How To Replace Dryer Heating Element? (Step-by-Step)

Here’s how you can replace a dryer’s heating element:

  • You will first have to locate the heating element through the user manual of your clothes dryer.
  • Usually, they are located behind the drum and on the back of your dryer.
  • Detach the back panel and disconnect the electrical wires from the old heating component to remove it and replace it with the new element.

Note: To get to the heating element in some dryers, you may have to take off the front and top panels.

Key takeaways

  • Dryers are equipped with a heating element that does all the heating.
  • The heating element is used mostly in electric dryers.
  • A heating element may wear out or damage over time due to many factors such as overloading, wrong voltage, or improper use.
  • When replacing the heating element, be sure to unplug your dryer from the power source and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always wear gloves to protect your hands when handling the heating element.
  • Heating elements usually come with a warranty, so check with the manufacturer if yours is still under warranty

Before replacing the heating element, it’s important that you properly diagnose the issue using a multimeter to test for continuity.

If the heating element is damaged beyond repair, you will need to buy a new one and replace it by following the steps below.

If your dryer is still not working after replacing the heating element, there may be other issues that need to be addressed, such as a blown fuse.

What is a heating element in a dryer?

A heating element in a clothes dryer is what produces the heat to dry your clothes.

It is typically made up of a coiled wire that is wrapped around a metal rod, and the coil is usually made of nichrome.

Note: Nichrome is a type of alloy that is resistant to heat and corrosion.

How does the heating element work in a clothes dryer?

When the dryer is turned on, an electric current passes through the coil, which heats the rod (glow bar), and this heat then dries the clothes.

As the glow bar gets hotter, hot air moves around the drum, picking up moisture from the clothes. The moist air is then passed through a condensing chamber where the water is condensed and collected.

If your dryer is not yielding enough heat, or if it is taking too long to dry your clothes, then it is likely that the heating element needs to be replaced. 

Where is the heating element located in a clothes dryer?

The heating element in a clothes dryer is usually located near the back of the drum, and you may need to disassemble the back panel to access it.

In some models, you may have to take off the front panel next to the drum to find the heating element.

How does the heating element get damaged?

Over time, the heating element can become damaged due to many reasons, such as overloading, power fluctuation, poor maintenance, aging, or even improper use.

When the heating element is damaged, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

How to know if the heating element is damaged?

In order to figure out if the heating element is damaged, you can use a multimeter to test for continuity.

  • First, unplug your dryer from the power source and then remove the back panel.
  • Next, Locate the heating element and use a multimeter to test for continuity.
  • In order to test the connectivity, you will need to touch one lead of the multimeter to each terminal of the heating element.
  • If the multimeter beeps or registers a reading, then this means that the heating element is not damaged and does not need a replacement.
  • If there is no reading on the multimeter, then this means that the heating element is damaged and will need to be replaced.

How to replace the heating element in a clothes dryer?

If your clothes are taking longer to dry or are not getting as hot as they used to, it’s time for you to diagnose and take a look at the heating element.

If the heating element is damaged or taking a long time to heat, you may consider replacing it.

Instructions to replace the heating element of a clothes dryer

Step 1: Unplug and shift the dryer

As a safety measure, unplug the dryer and disconnect it from its power source so you don’t get electrocuted while working on it.

Note: If you have installed an exhaust vent, just take it off the dryer’s back. And to access the back panel, gently lift the machine off its stand.

Step 2: Remove the back panel

Now, use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the back panel in place and detach the back panel.

Step 3: Access the heating element

With the back panel off, you should be able to see the heating element located behind the drum. You can get a better understanding by reading the user manual.

Step 4: Remove the connected Wires

Once you have located the heating element, disconnect the wires that are attached to it.

Use the socket wrench to disconnect the wires from the terminals on the heater element.

You may need to use a pair of pliers in some cases, to loosen the wire nuts.

Note: Be sure to label the wires so that you can reconnect them properly when you install the new heating element. Then, using the wire strippers, remove about 12 inches of insulation from each wire’s end.

Step 5: Unmount and replace the heating element

To remove the old heating element, use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the mounting screws that keep it in place.

Next, install the new heater element and fix the back panel.

Step 6: Reassemble the Dryer

Move the dryer back to its place and be sure to reconnect all wires and hoses.

Now, plug in the dryer and run a test cycle.

