When it comes to finding the best dryer for your needs, it’s crucial to pick a reliable brand that’s not going to break easily.
Out of all the big brand names, such as LG and Whirlpool, GE is considered one of the best and most reliable appliance manufacturers.
Their electric dryers are praised for being feature-rich and energy efficient. For many, they are the number one choice on the market.
However, sometimes people run into a problem where the dryer suddenly won’t start, and there is no apparent reason. If this is happening to you, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll explain why your dryer won’t start and how to fix it so you can get it back in working order as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Why is your GE Dryer Not Starting?
One of the challenges when fixing a dryer that won’t start is the fact that there is such a wide array of potential causes of the problem.
Troubleshooting a dryer without technical knowledge of its functions can be a real headache. So we’ve condensed all the information into easy-to-understand steps, allowing you to diagnose what’s wrong with your machine easily.
1. There is no Power Supply
It goes without saying that for a dryer to function, it needs a stable and consistent power supply. The first thing to do is check your home’s circuit breaker to see if any breakers have been tripped; if they are, then they need to be flipped back into the on position.
Once you are sure all the breakers are on, usually, if there is still no power being supplied, it’s due to a faulty power cable or plug. Sometimes power cables can fail, and plug outlets can go bad.
You can easily test if these are working by trying to plug the dryer into another outlet. If it works, it may be an outlet issue; if it doesn’t, it’s probably a power cable issue.
Additionally, GE recommends not powering the dryer with an extension cord or multi-plug outlet as their voltage transmission is unreliable and may even cause electrical surges.
2. The Door hasn’t Latched
The doors on modern electric dryers are surprisingly complicated devices. The primary function of the door is to create an air-tight seal so that the door doesn’t open during the dry cycle and throw your wet clothes everywhere.
In addition to simply latching, sensors inside the door switch tell the dryer that the door is closed and that it’s safe to start or continue the cycle.
The first thing to do is inspect the latch for visible signs of damage and make sure the door makes a noticeable click sound as it latches. Pull on the door a little bit to make sure it’s secure.
If the door is latching well, then it may be a door switch issue where it’s not able to tell the machine the door is closed, so the dryer cannot start the cycle.
This sensor should be tested for continuity using a multimeter to ascertain whether it’s failed or not. If it has failed, then it will need to be replaced.
3. Incorrect Dryer Settings
There are a few settings within the GE electric dryer menu that may make it seem like the dryer is not starting when in fact, it’s working just fine, and we simply need to adjust the locking and delay features to make it work.
The first thing to take care of is the child lock (this may also be called a ‘control lock’) feature. It is designed to prevent curious children from pressing buttons and accidentally starting the machine.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget this feature has been turned on, and it is worth double-checking it’s turned off.
The second feature is the delay dry button. This is intended to give you control over when the drying cycle should start. For example, if you are heading out of the house and want the cycle to finish just as you arrive home, you may delay the cycle by a few hours.
If you’ve forgotten this feature is turned on, you’ll press start, but nothing will happen because the cycle has been delayed. So turning it off again will allow the dryer to start immediately.
4. Damaged or Broken Start Switch
An unfortunate byproduct of more modern dryer designs is that they tend to lean away from the older and more robust mechanical switches and instead use membrane or control board switches.
These switches have a far lower lifespan and can often break. If any of these switches fail, the control panel may need to be replaced.
5. The Thermal Fuse has Blown
Dryers operate using very high temperatures and, as such, have various safety features within them to prevent fires and overheating.
The thermal fuse monitors the heat inside the GE appliance as it operates, and should it exceed a certain threshold, it will trip and cause the dryer to stop working.
Unfortunately, thermal fuses are a one-time-use component. So your dryer will not start again until you install a new one (don’t worry, they’re really cheap).
6. The Motor is Failing
If you’re hearing unusual humming sounds or excessive vibration coming from the dryer, it may indicate that the motor is going bad. GE recommends you immediately turn the machine off as it may damage other components inside the machine.
The motor should be tested using a multimeter to see if it’s functional; if it’s not working correctly, then it will need to be replaced.
7. The Drive Belt is Worn
Sometimes the motor is functioning just fine, and it’s actually the drive belt that turns the drum that has gone bad.
The drive belt should be inspected to see if it’s worn down; you can easily identify this as it will look cracked, frayed, or completely broken. If it is, then it needs to be replaced.
8. A Power Surge has Blown the Plug fuse
While technically not a direct issue with the dryer itself, if your home has experienced a power surge and there is no in-line surge protector used with your dryer, then it’s possible it will blow the power plug’s fuse.
If this happens, it can easily be replaced with a new one to restore functionality to the dryer.
How to fix a GE Dryer Not Starting
Hopefully, you’ve identified what is causing your dryer not to start using the information mentioned in the previous section.
Now let’s cover how to fix these problems so you can get your dryer working again.
1. Fix the Power Supply
As one of the most common causes of a dryer not starting, ensuring the power supply is in good working order is vital to the dryer’s functionality.
If your dryer’s been using a multi-plug outlet, remove it and place it on a single outlet, ideally with its own dedicated breaker on your electrical panel.
If the power cord or outlet fails, it should be fixed/replaced as needed.
2. Fix the Door latch
If the latching mechanism has been physically broken, replacing it with a working one is easier than trying temporary fixes that will just break again down the line.
The door switch may also have gone bad, test it for continuity using a multimeter, and if it’s not functioning, then it will also need to be replaced.
3. Check and Adjust the Dryer Settings
The first thing to check is that the child lock or control lock feature is not enabled. Locate the button on the front control panel, press and hold it in for 3 seconds. You should hear an audible beep, and the LED light should turn off, which indicates the child lock is now disabled.
You should also ensure that the no-delay start setting is enabled so the drying cycle can commence immediately. You can locate this button once again on the front panel by finding the ‘delay dry’ button. Keep pressing it as it will continue to delay in 1-hour increments until it reaches 24 hours; then, it will reset to 0.
4. Replace the Broken Start Switch
If the start switch has broken or failed, either the switch itself or the entire front control board may need to be replaced, depending on which model you are using.
This is not user-serviceable, and you will need to contact GE technical support, who will assist you in replacing the switch/panel.
5. Replace the Thermal Fuse
As mentioned, thermal fuses are single-use components, and if it blows, then it will need to be replaced. Fortunately, this is a very simple task and can be done at home with a few simple tools.
- Start by turning off the power and unplugging the dryer.
- Remove the back panel to reveal the thermal fuse.
- The thermal fuse is located by the dryer’s blower housing; you’ll see two leads running directly to the fuse, which can be pulled out by hand.
- Remove the screw and pull out the old fuse; most fuses have a convenient tab on them, so you can grab it and wiggle it out.
- Insert the new fuse, re-attach the back panel, and you’re done!
6. Fix or Replace the Motor
If you’ve been hearing strange sounds and suspect the motor may be failing, turn the machine off immediately, so you don’t cause further damage to the dryer.
You will again need to contact GE support to have it fixed by a professional, as this component is not user serviceable.
7. Replace the Drive Belt
Drive belts are common components to wear down over time and require replacing. While you can have a GE technician do this for you, a DIY warrior with a few tools can do this in about an hour.
Follow the steps outlined here if you’d like to take on this task yourself; otherwise, we recommend contacting GE for support.
8. Replace the Fuse
If you suspect a power surge may have occurred which has blown the power plug fuse, you can test the fuse with a multimeter to check if it’s working. If it’s broken, it will need to be replaced with a new one.