Whirlpool is well known for making some of the most dependable dryers on the market, which are heavily praised for their convenient features and energy-saving capabilities.
Unfortunately, like any machine, they are not perfect. A common issue users have reported running into is that their dryer will suddenly not start.
Needless to say, this can be a confusing and frustrating problem, so we’re to help!
We’ll cover all the reasons why your Whirlpool Dryer isn’t starting, and I’ll tell you exactly how to get it fixed and back in working order.
Why is your Whirlpool Dryer Not Starting?
Most of the time, when a Whirlpool dryer won’t start, it’s due to some component failure preventing the electric dryer from functioning properly.
The challenge comes from identifying the root cause of the problem; after that it’s just a simple case of swapping the component out. So let’s first look at what causes your electric dryer not to work.
1. A Power Supply Problem
A dryer needs a stable and consistent supply of power to work.
Sometimes the circuit breaker may have tripped due to something like a power surge and needs to be flipped back, or the power cord may have failed for some reason and need replacing.
Whirlpool also recommends not using the dryer on a multiplug or power strip as these do not supply consistent enough power for a Whirlpool duet dryer to operate properly.
2. The Thermal Fuse has Blown
The purpose of a thermal fuse is to monitor the internal temperature of the dryer. When something happens, and the temperate exceeds a safe level, the thermal fuse will blow to prevent a fire and protect the Whirlpool duet dryer from further damage.
When they blow, the only solution is to replace them as they are single-use components.
3. The Start Switch is not Working
The start switch, as the name suggests, is a small switch holding an electrical charge that helps the drum motor kick into action.
Over time these start switches tend to burn out. An obvious sign that this has happened is when you see visible discoloration on the switch due to high temperatures.
The only solution here is to replace it with a new start switch.
4. The Door is Not Latched
Dryer doors have a sensor that tells the dryer the door is closed and it’s safe to start. So when the door isn’t fully latched, the dryer won’t start as it believes the door’s still open.
This is usually caused by 1 of 2 things. Firstly, the physical door latch has a problem and isn’t holding the door tight to the dryer’s frame.
Secondly, the door switch, which tells the dryer the door is closed, has failed, so even when the door is closed, it still won’t start.
5. The Drive Motor has Failed
The drive motor is what physically turns the drums through means of a drive belt.
This, too, can burn out of wear down over time. But sometimes this can be due to obstructions which we can clear out.
However, most of the time, it’s due to a drive motor failure and will need to be swapped out.
6. A Drive Belt Problem
The drive belt connects the motor to the drum to make it turn.
Due to the vibrations caused by the dryer, sometimes these belts can work themselves loose and eventually come off. So we need to re-attach it.
These belts can also wear down over time and start to fray, so they may need to be replaced as well.
7. A Belt Switch Issue
A belt switch is designed to turn the power to the dryer off when the belt has fallen off.
If the switch fails, it may trigger while the belt is still attached and shut the machine off anyway.
You’ll need to test the switch with a multimeter and replace it if needed.
8. A Main Control Board Failure
Although rare, the main control board can sometimes fail, affecting all other aspects of the dryer.
This is too complicated to self-service, so a technician will need to be contacted to help you replace it.
9. Incorrect Dryer Settings
Many dryers will have a setting called ‘delay start’, which essentially holds off on beginning the drying cycle until a predetermined amount of time has passed.
If this has been turned on by accident, the dryer won’t start immediately.
We’ll need to turn this mode off to get the dryer to start right away.
10. Control Lock is Enabled
The control lock function essentially acts as a child lock feature, disabling all functionality in case a curious child wants to press some buttons while you are not around.
It’s easy to forget this function has been turned on, and we’ll need to disable it before the dryer can start up.
How to Fix a Whirlpool Dryer Not Starting
As we can see, this problem is mostly caused by a component failure that needs replacing. However, it can also be due to bad user settings, which can be easily fixed.
Let’s now take a look at how to fix these problems.
1. Restore the Supply of Power
Without a consistent supply of power, the dryer will not be able to operate. So we first need to check the circuit breaker in case it was tripped by something like a power surge.
If it’s been flipped, then you should flip it back to the ‘on’ position.
Next, ensure your dryer isn’t being used on a multiplug, extension cord, or power strip. If it is, you should move it to a dedicated wall outlet.
2. Replace the Thermal Fuse
If the thermal fuse has blown, the only solution is to replace it, as they are single-use components. The good news is this is relatively easy to do.
- Start by turning off the power to the dryer, as you shouldn’t open the machine up while it’s still receiving electricity.
- Remove the back panel to gain access to the dryer.
- Your thermal fuse should be located near the exhaust vent. If you are unsure, you can always refer to the user manual for your specific model to find its exact location.
- Remove the two wire connectors from the old fuse and remove the single screw that holds the thermal fuse in place.
- Remove and discard the old thermal fuse.
- Insert the new fuse in its place, and re-attach the wires and screw that hold it in place.
- Now it’s installed, you can re-attach the back panel and turn the power back on.
3. Replace the Start Switch
If you can see visible discoloration on the start switch, you should test it with a multimeter for continuity. If it’s not functional, then this, too, should be replaced.
Here you just need to remove the front start knob and then remove the back panel. Pull the wires out from the start switch and release the locking tab.
Now you can slowly rotate the start switch while simultaneously pulling on it; it should release itself. Finally, you can just put the replacement switch in its place, insert the wires and screws, and put the back panel on.
4. Fix the Dryer Door
If the dryer door is not latching well, you will need to source a replacement latch.
However, if you can hear a nice confirmatory click and the door feels tight and secure, it’s probably the switch that’s gone bad.
In this scenario, you will need to contact Whirlpool support for a replacement switch; they will also help you install it.
5. Replace the Failed Motor
To user service this, you can open the machine, check the motor for any obstructions, and remove them if needed; if there are no obvious problems, the motor may have failed.
If the drive motor has failed, it will be too difficult to user-service.
Here we again recommend contacting Whirlpool support, who will help arrange for a professional technician to assist you in replacing it.
6. Fix the Drive Belt
If the drive belt has worked its way off due to vibrations, you can usually just re-seat it back on the pulley system, and it will be fine.
But while doing this, you should also inspect the belt for visible signs of wear, such as cracking or fraying.
If the belt looks very old, you should order a new one and install that instead; otherwise, the belt might break.
7. Replace the Belt Switch
Even if the belt is installed and in good condition, if the belt switch has an issue, it will continually tell the machine the belt is defective and prevent the dryer from starting.
You can test the switch for continuity; if it fails, it should be replaced. It’s best to hire a professional to do this for you as this is a tricky component to self-service.
8. Replace the Motherboard
Unfortunately, when a motherboard runs into problems, it’s extremely difficult to fix it yourself as it’s such a complicated component.
The usual course of action here is to contact Whirlpool and just have the entire motherboard replaced.
9. Fix the Dryer Settings
If your dryer has a delay start cycle option, you should ensure this has been disabled so the machine will start right away.
Additionally, if you have a timed cycle option, you should change this to ‘automatic’, which will continue to dry based on the internal humidity, which will make sure that your clothes are fully dry before stopping.
10. Disable Child Lock
If the control lock or child lock options are enabled, none of the main control panel switches on the dryer will work. We’ll need to disable this option to restore functionality.
Locate the control lock function and press the button down for 3 seconds; you should hear an audible beep which confirms that the mode has now been disabled.