Dryer Refusing To Cool Down After Finishing? Here’s Why

When a heating cycle is over, the cool-down thermostat measures the drum’s temperature and, if the temperature has lowered sufficiently, instructs the control panel to shut off the machine. However, you may continue to feel that the dryer is much warmer or hotter than usual long after the drying cycle is over. Below are some possible causes and how to diagnose them.

# Faulty Door Switch

Although this rarely happens, a faulty or stuck door switch can cause your dryer to run without stopping because it will not sense when the cycle is finished. Modern dryers feature a safety feature known as a door switch to prevent the dryer from tumbling when the door is open. This will prevent wasted energy and keep the members of your household from being hurt by the machine.

A faulty door switch can cause the machine to overheat well after the current drying cycle, giving you the impression that the machine is refusing to cool down. If you accidentally opened the door, probably to add an extra load, but the dryer didn’t stop tumbling, you are dealing with a faulty door switch. Ideally, this shouldn’t cause the dryer to run indefinitely, but the machine can go on and on without stopping.

It’s quite easy to tell when you have a faulty door switch because the machine will continue tumbling even after you open the door. However, you can troubleshoot the problem by removing the faulty door switch, which isn’t an easy task because of the hidden location of the door switch in many dryers. You will have to dismantle huge sections of your dryer just to get to that small button where you aren’t even sure whether it’s responsible for the overheating dryer or not.

To get to the door switch, you must remove the control panel and the dryer’s top. Wires connect the switch to the front door. Next, use a screwdriver to remove the screws from the door latch inside a small recessed door area. Since the door switch is exposed, you can pull it out and test whether it is faulty before replacing it.

Imagine that tiresome process just getting to a door switch. In most instances, it requires a bit of skill and if you aren’t confident in your electrical skills, kindly wait for your technician to come and inspect the dryer.

Male hand removing screws from door switch
Dismantling a dryer requires a bit of time and skill.

# Timer

Together with the cycle thermostat, the timer determines the inner drum temperature and the length of the drying cycle. Did you know that the timer gives the machine the on, switch, and off signals that terminate a drying cycle? This means that if the timer malfunctions, the drying cycle will be longer than usual because the machine will not know when to end a drying cycle and continue running indefinitely and continue to be warm long after the drying cycle has ended.

You can check the continuity of the timer by unplugging the dryer and dismantling it to access the timer usually located in the control panel, which holds the knob you usually use to set the cycle. Here’s how to test for timer continuity using a multimeter;

  1. Unplug the machine from the power socket and proceed to dismantle it till you get to the control console.
  2. You can unscrew the timer at this point depending on your dryer type because, for some, you will have to get the panel that shields the control console out of the way to access the timer.
  3. Place the timer on a clean, dry surface. Set your multimeter to Rx1 and attach the probes to either terminal of the timer. A perfectly functioning timer should have a continuous reading of 2000 ohms-3000ohms. Anything out of that range indicates that you need a new timer.

# Cycling Thermostat

Your dryer may refuse to cool down after finishing a cycle because some components are still running. This can sometimes be blamed on a faulty cycling thermostat.  The auto dry feature in newer thermostat brands uses a cycling thermostat to raise the timer. A cycling thermostat senses the internal drum temperature of the dryer and instructs the timer on how long to dry the clothing. Therefore, a faulty cycle thermostat will record wrong temperature readings and instruct the heating element to produce more heat, leading to overheating. Consequently, the dryer will continue to produce heat long after the cycle is finished.

A faulty thermostat can be replaced with a new one. If you are a DIYer, you will find the cycling thermostat next to the dryer exhaust vent close to the thermal dryer fuse. You will only need to remove the wiring, unscrew the thermostat, inspect whether it is damaged, and then screw in a new one if it needs replacing.

You need to test your thermostat to determine whether it’s faulty or the problem is emanating from somewhere else. Here’s the process:

  1. Unplug the dryer power cable from the power socket to avoid the danger of electrocution during the dismantling and testing phases.
  2. You have to open the dryer’s cavity to locate the thermostat. Typically, you should find it in the blower housing that is located somewhere along the air vents.
  3. Gently loosen the cycling thermostat from its position before gently lifting it right up. Place it on a dry surface for testing.
  4. If you don’t have a multimeter, borrow one from a friend or buy one from a convenience store near you. Manipulate the multimeter to the Rx1 settings, then place both probes on either end of the thermostat’s terminals. You should at least get a zero to infinity reading on a healthy thermostat.
  5. Replace the thermostat with a new one if the reading is less than zero.

