seen this cause a problem or seen a service manual or instruction sheet that suggested not touching the element with your bare hands.

Post# 475239 , Reply# 7   11/15/2010 at 13:26 (2,321 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

As it turns out, the 240V outlet was installed "by a friend" and is wired off of a 120V outlet. Very strange set up. The whole deal looked rickety.
However the Frigidare dryer is hooked up to a 240V outlet that was installed at the time the building was built. But it too failed.

Karen was talking to this friend and she was just so angry at the fact that the dryers failed that she's determined to dry the dogs using wet towels! Quote "These days you have to learn to get by with what you have!".

She hasn't figured out that because the animals are taking longer to dry, she can't get as many done in a day which in turn is costing her money. After my last observation of her tactics I have determined that the owner of the place is a crazy bitch and I don't play well with those.

So I have removed myself from helping her in any way, shape or form.

Post# 475283 , Reply# 8   11/15/2010 at 14:49 (2,321 days old) by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        

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Me thinks I wouldn't take my pet to her grooming salon. "drying" a pet with a wet towel has a number of problems. One spreading disease, fungus, etc from one pet to another. Two--you aren't going to accomplish too much drying with wet towels.

Other than that, there is also the possibility that the dryers are under heavy use, or at least useage that is much greater than home use, and she may want to look at a commercial type machine.

Post# 475314 , Reply# 9   11/15/2010 at 17:16 (2,321 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

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People will not use their "automatic cycle" which senses when the clothes are dry and automatically cools down and shuts off.Instead,they will set the timer on 60 to 120 minutes then check and see how dry the clothes are after about twenty minutes or so.that is such a waste of time and energy that there should be a law against it. (since they already have control on washers and how much hot water we use doing our clothes, you'd think these manufacturers would be a bit more strict on how much time a dryer runs per load.)I line dry 95% of my loads and they smell so much nicer drying outside instead of in a dryer.

Post# 475320 , Reply# 10   11/15/2010 at 18:14 (2,321 days old) by qsd-dan (Pleasanton Ca (Bay Area)        

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People will not use their "automatic cycle" which senses when the clothes are dry and automatically cools down and shuts off.

I bet that's the problem right there. If the dryer is perpetually shut off with the heating element still activated (checking if the towels are dry) without letting the machine run on and letting the heating element PROPERLY cool, it will cause the heating element to eventually sag and break or ground out.

Post# 475364 , Reply# 11   11/15/2010 at 21:05 (2,321 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

There is a Frigidaire washing machine onsite, so she at least washes the towels between dogs. So she uses clean, wet towels. I think there is a strong possibility of fungus and mildew as the towels never get dried.
We bathe out own dogs here at home. They have their own set of towels which we wash and dry after each use. If I found out that my dog was being dried with wet towels (an oxymoron of an idea) I wouldn't he bringing my dog back there.

Where do these women get these ideas that they can operate with such an attitude? This woman is acting like the driers have attacked her and she won't get them fixed "Just to show them who's boss!" I just go along minding my own business and somehow I always come across this type.
Any bets on how long it'll take her to get the dryers fixed?

Post# 475370 , Reply# 12   11/15/2010 at 21:15 (2,321 days old) by Maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
Innocently meant question:

Why is a high volume application using electricity, anyway? I would think that gas heated dryers would be much cheaper to run!

I almost always use the "Intellidry" (sensor) setting on my gas Dependable Care.


Post# 475388 , Reply# 13   11/16/2010 at 00:22 (2,321 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

There is no gas on the premises. The shop is at the end of a strip center.
The grooming shop goes through about 30 towels a day. It's not a large operation. There are two groomers, one dog bather and one receptionist. And that's all.

Post# 475415 , Reply# 14   11/16/2010 at 06:36 (2,321 days old) by Toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

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My grandfather always said, NEVER EVER waste your time trying to figure out and apply logic to the female mind. It can't be done, and remains one a place containing one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

Always beware of people whose only two emotions are exhuberant elation and bitter anger.

The neighbors had their 110v 20a TWO-WIRE circuit (@12 gauge 20 amp capacity) converted to be able to use their 220v 30a THREE-WIRE dryer. (Which needs #10 gauge 30amp wire) The neutral/ground was the metal sheath of the armored cable. (Standard in NYC where pastic-sheathed wire was not, until recently, allowed). The two conductors were used as "hots"

The poor circuit-breaker failed in that the heat generated by the overly thin wire deformed the circuit-breaker. How there was not a fire due to overheated wire, I don't know. If this is how the 120v outlet was utlitzed, it is better that the cicruit failed rather than catching fire.

