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By: Nick

CEO Nick's Appliance Repair

dryer won't start

Table of Contents

What To Do If Dryer Won’t Start

It always seems like your dryer chooses the worst possible moment to break down. Whether you attribute it to Murphy’s Law or bad luck, there are more convenient times.

While you may be able to tolerate specific issues, such as inadequate heating, if your dryer doesn’t start, you could find yourself stuck wearing damp clothing to work.

If you’re pressed for time or need more repair skills, you can rely on Nick’s Appliance Repair Service for quick, hassle-free appliance repairs. Their online scheduling system can send a skilled technician to your doorstep today if necessary.

Alternatively, if you’re up for the challenge, we’ve created a step-by-step troubleshooting guide to help you determine why your dryer won’t start, along with some suggestions for fixing it.

Is your dryer making a squeaky noise and you don’t know what to do? Don’t worry! Check out our comprehensive guide on how to diagnose and fix a squeaky dryer. Learn expert tips and tricks now!

The Reasons Your Gas or Electric Dryer Won’t Start

Before searching for faulty components, ensure your dryer is properly plugged in, and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Test the functionality of the electrical outlet by plugging in another device. If the outlet does not work, it may not be very accurate.

Door Switch

A door switch is utilized for a dryer to begin or end the tumbling process. If your dryer fails to start, it is likely due to a faulty door switch.


Before troubleshooting your dryer, disconnect it from the electrical outlet or turn off the circuit breaker switch. To locate the switch, look behind the front panel – it should be in the door and have two or three metal prongs sticking out. If any prongs that touch the switch when the dryer door is closed are bent or broken, try to turn them back in place. If that doesn’t work, use a multimeter tester to check the switch’s continuity.

If the door switch is faulty, you can either pop it out or remove the single screw holding it in place. Remember to label the two wires that need to be disconnected from reinstalling them later. Finally, install a new dryer switch.

The door switch is an important safety feature that ensures the dryer starts only when the door is closed correctly. To inspect the switch, open the door and look for a tiny white prong that should be sticking out. It should function like a spring-loaded button. If the prong is not working correctly, check if it is stuck in the closed position, as this could indicate a problem with the defective door switch.

Are your clothes still damp after a full cycle in the dryer? It might be due to a lack of heat. Find out why your dryer is not heating and how to fix it by reading our informative article. Say goodbye to damp clothes!

Thermal Fuse

Most dryers employ a thermal fuse as a safety feature to prevent excessive heating. This component is sensitive to heat and will interrupt the dryer’s operation if it detects too high a temperature.


To test the thermal fuse, first unplug the dryer. The location of the fuse depends on the type of dryer – it can be found on the blower housing or heating element housing for electric dryers or the burner housing for gas dryers. If the thermal fuse blows or is faulty, it will show no continuity when tested using a multimeter.

Although your dryer’s starting problems may have been unrelated, you may observe that the drum is still turning and the machine is still running, yet your clothes remain damp after the drying cycle. In this scenario, the blown thermal fuse is probably responsible for the issue.

Start Switch

In a dryer, the start switch provides electricity to the motor, which then initiates the spinning process. Once the motor starts spinning, a centrifugal switch expands to maintain the dryer’s operation. However, the dryer will not begin operating if the start switch fails to send the initial spark to the motor.

Frustrated with a dryer that’s not spinning? We’re here to help! Explore our step-by-step guide on diagnosing and repairing a dryer that won’t spin. Get your dryer back in action now!


The start switch is on the upper part of your dryer’s control panel and is responsible for transmitting power to the drive motor when pressed. Before testing the start switch for continuity, it’s essential to unplug your dryer. To access the switch, you need to remove the screws located on both sides of the control panel. To avoid confusion when reattaching the wires to the new start switch, label the two or three wires that lead to the start switch.

If your start switch isn’t the issue currently, monitoring it for any signs of trouble is still essential. Look out for it sticking or not coming out above the panel. When you press the switch, you should hear a clicking sound. You may need to replace the switch if there is no sound.


The dryer timer is situated in your machine’s control panel, using a small motor to switch electric contacts on and off. When the timer malfunctions, there is no electrical spark, and your dryer will not initiate.

The timer on your dryer comprises gears and cams that work together with a small motor to operate and switch electrical contacts on and off. If this mechanism fails, your dryer will not be able to start.


Verify its continuity to ensure the timer is functioning correctly and not needing to be replaced. Remember to disconnect the dryer before conducting the test.

The timer may malfunction if wet clothes still need to be dried thoroughly after an entire drying cycle. Check if the timer has deviated from its original setting or appears stuck in one position. If this is the case, it may only complete part of the drying cycle and must be substituted.


The thermostat’s function in your dryer is to keep track of and regulate the temperature inside the machine while it is running. When the temperature reaches a specific level, the thermostat will disengage the electrical connection, allowing the air to cool down. However, if the thermostat malfunctions, the dryer may become too hot and cause the thermal fuse to trip. This will result in the dryer being unable to start.


If your dryer doesn’t start, a malfunctioning thermostat may be the culprit. Typically, dryers have multiple thermostats that regulate temperature for each setting. To check these thermostats, you’ll need to open your dryer cabinet. Refer to your manual for instructions specific to your make and model.

The thermostats are on the blower wheel housing or inside the exhaust system. Be sure to disconnect the power before testing. If you find a faulty thermostat, remove the two screws holding it and label the wires to ensure proper re-installation. To install the new thermostat, follow the reverse procedure.

