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Is It Worth Replacing A Heating Element In A Dryer?

If your clothes take forever to dry or come out damp, your dryer’s heating element could be broken.

Replacing a faulty heating element is one of the most common repairs for a dryer not heating properly. But is it worth the cost and effort to replace the heating element yourself or hire a technician?

The short answer is yes, replacing a broken heating element is worth it to get your dryer heating properly again. The heating element is responsible for generating the heat needed to dry your clothes. Without a working heating element, your dryer simply won’t be able to dry loads fully.

How a Dryer’s Heating Element Works

A dryer’s heating element is a crucial component in the drying process. It is responsible for converting electricity into the heat needed to dry your clothes effectively. Understanding how the heating element works can help you determine if it’s worth replacing when it malfunctions.

Converts electricity into heat

The heating element in a dryer is designed to convert electrical energy into heat energy. When you turn on your dryer, the electricity flows through the heating element, causing it to heat up. This heat is then transferred to the air circulating inside the dryer drum, which in turn dries your clothes.

Made of coiled metal wires

The heating element is typically made of coiled metal wires, usually made of nichrome alloy.

This alloy is chosen for its high electrical resistance, which allows it to generate a significant amount of heat when the electricity flows through it. The coiled design increases the surface area of the heating element, maximizing its heating capacity.

Protected by a metal housing

To ensure safety and prevent any damage to the heating element, it is enclosed in a metal housing.

This housing acts as a protective barrier, shielding the element from physical damage and preventing any direct contact with flammable materials inside the dryer. It also helps to distribute the heat evenly throughout the dryer drum, ensuring efficient drying.

It’s important to note that the heating element can wear out over time due to constant use and exposure to high temperatures. Signs of a faulty heating element include longer drying times, clothes not drying thoroughly, or the dryer not heating up at all.

If you encounter any of these issues, it may be worth considering replacing the heating element to restore the functionality of your dryer.

Signs Your Heating Element Is Broken

Clothes taking too long to dry

One of the most common signs that your heating element in the dryer is broken is when your clothes are taking an unusually long time to dry.

If you notice that your laundry is still damp even after a full drying cycle, it could be a clear indication that the heating element is not functioning properly.

This problem occurs because the heating element is responsible for generating the heat that dries your clothes. Without a functioning heating element, the dryer will struggle to reach the necessary temperature to dry your laundry efficiently.

Clothes not getting fully dry

Another sign of a broken heating element in a dryer is when your clothes are not getting fully dry, even after multiple drying cycles.

If you find that your clothes are still slightly damp or have areas that are not completely dry, it is likely that the heating element is not producing enough heat to effectively dry your laundry.

This can be frustrating and time-consuming, as you may need to run multiple drying cycles to achieve the desired dryness.

Scorch marks on clothes

If you notice scorch marks or burns on your clothes after they have been through the dryer, it is a strong indication that the heating element is malfunctioning.

When the heating element becomes faulty, it can produce excessive heat, causing damage to your clothes. These scorch marks can be unsightly and may render your clothing unwearable. It is important to address this issue promptly to prevent further damage to your garments.

Burning smell

A burning smell coming from your dryer is never a good sign and should be taken seriously. If you detect a burning odor while your dryer is in operation, it could be a result of a broken heating element. This smell may indicate that the heating element is overheating or even burning.

Continuing to use the dryer in this state can be dangerous and may lead to a potential fire hazard. It is crucial to turn off the dryer and seek professional assistance immediately if you experience this issue.

If you notice any of these signs, it is worth considering replacing the heating element in your dryer. A malfunctioning heating element not only affects the performance of your dryer but can also pose safety risks.

It is recommended to consult with a professional technician to diagnose the issue and determine the best course of action. Remember, safety should always be a priority when dealing with any electrical appliances.

The Cost of Replacing a Heating Element

Heating element kit costs $30-$200

When it comes to replacing a heating element in a dryer, one of the main considerations is the cost of the replacement part.

On average, a heating element kit for a dryer can range from $30 to $200. The price may vary depending on the brand and model of the dryer. It is important to note that higher-end brands may have more expensive heating element kits compared to budget-friendly options.

Hiring a technician costs $150-$300

Another option when it comes to replacing a heating element is to hire a technician. Hiring a professional can save you time and ensure that the replacement is done correctly.