Post# 475474 , Reply# 15   11/16/2010 at 11:35 (2,320 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

I always expect people to have a minimum amount of order to their thought patterns. Hysterical women don't seem to have any order at all to their way of thinking. Plus they usually aren't technically proficient. So when I deal with them, I usually end up getting angry and walking away and they turn into bitches.

Not the way I want to live.

Post# 475503 , Reply# 16   11/16/2010 at 13:06 (2,320 days old) by joe_in_philly (Philadelphia, PA, USA)        

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Wow - My experience is that a person's tendency for unreasonableness is unique for each individual, not a person's gender.

Post# 475510 , Reply# 17   11/16/2010 at 13:37 (2,320 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

I didn't say that all women are like that, but it sure does seem like more of them act that way then men do.

Post# 475514 , Reply# 18   11/16/2010 at 13:49 (2,320 days old) by sudsman ()        
John is correct

a element will most of the time out last a dryer if it does not there there is most like a voltage problem. almost always too high.. Ele provider should check it at no charge. Lower voltage will just cause a longer drying time and will not harm the element.Have seen this very thing on electric shirt presses.

Post# 475523 , Reply# 19   11/16/2010 at 14:12 (2,320 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

I have known others who have had heating elements replaced, but in all of our own dryers we have never had this happen.
I'll tell Karen to tell the owner of the shop have whoever services the machine to check the voltage going in. I never knew that about dryers. You always learn something new.

Post# 475527 , Reply# 20   11/16/2010 at 14:26 (2,320 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

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I never had to replace an element in any of my electric dryers,ever.I always use the automatic dry cycle (if I'm not hanging the wash out due to the weather)because it's fool proof.If I was to turn the dryer on empty,within 4 minutes,it shuts off all by itself.The clothes never over dry and I usually set it for either wash and wear (permanent press)or delicate.That way,the aroma of the detergent (Gain original scent)and/or softener keeps it's strength and isn't burned out by the extreme heat.I never go and open the door to get anything while it's still cycling.I may through in a lost sock or towel,but never open the dryer to see how dry the loads are.

Post# 475531 , Reply# 21   11/16/2010 at 14:34 (2,320 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        
and another thing---

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Some folks use the three prong 220 volt cord that is made for ELECTRIC RANGES to connect their electric dryer. They put in the wrong outlet(the one made for electric ranges)so,the cord made for 40 amp service as well as the outlet are incorrect and can cause issues because they're 40 amps and the electric dryers only needs 30 amps.Too much power can cause an overdrive and burn out different components like diodes , timers, heating elements and motors.

Post# 475770 , Reply# 22   11/17/2010 at 11:10 (2,320 days old) by dj-gabriele (Bologna (ITALY))        
...put in the wrong outlet... ...overdrive... ?!

Honestly even if you could connect the dryer to the outlet with a 200 A capable cable, nothing would happen to the machine, actually with such an oversize cable the wiring would run much cooler! Especially at the wimpy American voltages!

Also if the outlet allows a current of 200 A, the dryer would only use its rated amperage, nothing more, nothing less! So, if the dryer is rated at 30 A, that would be, not 29,9 nor 30,1.

The only difference would be that in case of a short circuit or some other damage, the circuit breaker or overcurrent device would trip only after the 200 A current draw is reached, unless there is a RCD or GFI that trips if a ground fault develops!

That would be like having a table lamp rated 60W (100% resistive load at 110V) the current would be around 0,56 A even if the outlet is generally capable of delivering 16-20A. It doesn't mean that the lamp actually draws all the capacity!

Post# 475859 , Reply# 23   11/17/2010 at 14:54 (2,319 days old) by macboy91si (Frankfort, KY)        
Automatic Dry Cycle

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I was under the impression that there are thermostats to protect the element (cycling) for any cycle. We had a timed dry old BOL Kenmore for years and never had issue with the element. I could see that running the dryer on timed mode can in a sense use the element more, but not overheat it or anything. These have a long service life. I also take a slight regard to the statement about opening the dryer to check the clothes. If one has a timed machine as many of mine are, there is not much else in the way of gauging the dampness of the clothes. While my main full size dryer has an automatic cycle and I utilize it mostly, the 3 portable dryers I have are all timed. I check around the 30-40 min mark for dampness. It loses much more heat in the cool-down cycle than opening the door with no air flowing.