Is it worth replacing the heating element in a dryer?

A heating element can cost anywhere between $40 and $100, depending on the brand and model of your clothes dryer. With that said, the heating element may be more than $200 in some dryers.

So, the best way to decide if it’s worth replacing the heating element is to do a cost-benefit analysis by considering the factors such as the age of your dryer, the cost of a new heating element, the labor charges, etc.

If your clothes dryer is more than 10 years old, you may want to consider buying a new one as the cost of replacing the heating element may not be worth it in the long run, especially if the heating element for your dryer is on the expensive side.

On the other hand, if your clothes dryer is less than 10 years old, replacing the heating element may be a more cost-effective option than buying a new dryer.

With that said, if your dryer isn’t that old and the heating element burns often, say more than once a year or two, then it’s likely that the thermal fuse is bad.

So, replace the thermal fuse to get a permanent fix in this case.

So, before you replace any parts in your clothes dryer, you should make sure you know what’s wrong.

Additionally, inadequate ventilation might also be another factor that can overheat the heating element. Therefore, make sure that the exhaust vent isn’t blocked by anything.

Furthermore, if the heating element is still not working even after successful installation, make sure to check if the power supply is working or not.

If you’re still not sure about what’s wrong with your clothes dryer, you can always call a professional for help.

Some useful tips to maintain the efficiency of a dryer’s heating element

Here are some useful tips to maintain the efficiency of your electric dryer.

Inspect the exhaust vent

Inspect the exhaust vent regularly and clean it if necessary to ensure proper airflow.

A blocked vent can lead to overheating and damage the heating element.

Use Aluminum foil Duct

If possible, try to use an aluminum foil duct as it is less likely to get clogged than a flexible plastic duct.

Use the right settings

Make sure to use the right settings according to the type of clothes you are drying, as different fabrics require different temperatures.

Avoid Overloading your dryer

Overloading the dryer can also cause damage to the heating element.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to loading the dryer.

Clean the lint filter and vent

Lint build-up can decrease the efficiency of a clothes dryer and cause it to overheat.

So, be sure to clean the lint filter after every load of laundry and vacuum the vent periodically to remove any lint accumulation.

Use low heat settings

Do not use excessive heat settings if not required.

Using moderate and low heat settings will help prevent your clothes from over-drying and damaging.

Likewise, it will maintain the efficiency of the heating element.

Use a higher spin speed

If the garments are suitable for higher spin speeds, then increasing the spin speed of your dryer will help to remove more moisture from your clothes and reduce the burden on the heating elements.

Do not overuse your dryer

Avoid overusing or constantly using the dryer for extended periods.

If you have access to a clothesline, take advantage of it.

Line drying your clothes is a great way to save energy and extend the life of your clothing and machine.

Final Thoughts

Regular cleaning and servicing of the dryer, including its vent areas, is always a good idea.

It will not only maintain the dryer’s efficiency but also prolong its life.

If your clothes dryer is turning out to be inefficient, it may be time to get it serviced and replace the heating element if the problem persists.

Always refer to the user manual of your dryer before proceeding with the troubleshooting steps.

If you have any doubts or if you are unsure of something, it is better to approach a service professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth fixing the heating element on a 20-year-old dryer?

No, it is not worth fixing a heating element on a 20-year-old dryer. The average lifespan of a clothes dryer is around 10 to 13 years. So, if your dryer is already 20 years old, it is better to replace it with a new one. However, if the issue is something else, like a blocked vent, then it might be worth fixing it.

How easy is it to replace a dryer heating element?

It is not difficult to replace the heating element in a dryer. But it’s always best to check the user manual for the dryer model you have. Most of the time, you will need to take off the dryer’s back panel to get to the heating element. After you find the heating element, you can switch it out for a new one. Make sure to follow all the safety instructions while doing so.

Do all dryers use the same heating element?

No, all dryers do not use the same heating element. The type of heating element used in a dryer depends on the model and make of the dryer. So, it is always better to refer to the user manual or contact a service professional to find out which type of heating element is compatible with your dryer.

What is the lifespan of a dryer’s heating element?

In general, a heating element should last anywhere between 10 and 18 years. However, the lifespan of a heating element also depends on how often you use your dryer and what type of settings you use. If you use your dryer frequently or on high heat settings, then the heating element will have a shorter lifespan.