However, this convenience comes at a cost. The average cost of hiring a technician to replace a heating element in a dryer can range from $150 to $350. Keep in mind that this cost may vary depending on your location and the complexity of the job.

DIY takes 1-3 hours

If you’re handy and want to save some money, you can opt for a DIY approach to replace the heating element in your dryer. While it may take some time and effort, it can be a rewarding experience.

On average, a DIY replacement of a heating element in a dryer can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on your level of experience and the accessibility of the heating element.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take necessary safety precautions when working with electricity.

Pro Tip: Before deciding whether to replace the heating element in your dryer, consider the age and overall condition of the appliance. If your dryer is older and has a history of frequent repairs, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to invest in a new dryer.

However, if your dryer is relatively new and the heating element is the only issue, replacing it can extend the lifespan of your appliance.

How to Replace a Dryer Heating Element

Unplug dryer and turn off gas supply (for gas dryers)

Before attempting to replace a heating element in your dryer, it is crucial to ensure your safety. Start by unplugging the dryer from the electrical outlet.

If you have a gas dryer, make sure to turn off the gas supply as well. Safety should always be the top priority when working with any electrical or gas appliances.

Remove back panel to access heating element

To access the heating element, you will need to remove the back panel of your dryer. This can usually be done by unscrewing a few screws that hold the panel in place. Once the panel is removed, you will have clear access to the heating element.

Disconnect wires and heating element housing

Before removing the old heating element, make sure to take note of the wiring connections. Take a picture or label the wires to ensure you can reconnect them correctly later on. Carefully disconnect the wires from the heating element and remove any screws or clips that hold the element in its housing.

Install new heating element and reassemble dryer

Now it’s time to install the new heating element. Place it in the same housing where the old one was located, and secure it with screws or clips.

Reconnect the wires to their respective terminals, making sure to match them correctly based on your earlier notes or labels. Once everything is securely in place, reassemble the dryer by putting the back panel back on.

It is worth noting that while replacing a heating element in a dryer can be a cost-effective solution, it is important to assess the overall condition of your appliance.

If your dryer is old or has other underlying issues, it might be more beneficial to invest in a new one. Consulting with a professional or a trusted appliance repair company can help you make an informed decision.

Alternatives to Replacing Heating Element

When faced with a malfunctioning heating element in a dryer, there are several alternatives to consider before jumping to the decision of replacing it. These alternatives can save you time, money, and even energy consumption. Here are a few options:

Using a clothesline instead of the dryer

One alternative to replacing a heating element is to go back to the basics and hang your clothes on a clothesline to dry. Not only does this eliminate the need for a functioning dryer, but it also has several additional benefits.

Hanging clothes outside to dry gives them a fresh, outdoor scent and reduces the wear and tear caused by tumbling in a dryer.

It is also environmentally friendly, as it reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions. Plus, it can be a great way to enjoy some time outdoors while your clothes dry naturally in the breeze.

Replacing the thermal fuse

If your dryer’s heating element is not working, it might be worth checking the thermal fuse before deciding to replace the entire element.

The thermal fuse is a safety device that prevents the dryer from overheating. If it blows, it can cause the heating element to stop working. Replacing the thermal fuse is relatively inexpensive and can often solve the issue.

However, it’s important to note that if the thermal fuse blows frequently, it may indicate a deeper underlying problem that should be addressed.

Getting a new dryer

If all else fails and repairing the heating element or replacing the thermal fuse does not solve the problem, it may be time to consider getting a new dryer. While this may seem like a more significant investment, it can be a worthwhile long-term solution.

Newer dryers are often more energy-efficient, which can lead to cost savings on your utility bills in the long run. Additionally, they may come with improved features and technology that can make your laundry routine more efficient and convenient.

Ultimately, the decision to replace a heating element in a dryer depends on various factors such as the cost of the replacement, the age of the dryer, and the extent of the issue. It’s always a good idea to consult a professional or refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for guidance on the best course of action.


Replacing a faulty heating element is one of the most cost-effective ways to get your dryer heating properly again. The repair is straightforward enough for a handy DIYer to tackle. And hiring a professional typically costs less than buying a whole new dryer.

Just be sure to diagnose the issue correctly before replacing the heating element unnecessarily. With the right parts and safety precautions, you can have your dryer drying full loads in no time.

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