Clothes Dryer Heating But Not Drying

Clothes Dryer Heating But Not Drying Clothes? – How to Fix It

Almost everyone that has had a clothes dryer, at some point or another, has experienced it when it heats up but doesn’t dry the clothes inside. More often than not, the symptoms start gradually, but you rarely notice it until it is too late. You may start noticing that the dryer takes longer and longer to dry the clothes, even though you know it is heating because you can feel the heat. However, after 2-3 full cycles of drying time, you may start to think that you have a problem. The question is, when you have a clothes dryer heating but not drying clothes, what do you do?

Clothes Dryer Heating But Not Drying Clothes? – What Do You Do?

One of the best things about clothes dryers, except the fact that they, well, dry your clothes, is that they are relatively simple machines. That means that there are minimal checks that you need to do to get them working at optimal efficiency. There are three basic processes that a clothes dryer will use:

  • Heat
  • Tumbling
  • Exhaust

While the exhaust will differ depending on whether you have a condenser (ventless), or vented dryer, it still comes under the exhaust process. That makes it very easy to work out why your clothes may not be drying when it is heating up. For this article, we will presume that the drum is turning, and the heating element is working; otherwise, we would be looking at a dryer that doesn’t heat or doesn’t turn.

That leaves the exhaust as the primary culprit for your extended or illusive drying times.

Check Your Vent Hose

Most issues you are likely to find with a clothes dryer that is heating but not drying are the vent hose. The vent hose takes all of the moisture away from the clothes by using the hot air in the dryer. So, if it is clogged, you are likely to find that your clothes will not dry very well, if at all.

There are different methods of exhausting the hot, damp air from your clothes. But ultimately, you will have a hose, either rigid or flexible, that will lead away from the dryer to the outside to direct that air and moisture away from the drum.

If that exhaust system is blocked with lint, or anything else, then it is not going to be able to take that moisture away, and your clothes will not dry. The bigger the blockage, the longer it will take to dry.

Cleaning The Dryer Exhaust

The first thing you need to do is ensure that the exhaust tube is free to vent the air right from the atmosphere’s opening. With rigid tubes, you will probably have a hole drilled in your wall, expelling the air directly outside. That is the first place to check. Has someone put anything over the vent, or a pile of leaves accumulated there, or whatever.

If you have a flexible hose, ensure that nothing like plastic bags has covered the vent or that it hasn’t fallen onto a wall or anything else. If something is blocking it, remove it straight away. However, ensure that you check inside the hose for anything that may have worked its way in, and remove what you can.

Vent Hose

While you may look inside the hose from the exhaust end and find nothing blocking it, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing in the vent system.

Honestly, if you have a flexible hose, then you are probably better to buy a new hose and replace it. You will never be able to remove all of the lint, and unfortunately, lint attracts lint. So, if you leave any in there, it will take a lot less time to build up again that you would like.

If you have a rigid hose, you should try to clear out as much of the lint as possible. If you have taped joints, disconnect them and get in as far as you can with a plastic stick to remove the lint and then retape them using lint-free tape such as duct tape. Remember to clear any vent flaps and ensure they are free to move without sticking.

Clothes Dryer Heating But Not Drying Clothes? – Don’t Forget The Dryer

Most people gravitate towards the hose, and then leave the rest of the system. Some dryers have internal lint filters to stop the lint from getting into the hose, but unfortunately, they are not as efficient as we would like. So, check the filter and remove any build up in it. Also, check for rips or holes in the filter that may allow for lint to pass through. If there are any rips, make sure that you replace the filter too.


The filter is usually on the front of the clothes dryer, inside the door. When you have removed the filter, check down the exhaust vent and clean out any lint that you see in there. Replace the filter, and move onto the next step.

Disconnect the power and ensure the dryer is cool for the next step!

After you have disconnected the power, pull the dryer away from the wall. Next, remove the hose from the back of the dryer. If you have a solid tube vent, you may have to do that before moving it away from the wall.

More often than not, you can see inside the tube that runs from the lint filter at the front of the dryer to the back where you attach the hose. Make sure that you remove all of the lint from the inside of the dryer. Some machines may need you to remove the back panel to get all of the lint out, and many of them are user-serviceable friendly. However, if you have any concerns about removing the panel, consult a professional.

Clothes Dryer Heating But Not Drying Clothes? – Conclusion

After you have taken the time to search for and remove all of the lint from the dryer, you can reassemble it. Make sure that you put the rear cover on properly, as it is easy to push it too far into the machine and cause the belt to foul on the case. Furthermore, there is usually a stamped ring that the internal hose fits around to ensure that it matches well.

Do a quick test of the dryer with no clothes in it to check for good airflow out of the vent. If it provides a lot of hot air, you can try it with some clothes. If you cannot get to the exhaust, carefully feeling the hose to see it is getting hot is often a good sign of airflow.

Your clothes dryer should now dry clothes as well as it did when you first bought it!

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