Dryers are an excellent modern convenience that allows us to dry our clothes without all the hassle of hanging them up by hand and waiting for them to dry.
By using a heating element, dryers can produce hot hair circulated around the clothes, which in turn dries them.
But no matter which brand or model of dryer you purchase, sometimes they can run into a problem where they will only seem to blow cold air. Needless to say, this is a pretty big problem as cold air isn’t going to help dry the clothes.
If you’re encountering this problem, don’t worry we’re here to help!
In this article, we’ll share with you all the main reasons this problem occurs and how to fix it so you can get back to drying your clothes again.
Why is your Dryer Blowing Cold Air?
There’s a myriad of potential reasons why a dryer might stop heating, ranging from simple user errors, such as overloading the dryer or inputting the wrong settings, all the way to component level failures, such as blown fuses or clogged-up vents.
Let’s go through these problems individually, so you can better understand what’s going on with your dryer.
1. Using the Wrong Dryer Settings
Let’s start with the simple one, as it can often be confusing if you’re not using the proper settings.
Dryers usually have a few different types of cycles they can run, which adjust the heat level and drying time based on your preference. For example, you might want a longer drying cycle if you have thick blankets.
Or perhaps you want an automatic cycle to adjust the drying time based on detected moisture levels.
These are both fine. However, there is another cycle type called a ‘timed dry,’ which will dry the clothes for a set period and then stop, whether the clothes are dry or not.
So oftentimes, what will happen is the user has set a short timed dry, which finishes too quickly, leaving the clothes still damp, which in turn gives the impression that it’s just been blowing cold air the whole time.
So by adjusting the cycle settings, we can get the dryer to dry for longer, which will then dry the clothes properly.
2. The Dryer has too many Clothes in it
One of the key components to a dryer being able to do its job effectively is having some room to let the air circulate around, which enables the water to be pulled out of the clothes.
Sometimes dryers can seem to work like magic, and it’s easy to forget it needs room, so we end up packing the dryer out completely.
But when the dryer is overloaded, air circulation is extremely restricted and will often leave you with clothes that are still wet by the end of the cycle, making it appear like it’s not producing any hot air.
3. The Dryer Vent is Blocked up
The moisture is pulled into the air to dry clothes effectively and then expelled through the vents. This cycle allows the water content inside the dryer to drop.
However, these vents can sometimes become clogged with lint or other debris, reducing the dryer’s ability to vent the air over time.
Not only does this keep the moisture inside the dryer (and inside your clothes), but it can also cause overheating and potentially trip the thermal fuse.
The dryer vent should ideally be cleaned out once a year to prevent this from happening.
4. The Internal Solenoid has Failed
The gas valve solenoid is what ignites the gas in a gas dryer. When this component fails, the gas won’t be lit, and therefore the dryer won’t produce heat.
You can easily identify if the gas valve solenoid has failed by locating the igniter and watching it as the machine starts a cycle up, it will glow but not be able to ignite the gas fully.
5. A Power Surge has Tripped the Circuit Breaker
Most dryers utilize two independent circuits that can trip; one powers the machine and the dryer drum, while the other is the heating element.
So if the healing element has tripped, but the main breaker hasn’t, the machine will turn on, and the menu will light up, but it won’t be able to produce hot air.
6. The Thermal Fuse has Blown
The thermal fuse is responsible for monitoring the internal temperature of the clothes dryer. It should exceed a particular threshold; it will blow and immediately render the dryer unable to produce heat.
This is for safety reasons and prevents things like fire or component damage when the machine gets too hot.
Unfortunately, thermal fuses are one-time-use components, so when it blows, you just have to replace them with a new one. But don’t worry, they’re pretty cheap and easy to install by yourself.
7. The Timer is Faulty
Depending on whether you have an older or newer dryer, there may be a mechanical timer that uses electrical contacts to work or a digital timer that uses a small computer chip.
Regardless of which type you have, if this component fails, your drying cycle will not be able to finish, leaving your clothes wet.
8. The Heating Element is Faulty
This problem is exclusive to electrical heaters as they rely on a heating element that heats the air inside the dryer drum (as opposed to gas).
Over time heating elements can wear down and fail. This can result in a clothes dryer that still operates and spins just fine but won’t produce any heat to dry the clothes.
How to Fix a Dryer Blowing Cold Air
Fortunately, the most common problems that cause a dryer to blow cold air are easily user-serviced.
But in the few cases where a component needs replacing, you can contact a nearby technician who will be more than happy to help you both source a replacement component and assist you with installing it.
1. Adjust the Dryers Settings
Using the front control panel for your dryer, you should locate your dryer timer settings and ensure it’s set with a long enough duration to allow your clothes to dry thoroughly.
If you’re unsure what the best time is for your clothes, we suggest using an automatic cycle that will monitor the moisture levels inside the dryer and only stop the cycle once the clothes have been fully dried.
2. Reduce the Load on the Dryer
When there are too many clothes in the dryer, it will struggle to circulate air and dry the clothes.
We recommend only filling the dryer about ¾ of the way full to ensure enough room for airflow. Remember, it’s always better to wash two loads effectively than one giant load, which leaves the clothes wet afterward.
3. Unblock the Dryer Vents
Dryer vents can become clogged up with dust and lint that’s been extracted from your clothing. To keep the vents in good working order, you should clean them out at least once a year.
Fortunately, this is a very easy process, and all you need to do is remove the vent from the dryer, take it outside and use a vacuum cleaner, ideally with a hose extension, to remove as much of the built-up dirt and lint as possible.
4. Replace the Gas Valve Solenoid
When your gas solenoid is not working, the gas won’t ignite, resulting in your dryer being unable to produce heat.
When this component fails, the only solution is to have it replaced. We recommend contacting the manufacturer of your appliance or a local professional who will help you source a replacement solenoid and install it for you.
5. Flip the Circuit Breaker back on
As we mentioned, there are two circuit breakers used in a dryer. If the breaker associated with the heating element has flipped, the dryer will run cold.
Simply locate the circuit breaker and flick it from the ‘off’ position to the ‘on position’ to restore functionality.
6. Replace the Thermal Fuse
If your thermal fuse has blown, it will need to be replaced, as these are single-use components.
However, something has caused the fuse to blow in the first place, so to avoid putting a new one in and having it immediately blow on the next cycle, we need to address the underlying cause of why it has blown.
This is most commonly because of the vent clogging issue we mentioned above, so be sure to clean out the vents thoroughly before installing the new thermal fuse.
7. Repair the Faulty Timer
The kind of timer your dryer uses will differ depending on the manufacturer and whether it’s a modern or older model.
If you are unsure, you should once again contact your manufacturer, who will help you source the specific timer needed for your dryer model.
8. Replace the Heating Element
When a heating element burns out due to wear or just getting old, there is no way to repair it, and it will need to be replaced.
Unfortunately, this is quite difficult for user service, and you should contact a professional to replace the broken heating element.