Post# 476014 , Reply# 24   11/18/2010 at 03:51 (2,319 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

I am with the other person posting on this-the amperage rating of the cord connector or even the circuit WILL NOT affect the life of the device connected to it.The higher amperage circuit connectors will pass the other device current safely-but the circuit breaker will not trip unless its a 30A circuit-remember the breaker in the line is to protect the WIRING-not devices running off it.Keep in mind your dryer-and other appliances for that matter are connected to a 120V-240V distribution circuit that can deliver 100s or even thousands of amps of current.the dryer has its own INTERNAL thermostats and overload devices to protect the element and motor in case of overloads.You could if you wanted to run the dryer from a 50-60A range just don't need to since any home has a 30A 240V dryer connection in the laundry room.A 5Hp single ph 240v radial arm or table saw will run from that 30A connector just fine.a 60A range outlet can run up to a 10hp single ph 240V motor.Like for a planer.Know of someone that has both a 30A and 60A 240V outlets in his garage to run his table saw and planer.and that circuit could be usable in the future to charge an electric car.

Post# 476148 , Reply# 25   11/18/2010 at 17:36 (2,318 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

This morning Karen got a phone call from Eva, the owner of the grooming salon. She was bitching that since I haven't yet repaired her dryer she is losing business as the dogs take longer to dry using wet towels! She now claims that she can't do as many dogs in one day. (duh!)

Whoa there, I got on the phone and told the bitch that last time I heard she wasn't going to repair the dryers to "teach them a lesson" and she was going to buy a dryer on CL because that would be cheaper than fixing the ones she has. She claimed I promised to fix them for her free of charge! Where in the hell did THAT come from?

Well, she bought a dryer off of CL. But it doesn't work. Why? Well, it's a gas dryer and she doesn't have any gas in the building and the seller won't take the dryer back!

I told her she is a crazy bitch and not to bother us ever again. I explained that I tried to be nice to her and help her out and this is what I get for trying to be nice.

Post# 476178 , Reply# 26   11/18/2010 at 20:52 (2,318 days old) by Toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        
Call a professional to fix it dumb@$$ lady

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One thing I learned a long time ago: one can not teach others how to think.

Grandpa always said. "Without yeast, bread you can not make."
Tranlation: You have to spend money to make money.

When I sold appliances for Sears, I can't tell you how many customers came in to buy a dryer or a stove (yes mostly female) and had NO CLUE as to the energy source/fuel. OK maybe the dryer I can see, but the STOVE?

Then they figure out that electric dryer models are $50 cheaper TO BUY than the gas ones and they want it.... uh but if you don't have a dedicated heavy-duty electrical line for an electric dryer, installing one will cost you hundreds of dollars. (Oh you can't just plug it in?) SHOOT ME NOW!

Then you have to explain that a GAS dryer costs 1/3 of what it costs to run an ELECTRIC dryer in this market, which is why someone went through all the trouble and expense to install a gas line in the first place.

I shouldn't judge others. My sister went to lite the top-burner of the stove at our grandmother's new apartment and, like a good and smart girl, she turned the knob to "high" for it to lite. She bent over to check for a flame and waited and waited, and waited........... I finally said "That may take a while to lite". "WHY?" "uh......IT'S ELECTRIC!" OK electric stoves are EXTREMELY rare in NYC and this place only had one in that it was built when one could not get new hookups to natural gas lines during the 1970's energy crisis. But seriously, no clue?

This post was last edited 11/18/2010 at 21:18
Post# 476180 , Reply# 27   11/18/2010 at 20:55 (2,318 days old) by supremewhirlpol ()        

Now that's funny! You can't help people like that. Let her drown in her own mess!

Post# 476215 , Reply# 28   11/18/2010 at 23:42 (2,318 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

Another thing Karen told me about Eva. She's having a dispute with a web designer about a website she is trying to put up. According to Eva, the guy doing the website "isn't doing his job". She said he has been working 6 months on the site, and to this date, has nothing.
It seems the web designer is asking a lot of questions about her shop. Things like what services are offered, does she want to offer a coupon, the store hours, etc. She doesn't understand WHY the guy needs this information.
Karen told her that the guy needs the info to put on the website. Eva's response was that ANYONE can put a website up.
"All you need to do is put some pictures in your computer and it's done!"

IMHO, this woman is so stupid that she doesn't have enough intelligence to realize how stupid she is. We are both done and will not be hearing from her.

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