We all know that dryers, much like their name may suggest, are designed to dry clothes. But what you may not know is how that happens. In electric dryers, a key player in this process is the Heating Element, which is why we have made them this week’s pick. Today we’ll be sharing with you how the Heating Element in your dryer works and a few signs that it may need to be replaced.
How it Works
Let’s start at the very beginning. A Heating Element is mainly made up of coiled wire. As electric current passes through it, the coils heat up warming the air that flows through the Element. It’s actually very similar to how your toaster works.
The coils themselves are usually made of nichrome, an 80/20 nickel and chronium alloy. The reason for this is that this alloy has a very high melting point and does not oxidize (rust) or expand very easily. It’s also known to have a relatively consistent resistance.
The coils act as resistors. As electricity passes through the coils it is converted to heat energy which warms the air in the dryer. Most Elements run on 240V and average at around 4500 Watts.
Although the Element itself can vary in shape and size, they all essentially work this way.
Signs Your Heating Element May Need to be Replaced
There are a few common signs that your dryer’s Heating Element is not functioning properly and may need to replaced.
- Your dryer is taking longer than normal – This could be a sign that the Heating Element may have shorted. When this happens, your element only uses some of the coils so your dryer will get warm but not hot enough to fully dry your clothes.
- Your dryer has no heat – This could be a sign that the circuit has become damaged and electricity is unable to pass through your element
- Visible signs of damage – if you can see that there is a break in any of the coils in your dryer’s element or scorch marks, it may need to be replaced
An easy way to find out if your Heating Element is the source of your dryer issue is to test the Element for continuity. After unplugging the appliance and disconnecting the element from the circuit, use a multi-meter to test the part (Not sure how? Check out this article: Using a Multimeter to Test for Continuity).
There should be some resistance present for the element to work, which will be specified in the owner’s manual. If the meter displays an open circuit or the reading is not within the recommended range, the Heating Element will need to be replaced.
Need a new Heating Element? You can find them on our website here: Dryer Heating Elements | 1st Source Servall.
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Written by: Sarah Walker