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Tumble Dryer Not Heating or Drying Clothes

tumble dryer not drying

You’ve loaded up your tumble dryer with damp clothes from the washing machine, set the timer and away it goes. However, you return to the dryer to find that all your clothes are still wet, and cold – nightmare!

Don’t worry, you won’t have to bin your dryer and fork out for a new one, as it’s likely a simple fix. It could be anything from a defective heating element, to a blocked filter, so don’t panic.

We’ll walk you through some of the most common faults that could be causing your tumble dryer to not heat or dry clothes, and some solutions to get you back up and running again.

Why Your Dryer Has Stop Drying

Wrong Drying Program

If you have a premium tumble dryer, you’ll find it packed with program settings. Always make sure to read your manual to find the correct program for your machine and washing load. For example, the “Iron Dry” setting on a dryer will leave clothes damp to help with ironing.

Do you have the dryer set on the lowest heat setting, or perhaps the timers was not running long enough to dry the load? Make sure to troubleshoot the temperature, timer, and program settings first, before assuming a part has become faulty.


The dryer drum is relatively large, but that doesn’t mean it can handle that load. For the dryer to work, the laundry needs space to move around, regardless of appliance type – condenser, vented, or heat pump dryer.

If you have a large family and your drying loads are heavy, then invest in a tumble dryer with large load capacity, so that it’s able to “tumble” the clothes around and have warm air pass over them. You should only put enough laundry in the dryer so that the air inside can still circulate well. This way you save significantly more energy, even if you have to use the dryer twice.

Damaged Dryer Heating Element

If the dryer drum is turning as normal, but there is no heat, then you could have a faulty heating element. You have two options here; replace the heater yourself, or contact an engineer to replace it for you.

Replacement can be done without the need for a professional, but only if you feel confident. The first thing you’ll need to do it buy a new heater. When it arrives, remove the tumble dryer lid and side panels to access the defective heater. Simply unplug and unscrew the heater, then do the reverse to install the new one.

There are plenty of tutorials online that will walk you through this process (search YouTube), though be sure to specify your dryer brand, whether it’s Beko, Indesit, Bosch, or Hotpoint, there should be guidance online.

Overheat Safety Cut-off

With some dryers, if the appliance gets too hot, a safety shutdown kicks in, ensuring that the device no longer heats properly for a short time. Again, make sure all vents are clean and clear, and never store your dryer against a radiator.

Dirty Blocked Filters

Regardless of whether you still have the condenser dryer or a modern heat pump, regular cleaning is mandatory so that the dryer works properly. The dryer must be able to draw air in and blow warm air out, without obstruction.

If the dryer does not dry, try this step by step troubleshooting process:

  1. Clean the lint filter: If the dryer is running but no longer drying, first check the lint filter. This will clog of not cleaned regularly. Other random objects can get into the filter, holes can be created so that you have to replace the filter, so check this over.
  2. Clean the temperature sensors: If the dryer is no longer warm, cleaning the temperature sensors may help. In many dryers, the sensors are located on the inside of the door, and look like metallic strips.
  3. Clean the condenser: If you have an vented dryer, this step does not apply. It may well be blocked. It is best to remove the condenser and rinse it thoroughly with water. A hand shower is particularly suitable here. Ensure the condenser is completely dried before putting back.
  4. Empty the condenser water tank: If the condenser tank is completely full, the dryer has nowhere to put the damp air, so this must be emptied.
  5. Check the drain hose: If your dryer has a drain hose plumbed in, check this for a blockage. Here, too, hair can get caught, preventing the water from draining off and negatively affecting the dryer when it is working.

For dryers that are eight years or older, the susceptibility to failure is far higher, according to a recent survey. Every fifth device had a defect or had to be replaced. In addition to adjustment and cleaning problems, the cause that the dryer no longer dries can also be due to a technical defect.

The following technical problems are particularly common: Before you start troubleshooting and unscrew the device, unplug the electrical power supply.

Blown fuses: If the dryer overheats, there is a possibility that an internal fuse has blown, which may need a specialist to check. Also, if the dryer is not turning on at all, a breaker switch may have tripped.

Drum jams: If the drum cannot rotate properly, the air cannot circulate either, so that the laundry is only heated, but not dried. There can be several things preventing the drum from turning – a broken belt, faulted drive motor, damaged bearing, or even small metal parts become detached from clothing, they can get caught and prevent or restrict the rotation of the drum.

Try turning the drum by hand. If this does not work, remove the back cover and try to identify the reason for the blockage. If this does not work right away, only extensive dismantling of the dryer will help.

The drum does not turn: If the drum can be moved by hand, but does not run when it is switched on, this indicates a defective drive belt or a fault in the electronics.

A defective heating element: If the dryer no longer heats up, but otherwise functions normally, the heating element is probably defective. You should run a cycle for 20 mins on the highest heat setting and check if the laundry is hot.

Brittle door seals: After some years of use, the door seals can deteriorate or become damaged. If this is the case, the energy consumption increases and the drying performance decreases. This allows hot steam to escape from the cracks in the door, messing with sensors, and preventing the washing from drying properly.

Usually, the door is difficult to close. You can replace a door seal yourself with a little manual skill.
You can find out how to do this in the operating instructions for your dryer.