# Malfunctioning Cool Down Thermostat

There’s a cool-down cycle at the end of every dry cycle, usually initiated by the cool-down thermostat. The dryer usually spins until the interior temperature of the drum has dropped to a manageable level, which triggers the cool-down thermostat to inform the machine that it can safely shut off. If the cool-down thermostat is faulty, the drum will continue rolling indefinitely, which sometimes can lead to overheating.

However, even if the resultant warmth is not hot enough to be a fire hazard in your household, it will significantly increase your monthly electricity bills. Therefore, a dryer that is not cooling down should be inspected for a faulty thermostat.

Some dryers have the cycling thermostat alone, which also controls the cool-down functions. A cool-down thermostat is similar to the cycle thermostat, only that it is located next to the thermal fuse and the exhaust vent. Before troubleshooting your dryer, kindly consult the owner’s manual or get one from their official website if you lost the hardcopy.

You can test a cool down thermostat using a multimeter by following the steps below;

  1. Always begin with unplugging any electrical appliance you want to repair from the power source to reduce the danger of electrocution.
  2. Locate the dryer’s cabinet, usually placed close to the blower wheel housing, and open its protective casing to expose the thermostat.
  3. Use a pair of pliers to hold the metal connectors but avoid holding the wires. Gently pull out the cool-down thermostat from its place.
  4. Always use a multimeter to test the continuity of the thermostat and remember that a healthy thermostat should always have some sort of reading; otherwise, a reading below zero indicates a faulty cool-down thermostat.
  5. Replace the faulty cool-down thermostat with a new one. You should always replace a dryer’s component with a similar component of the same rating, probably from the same manufacturer, whenever possible.

 # Blocked Airflow

The most common suspect when a dryer refuses to cool down after a set cycle is blocked airflow. Sometimes debris blocks the internal ductwork, which traps the hot air that was supposed to exit the air vent inside the drum. The drum overheats, which can become a potential fire hazard when the dryer refuses to cool down. It may also burn all your clothes.

It would help if you remembered to clean the lint filter regularly. The lint filter is a slot-like area inside the dryer that traps lint and other debris. Use a flashlight to inspect the filter, and if it is full of debris, vacuum it using a wand attached to the vacuum cleaner. The stuck debris prevents the hot air from exiting the drum, which leads to overheating.

Remember to inspect the ductwork to see whether it is clear because that is the difference between hot air leaving the dryer or getting trapped inside the drum. Begin the inspection by turning on the dryer and setting a drying cycle. Navigate your way to where the exhaust vent exits your house and place your hand next to the exhaust pipe but at a safer distance because the hot air can scald you. Feel whether any air is coming out and its pressure. Little air or low air pressure points out blocked ductwork.

Dryer blower wheel
Good airflow is critical for the proper operation of a dryer. Much like a washer needs water, a dryer can only do its job efficiently when hot air can flow through without any problems.

# Heating Element

The last cause of a dryer refusing to cool down after a drying cycle is the heating element. Remember that the heating element is the main source of heat for drying clothes inside the machine. Defects in the heating element can cause the dryer to overheat and consequently cool down for a longer time than usual after a set drying cycle.

This can result from electrical faults such as electrical shorts and power surges which can damage the heating element. You should also know that these components wear out with age and begin to malfunction after some time. You should check the heating element in your dryer. Switch the dryer off and use a flashlight to inspect the position of the heating bar. It should not be warped, bulging, or closer to the drum than normal.

When the heating element shifts over time, it gets closer to the drum, which will heat faster than normal. This leads to overheating, and the drum feels warmer than other components long after the drying cycle is finished. Ensure that the coils of the heating element are not touching the drum.

Bottom Line

Faulty components cause a dryer to refuse to cool down when the drying cycle is over. Malfunctioning components such as the heating element, thermostats, timers, and door switches may cause overheating. Blocked air flow too can make the dryer feel warmer because the hot air cannot exit the machine using the exhaust vent.