Dehydrator Not Working? Here’s 8 Known Issues & Fixes

Dehydrator Not Working

Is your dehydrator not working?

Being unable to preserve your food because your dehydrator is experiencing issues can be super annoying.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.

If your dehydrator is not working, it could be due to food debris obstructing the fan blades, a blown fuse, or a tripped breaker. Additionally, dehydrators can fail to heat up if they’re overfilled, have a disconnected heating wire, a faulty heating element, or a broken thermostat.

Read on to learn how to get your dehydrator working again!

Dehydrator Not Heating Up? 4 Reasons Why

In this food dehydrator troubleshooting guide, I’ll cover the different reasons that can explain why your appliance is not turning on or heating up.

To provide you with the clearest solution, I’ll divide the list above into both categories.

Let’s start with the temperature problem.

#1 You’re Overloading Your Dehydrator

The first step in this food dehydrator troubleshooting guide is to ensure you’re not overloading the unit.

In my experience, overloading your dehydrator will cause your food not to turn out how you want it to. Your appliance is designed to dehydrate a specific amount of food per batch. No more, no less.

Dehydrator Baskets
Avoid overloading your dehydrator to prevent performance issues.

Please go over your user manual again. In it, you will find the recommended maximum capacity per batch that you can prepare.

Provided that you constantly need to prepare larger batches for friends and family, I recommend checking out bigger models.

#2 The Heater Wire Is Disconnected

I tend to find that when a dehydrator is not heating up, it’s typically because the heater wire is disconnected or frayed.

The heater wire connects the fuse to your heating element so that it can get accurate readings of the internal temperature in your dehydrator and blow when necessary.

As time goes by, or as a result of improper handling, the heater wire can become loose, disconnect, or break altogether, keeping your dehydrator from producing heat.

To check the wire, wait until the dehydrator has cooled down to prevent getting hurt. Then, remove the screws at the back of the unit to expose its guts. If you notice that the wire is damaged, please replace it.

#3 Your Heating Element Is Faulty

My usual advice when fixing heating issues is to inspect the dehydrator’s heating element.

You see, the heating element transforms the electrical energy drawn from your wall outlet into usable heat to dehydrate your food. So, at the slightest sign of failure, it will either not produce any heat or produce too much.

Follow these dehydrator heating element repair instructions:

  1. Carefully unplug your dehydrator and let it cool down.
  2. Locate the screws at the back and undo them with a screwdriver.
  3. Remove the outer metal panel to expose your fan, fuse, heating element, and heater wire.
  4. Gain comfortable access to the heating element and test it with a multimeter.
  5. Replace it if necessary.

Here’s a video that shows how to check the heating element on a Nesco dehydrator that stopped working.

#4 Your Thermostat Is Broken

If your dehydrator is still not heating up, there’s likely a problem with the thermostat.

The thermostat is solely responsible for detecting and regulating the temperature inside your dehydrator. You can think of it as the temperature boss inside your unit, and all the other components are its employees, following every order. 

The thermostat is one of the most important components of your dehydrator, so even the slightest failure can cause it to malfunction altogether.

To inspect the thermostat, follow the steps from the previous point to expose your thermostat, test it for continuity, and replace it if necessary.

Is Your Dehydrator Not Working? This Might Be Why

Now, let’s discuss a general malfunction. Whether your dehydrator isn’t turning on or failing to dehydrate your food properly, I’ve got you covered.

Read this quick section to learn how to fix the issue.

#1 There’s Food Stuck to Your Fan Blades

I always check the fan blades when fixing a malfunctioning dehydrator.

You see, dehydrators recirculate hot air inside their chamber to dry your food. So, if you wait too long between cycles to clean your dehydrator, some food could build up in your fan blades.

Food is normally very easy to spot, given that, in most models, the fan is always visible from the outside. As soon as you spot some food residue stuck to it, you should clean it.

On some rare occasions, the fan blades could also be improperly placed and causing spinning issues.

Please gain comfortable access to your fan and inspect it for damage or food buildup. Then, carefully clean or replace the part, ensuring everything sits tightly.

Dehydrator fan blades
Check if the fan blades on your food dehydrator are positioned incorrectly.

#2 Overheating

From what I’ve seen, dehydrators can stop working because of overheating issues.

Your dehydrator can overheat due to factors such as overloading or poor ventilation, as well as a malfunctioning thermostat.

Regardless of the cause, addressing the issue promptly is crucial. Overheating will potentially burn the food you put inside your dehydrator and its internal components.

#3 You Have a Blown Fuse

You probably have a blown fuse if your dehydrator stopped working after a big power surge.

If you’re unfamiliar with what fuses do, it’s quite simple. Their job is to “blow” and cut off all electrical continuity inside your dehydrator when they sense extreme temperatures or large energy spikes to protect your unit from further damage. 

To solve the problem, access your dehydrator’s internal components and locate the fuse.

Unlike the other components in this food dehydrator troubleshooting guide, the naked eye can easily spot a blown fuse. Look for signs of a small explosion, such as blackening and a broken filament inside the fuse’s glass body.

#4 Your Breaker Is Tripped

I’ve seen that some dehydrators come equipped with their own breakers to prevent damage from overheating and large power spikes. So, if your dehydrator has a breaker, it has likely tripped.

To check the breaker, unplug your appliance and let it cool down completely. Then, access the dehydrator’s chamber and inspect the breakers. They should look like small switches.

Flip the switches back to their original position with the dehydrator still unplugged.

Your Guide to Fixing Common Dehydrator Issues

Hopefully, now you know how to fix your dehydrator issues.

Remember, if your dehydrator is not heating up, you’ll need to ensure you’re not overloading it and inspect the heating element, thermostat, and heater wire. But if your dehydrator is not turning on, don’t forget to inspect the fuses, breakers, and fan blades.

Do not be afraid to try and do your own repairs. However, if you feel unsafe or doubtful at any point during the process, do not hesitate to call a technician. Keep safety as a priority at all times.

Thank you for reading. Please check out our other related guides below if you found this post helpful.

Bon Appétit!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more