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What to Do if a Dryer Keeps Stopping

Having a dryer creates so much more convenience in your life — no more waiting for hours while clothes dry out on a clothesline or bringing your laundry to your local laundromat. Having your own dryer in your home makes life easier. So what happens if your dryer stops every time you turn it on, and what do you do if a dryer keeps stopping? 

If your dryer keeps stopping, make sure your door is firmly closed and that the latch is working properly. Additionally, make sure the plug is connected securely to the electrical outlet. Finally, if those fixes don’t work, check for clogged dryer vents or a problem with the dryer’s thermal fuse.

Hopefully, you can find out why your dryer keeps stopping in the following different scenarios with some helpful techniques. If these tricks don’t seem to work, you may have to contact a service technician to come and take a look at your dryer to figure out why it keeps stopping. 

Why Does My Dryer Shut Off After a Few Seconds?

If you’ve ever loaded a dryer with an armful of wet clothing, closed the door, turned the dryer on, and walked away, then you’re like most people. More than likely, when you’re doing laundry, you’re also working on other household chores, and you’ll only spend a very short amount of time loading and unloading the washing machine and dryer.  

You come back to the dryer in an hour and find your clothes are just as wet as when you loaded them, and now you’re wondering how that must have happened. So, now you’ll try starting the dryer again and notice that it shuts off after a few seconds of starting, which can be very frustrating.

There can be a few causes as to why your dryer shuts off after a few seconds of running. These include the door not being latched properly, a full dryer vent, the plug not having a secure connection, or a bad thermal fuse. 

It’s possible that there may be an easy solution, so before you call for a service technician to come and take a look, make sure you take a look at each of the following common causes to solve the mystery of why your dryer shuts off after a few seconds: 

The Door Hasn’t Been Latched Properly

As you know, unless the dryer door is shut, the dryer won’t work. 

Just like with any door, if you’ve opened and shut it many times, the frame and fasteners won’t work as well as they did when you opened and closed the door the first time. This can be the reason why your door isn’t latching as well as it should. 

Take a look and see why the door isn’t closing correctly. Are the fasteners securely tightened, or are they loose or missing? Are parts of the latch bent or broken? Replacement doors are easy to install and can be purchased from your manufacturer or anywhere appliance replacement parts are sold. 

The Dryer Vent May Be Full

As easy as it is to forget, it’s very important to remember to clean the lint trap in your dryer after every load to prevent damage or fire from occurring while your dryer is in use. To help you remember, it’s a good habit to clean your lint trap after every time you dry your laundry, so you don’t forget when you start another load. 

Your dryer may also be shutting off after a few seconds due to an electrical malfunction caused by a clogged dryer vent. This can be potentially dangerous, and the vent will need to be cleared immediately. 

The Plugin May Not Have a Secure Connection

Dryers can move when in motion and shake, possibly causing the power cord to loosen its connection to the outlet over time. If your dryer is shutting off after a few seconds, it may be due to the fact that the plug does not have a strong connection, and you will need to check to make sure the plug is completely connected to the electrical socket.  

The power cord may also be damaged; in that case, you will need to purchase a replacement cord from your manufacturer. 

The Dryer May Have a Bad Thermal Fuse

If you’ve investigated and failed to find a possible cause for why your dryer keeps shutting off after a few seconds, then you may have a bad thermal fuse in your dryer. This heat or thermal fuse creates hot air inside your machine to dry your clothes. If there is a case of a bad heating fuse, you will need to replace it.

To replace the fuse yourself:

  1. First, unplug your dryer and remove the back panel to locate the thermal fuse.
  2. Disconnect the old fuse from the connecting wires and connect the new fuse.  
  3. Screw the panel back into place and plug in the dryer; your dryer should work now.

If you don’t feel comfortable replacing the thermal fuse yourself, contact a service technician to come and replace it. 

Dryer Stops Heating Mid Cycle

You’ve loaded your dryer with laundry, set the time and heating preset buttons, and your dryer powered up and seems to be working well, so you walk away and continue on with your various house projects and chores.

At the dryer’s end time, you take our clothes and notice they’re not fully dry, but it’s evident that they received some drying heat during the cycle. So, why didn’t your dryer use heat during the entire cycle and stop mid-cycle? 

There may be a few reasons why your dryer didn’t heat your laundry during the entire cycle. Some of them may have a logical explanation with a quick fix, but there may be other causes that need to be repaired or even looked at by a professional.

However, before jumping to conclusions and shelling out money for costly repairs, take a look to see if one of these reasons is the cause of why your dryer stops heating mid-cycle. 