If none of these steps work, you may need help from a professional dryer repair service.

Terminal Block

The terminal block is a crucial component of a gas dryer that connects the power cord to the main wiring of your dryer, supplying it with electricity. If the terminal block malfunctions, your dryer will fail to start, and it could cause a fire and destroy the machine entirely.

Before inspecting the terminal block, disconnect the plug from the outlet to avoid the risk of electrical shock.


To inspect the terminal block of your dryer, begin by unscrewing the rear access panel. Look for any signs of broken wires, melted insulation, or discoloration of the connections. If you notice any of these issues, the terminal block of the broken dryer will need to be replaced.

Take note of the orientation of the front power wires and rear connections, and then use a screwdriver to disconnect the cables. Unscrew the old terminal block and cut the wires as close as possible to the back.

When inserting the new terminal block, strip ¼” of insulation from the wires, reattach them and crimp them in place. Ensuring the white wire is attached to the silver terminal is essential. Snap the terminals into the new block, providing the silver terminal is in the center slot.

Finally, reattach the power wires and remount the block before closing the access panel.

Drive Motor

The primary role of the drive motor in an electric dryer is to spin the belt, which rotates the drum. It also powers the blower fan wheel to ensure warm air circulates inside the dryer and dries the clothes. The dryer will not function properly if the motor is not working correctly.


The drive motor operates the dryer’s drum and blower wheel. If the dryer is emitting a humming noise but not running, it is advisable to inspect the drive motor. Before beginning maintenance, ensure the machine is unplugged from the electrical outlet. Proceed to remove the belt from the motor and examine for any obstructions.

If there are any blockages in the blower wheel, they should be cleared. However, if there are no obstructions, the drive motor may be defective, and a professional appliance technician is recommended to replace it.

If your dryer’s motor is not functioning correctly, you might hear a humming sound when you press the start button, but the drum will not rotate. To confirm the issue, try turning the drum manually. If it does, gas and electric dryers will not move; you probably need to replace the motor.

Drive Belt

In a dryer, the drive belt is wrapped around the exterior of the drum and connected to both the drive pulley and dryer motor. Its purpose is to rotate the drum. If the drive belt is broken, some dryers may not start.


Replacing the drive belt in a dryer is a slightly complex task, as it needs to be looped onto the drive pulley, the dryer motor shaft, the idler pulley, and the tensioner. You should contact an appliance repair service to carry out this replacement.

You may notice several symptoms if there’s a problem with your dryer belt. These can include the drum not turning, the dryer not starting, strange noises like banging or popping during operation, squealing or grinding sounds during the drying cycle, or the dryer stopping in the middle of a cycle. If you notice any of these issues, it could mean that the belt is broken or worn out.

Belt Switch

A belt switch is connected to a pulley that maintains tension on the dryer’s belt, and its purpose is to detect whether the belt is broken. If the belt does break, the dryer may abruptly stop during a drying cycle or fail to start altogether.


Not all dryers come with a belt switch, so it’s a good idea to double-check your owner’s manual to see if your particular machine has one.

If your dryer has this switch, you may hear a humming sound when you try to start it, but it won’t turn on. On the other hand, if you don’t hear any noise at all, you can use a continuity tester to check if the switch is faulty.

Remember that while you may need to replace the switch, it might not be the primary issue preventing your dryer from starting.

Main Control Board

It’s not common for the main control board to malfunction and prevents your dryer from starting, so it’s unlikely to be the root cause of the problem. However, if you’ve already ruled out all other potential issues and the dryer still won’t start, the main control circuit board may need replacing. In this case, it’s essential to have a qualified technician handle the replacement process.

Own a GE dryer that’s not starting? You’re not alone! Our detailed blog post specifically addressing this issue in GE dryers is just a click away. Learn how to get your GE dryer up and running today!

What to watch out for:

The primary dryer control panel or board manages all the functions of a dryer, and if it gets damaged or malfunctions, the signs may differ. The dryer might start and stop unpredictably, not heat up enough or too much, run cycles abnormally, or encounter other unusual problems. The primary control board could be the culprit if your dryer has been affected during transportation, exposed to moisture, or experienced a significant electrical surge.

Why does my dryer vent have water in it?

Water accumulation in your vent can occur for several reasons, such as a blocked vent, cold weather, or a damaged vent cover. In particular, warm and moist air may accumulate inside the vent during cold weather.

To prevent this, clean the vent pipe and wrap it with insulation to reduce the temperature difference and moisture buildup. If the vent cover is damaged, replace it promptly to prevent snow, rain, and debris from clogging.

How can I keep my dryer running in peak condition longer?

To extend the lifespan of your dryer and reduce utility costs, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance. Here are some tips to keep your dryer running smoothly:

After every cycle, be sure to empty the lint filter. A clogged filter can increase drying time, raise utility bills, and even create a fire hazard.

Every few months, unplug your dryer and remove the lint filter—vacuum inside the lint trap to eliminate any accumulated lint and debris.

Wipe down the interior of your dryer once a month to remove any residue from fabric softener or dryer sheets. This will prevent air holes from getting clogged and prevent stains on clothing.

Clean the exhaust or clogged dryer vent at least once a year to prevent buildup and blockages. A blocked exhaust vent can reduce your dryer’s efficiency and cause a potential fire hazard.