Repairing a Dryer that Won’t Heat – How I saved myself $600

There is nothing I fear more then the thought of my washer or dryer dying suddenly, mounds of laundry piling up, and spending tons of money on a repair call. All of my major appliances came with my condo when I purchased in 2011, most of them from the mid 1990’s. They are all a beautiful bisque color and function pretty well.  I know at some point I’ll need to replace them with shiny white versions, but for now I hope to keep them working for a little while longer.

I have a fairly reliable Whirlpool stackable thin twin washer/dryer combo.  The only issues I’ve had with it have been when wiring comes loose.  A couple weeks ago I noticed that my dryer was tumbling, but not heating.  I had been running a lot of laundry the week before, so I figured I had overheated the dryer from the use.

I held back from calling a repairman, hoping that if I didn’t panic, I could possibly repair it myself.  I started with research,  using the very reliable Youtube to get an idea of what would be involved.

The repair process seemed fairly simple, I just needed to purchase a Voltmeter.  I went with a basic version, I have no plans to become an electrician, otherwise I may have invested more.


Once my Voltmeter arrived, I then had to figure out how to actually get to the back panel of my dryer.  A common problem of the DIY’er that lives alone, I had something heavy to move all by myself.  Safety first, I cut the power to the washer/dryer from my fuse box and then also unplugged the unit.  I ended up doing a tilt and lift method, magically not injuring myself or the dryer.  The wall got a little banged up. This is as far as I could move it on my own.


I promised myself that if I started to feel like I was causing any damage to the dryer and getting in over my head, I’d stop immediately. I’m still haunted by the time I tried to install my own faucets and ended up paying a plumber $700 to fix my install. Getting the top panel of the dryer off was pretty straight forward, just unscrewing and carefully lifting off to keep from scraping the paint.


Once off, the back of the dryer had wires and access to the heating elements.


At this point I referenced a Whirlpool troubleshooting guide that I found online. 

Repair Checklist

I went step by step checking each circuit and fuse with the Voltmeter.  If I didn’t get a reading with one measurement, I tried the others incase I had the setting wrong.  I got a number for every item except the Thermal Fuse, a tiny little piece about an inch long.




After seeing that I could order one for less then $10, I figured it was worth a shot. 

My handy little manual also included instructions for changing the thermal fuse.  Once installed, I used the Voltmeter to make sure I got a reading, which I did!

Now the true test, I shimmied that washer/dryer back into place and ran a load of laundry.  It worked! It’s been over a month now and the dryer is still going strong.  I’m careful now that I don’t overheat and blow the fuse again.  I now feel more comfortable taking a shot first at simple repairs 🙂 Overall I spent less then $20 on the dryer repair, compared to what I’m sure would have been a $600 service call.

Please note: I am in no way a trained electrician or appliance repairman, I wanted to share my experience as a novice.  Repair at your own risk!