The Dryer May Have Become Overheated

If your dryer stops producing heat halfway through the drying cycle, there may be a chance that it’s become overheated. This can happen when the dryer vent becomes clogged with lint, if the thermal fuse has gone bad, or if the heat becomes too high and a safety shut-off measure is taken. 

If you’ve noticed your clothes aren’t dry after a full drying cycle, one of these reasons may be the culprit. First, you can try checking to see if your dryer vent is clogged. When your appliance is on and running, go to the dryer vent output on the outside of your house. Do you feel the heat coming from the vent?

If not, the exhaust vent hose is most likely clogged and needs to be cleaned out immediately, not only to get your dryer running properly but also to prevent a fire. Dryer vents should be cleared once a year on average, and if you haven’t cleaned it out in a while, this could be the cause of your dryer malfunction. 

If your dryer vent is clear and good to go, the cause could be a bad thermal fuse. You can replace the thermal fuse by removing the back panel of the dryer and disconnecting the fuse from the connectors; a thermal fuse can typically be purchased from your manufacturer or an appliance parts store.  

The thermal fuse also shuts off the dryer when it reaches too high of a temperature, so if your dryer stops putting out heat midway through the cycle, this can also be due to a faulty thermal fuse.  

The Dryer Was Unplugged

Sometimes, life happens, and a plug can become disconnected during a dryer’s cycle over time. When a dryer is on, it may shake or vibrate, possibly causing the electrical plug to fall out of its socket, especially if it’s older and might have become worn and loose. If your dryer stops midway through a cycle, it could be a simple solution, such as the dryer becoming unplugged.  

If you can, reach back and check to see if the plug has a secure connection with the wall socket, and also check to make sure the cord doesn’t have any damage as well.

It’s possible that if your dryer has moved, it could have run over the cord and caused a tear somewhere in the wiring. If needed, you can purchase a new electrical cord from your manufacturer or wherever appliance parts are sold.

The Door Opened During a Cycle

The door to your dryer should always be closed and secure before you start your dryer. Otherwise, it’s not going to start. Dryers are built with a safety mechanism to shut off whenever the door is unlatched. So, if your dryer stopped midway through the cycle, it’s a possibility that the door was opened.  

The causes of a door opening halfway through the cycle could be that the latch is broken and needs to be replaced, or you may have too many bulky items in your laundry that forced the door to open during the cycle.  

Will a Dryer Stop Heating if the Vent Is Clogged?

One of the most common reasons for a dryer to stop heating is because the vent is clogged. If you’ve noticed your clothes aren’t getting completely dry after using your dryer, check the vent for lint, dust, or other debris that could be clogging it up, making it malfunction. 

With every load after a load of laundry, all the lint and debris from your clothes can really add up. Every time your dryer runs through a cycle, lint is added to your exhaust vent, decreasing the amount of air that can get through the vent hose. The lint trap will help catch most of the lint and debris from your laundry, but not all of it.

At one point, the smaller amounts of lint that are being added to your vent will eventually clog it enough that air will not be able to escape, and you could have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands. One of the top causes of house fires caused by dryers is due to a clogged dryer vent.  

If you’ve noticed your dryer has stopped heating, you should first make sure your dryer vent is cleared before moving on to other, more costly solutions that can lead to repairs and replacement parts.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to get your dryer vent cleared to make your dryer safe and efficient:

  • Clean the dryer vent yourself. If you want to save money and the time it’ll take to schedule an appointment for a vent cleaning service, you can DIY a dryer vent cleaning. Make sure you disconnect the dryer hose from the vent, then you will use a vacuum to suck up the lint and debris from the vent. It’s best to use a hose attachment on your vacuum for easy access.  
  • Hire a service to clean your dryer vent. If you don’t trust yourself to do the job, then you can also hire a dryer vent cleaning service to come and take care of your clogged vent for you. These companies are common and can be found almost anywhere if you do a quick internet search for dryer vent cleaning in your area.  

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what to do if your dryer keeps stopping, have you figured out how to fix it? 

After reading about the different reasons dryers keep stopping and learning what you can do to repair or prevent a problem, you should have no trouble finding the solution to your dryer worries.  

If you’ve tried the solutions listed here and it still isn’t working, it may be time to contact a service technician to come and take a look at your dryer to determine if a part can be fixed or if it’s time to buy a new unit.


  • Vincent Steele

    Vincent is a freelance writer based in Santa Ana, California. When he isn't writing articles for Temperature Master, he can be found biking or hanging out with his cat, Shelly.

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