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Question DetailsAsked on 3/4/2016

What would cause an electric dryer to tumble & blow cold air but not hot air?

I moved into a trailer & got a Whirlpool Cabrio washer & dryer. The dryer tumbles & blows cold air. It does not blow any hot air. The place I got them from took the dryer back & tested worked fine, blew hot air. Brought it back to me & said its something with the outlet. I've made sure the circuits are on. What could it be?

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3 Answers


Likely needs a 240 volt circuit, and is only getting 120 volt on "one leg" which is all that is needed for the motor to run.

We replaced an electric dyer in our rental condo in Decembar, repair company said parts not available to repair, motor ran , no heat.

New dryer, motor ran , but still no heat. Wire inside wall outlet was burn't off, only getting 120 volts.


Answered 4 years ago by BayAreaAC


BayAreaAC has it exactly right - one hot lead of the 220/240V circuit is not providing power. Assuming the company was honest about it working at their shop, then it sounds as if the dryer is good as well as its cord, so the problem could be a burnt out or excessively carbonized contact in the slots of the outlet, a burnt through wire or one released from a clamp (most commonly in the outlet), a failed connection at the breaker box fuse (especially if aluminum wire, which is likely), or a failed or "single-tripped" breaker - one the paired circuit breakers either failed internally, or tripped without tripping the other side, which can happen at times and may or may not show as a tripped lever.

I would NOT try to reset the breaker because if there is a problem you can have a very high amperage failure which is very dangerous to you and risks starting a fire. I would turn off the breaker ASAP (make sure both levers are flipped to OFFF) because if you have a broken wire it could be sitting close to the ground or neutral or a metal part and cause an arc and fire with no warning.

You need an Electrical contractor (your Search the List category) to track down the problem and fix it. Depending on the problem, might be from about $75-200 labor and from maybe $0-150 parts, because it might range from just reconnecting a loose connection or snipping a bad end off and pulling slack to reconnect it, to replacing the outlet or the breaker or having to splice in a replacement piece for a burnt section.

Could be, but not likely, significantly more if the failure is mid-wire, between tracking it down and either splicing it or possibly even having to replace the entire wire if the wire or its insulation is faulty or too aged, plus some drywall repair and painting afterwards. Rare, but does happen, especially in pre-1975 or so houses as some aluminum cable of that age and before has tendency to crystallize and thermo-corrode over time, and some also tends to get badly cracked insulation with aging. Of course, the cost for that repair depends on accessibility and distance from dryer to breaker panel.

One other possibility - half your 220/240V feed to entire house is dead - either in your house or in the line from the power company. If that was the case then about half the circuits in the house would not work at all - and if a power company problem due to failed line then likely any nearest neighbors whose lines come off the same transformer (if a shared transformer) would also have about half their circuits out. If neighbor's are partly out too, then call the power company rather than an electrician.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


One followup on this one (I was looking at it as a possible reference link for another similar question) - the only reason both responders jumped on it being an electrical problem in the house outlet or wiring was because the vendor had taken the unit back and it ran and heated OK - meaning it was not a bad heating element or sensor.

Normally, a dryer that tumbles but does not heat has failed because the electric heating element has failed, gas heating unit has failed or fails to ignite, or one of the temperature limit switches has failed so it thinks it has reached turn-off temperature for the coil when it actually has not. (

Note - the heating usually cycles on and off during a cycle - it will heat up the clothes on a fixed heating level on all but the fanciest models (which have variable heating levels), a temperature sensor then shuts off the heat while the tumbling continues, and once it gets back down to a point about 20-40 degrees below the high set point, it kicks the heating back on - so during an hour cycle the heating unit in the dryer may turn on and off as many as maybe 30-100 times. You will not notice this except to maybe hear a slight change in pitch of the motor as it speeds up a touch when the heating element goes off, if an electric rather than gas dryer. There are separate sensors for each cycle - Permanent Press, Delicate, etc) - which limit the heat for a given cycle to a preset maximum.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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