How Hot Should a Dryer Get?

Refrigerators, heaters, water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers are among the most important household appliances. More specifically, dryers make the task of doing the laundry much easier than it would be without them. Hang drying clothes is time consuming and a lot of work.

Dryers not only help us save time, they keep our clothes nice and fresh. Heat plays a big role in a dryer’s ability to dry clothes, but too much can be problematic. If you’ve wondered how hot does a dryer get and what’s the best temperature, read on to learn why your dryer’s getting too hot, or why it’s not getting hot enough.

How Hot Does a Dryer Get

The temperature a dryer reaches depends on the make and model of the dryer, as well as the setting at which the dryer is running. Your dryer uses heat to warm the water in your clothes and turn it into vapor. On average, most dryers can get around 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s important to note that water doesn’t need to reach a boiling point to start steaming and evaporating. Think about drinking a nice hot cup of coffee–while the water in that coffee isn’t boiling, there’s still plenty of steam coming from the cup. Thus, your dryer temperature shouldn’t heat to the point that fabric burns.

Dryer Heat Settings Explained

Dryers and clothing both offer information about how to set the temperature for proper drying. These dryer settings are directly related to how hot a dryer gets. To prevent damage, some fabrics require cooler dryer settings.

While temperature settings may vary among different manufacturers, most offer a delicate, permanent press, and normal setting. The tag on your clothing will usually signify which setting is most appropriate or suggest dry cleaning.

According to the Spruce, the gentle cycle is best for materials like rayon or silk, permanent press is ideal for your everyday clothes, while the normal setting should be reserved for items like towels, sheets, and jeans.

How Do You Know if the Dryer is Too Hot?

The tell-tale sign that your dryer is too hot is damage to your clothes. If you pull your clothes out of the dryer and notice that there are burn marks on them, your dryer is running far too hot. If your dryer is hot to the touch, that may be another sign of too much heat. Naturally, the dryer will be a little warm to the touch while it’s running, but it shouldn’t be significantly hot.

Troubleshoot and Fix a Dryer Getting Too Hot

If you find that your dryer is overheating, you should address the issue as soon as possible. Keep in mind that a dryer overheating may have a negative effect on the dryer itself. Exposure to excessive heat may wear on the various components of the dryer causing damage if the problem is not addressed. Here are some issues that may be affecting how hot a dryer gets.

Airflow Issues

One common cause of a dryer getting too hot is poor airflow. Airflow plays an important role in drying your clothes as it helps remove steam away from your clothes. It also ensures that heat doesn’t get trapped in the dryer by moving the heat through the vent.

If you have an obstruction of airflow in your dryer, it may start to overheat. There are two primary points where airflow obstruction occurs. The first is the lint trap. Make sure the trap is clear of any lint build up. Remember to make it a point to clear the lint trap after each load.

The dryer vent is another area where airflow blocks commonly occur. As with the lint trap, lint buildup is usually to blame for the blockage in the vent. Use a vacuum to help remove the lint from the vent and vent duct to help prevent the dryer overheating.

Broken Heating Element or Burner

Heat comes from an electrical heating element in electric dryers, or a burner assembly in gas dryers. If your dryer’s heat source isn’t working correctly, it may be possible for it to overheat the dryer. Heating elements or burners on dryers can be replaced. Refer to your owner’s manual to make sure you order the right replacement parts.

Broken Cycling Thermostat

The cycling thermostat helps to regulate the temperature of your dryer and is just one of the components in your dryer that works to make sure the dryer doesn’t get too hot. If the cycling thermostat is broken, the temperature of the dryer could go unchecked and may reach unsafe levels.

You can reach the cycling thermostat by opening up the top and front panels of the dryer (and possibly the back panel). It is usually located on or near the dryer’s blower casing. Use a
multi-meter to test the thermostat. A reading of zero or infinity will indicate that it is in working condition. If you get a bad reading, replace the thermostat.

Tripped Safety Thermostat

A safety thermostat, or high-limit thermostat, is another component that plays a role in keeping your dryer from overheating. If this thermostat detects that the dryer is getting too hot, it will shut off the heating source. A single trip of the safety thermostat may render it dysfunctional and need replacement. If the safety thermostat is not working, it may be possible for your dryer to overheat.

It’s also important to remember that if the safety thermostat trips, there is likely something wrong with the dryer that causes it to overheat. Check to make sure other components are working properly and that there isn’t a blockage of airflow.

Bad Blower Wheel

As stated earlier, proper airflow is important not only in the process of drying your clothes, but also in keeping your dryer from getting too hot. Your dryer’s blower wheel plays the important role of moving air along. A broken blower wheel may hinder proper airflow in your dryer and cause overheating.

Inspect the blower wheel by opening up the top of the dryer and front panel. You may need to separate the drum of the dryer from the drum bearing in order to reach the motor, where the blower wheel is attached. Check for any breaks in the blower wheel and also check for any obstructions that keep the wheel from spinning. If the blower wheel is broken, replace it. Check with your owner’s manual to make sure you purchase the right replacement part.

Dryer is Not Getting Hot Enough

When the question “how hot does a dryer get?” is asked, people are usually concerned about overheating. However, when it comes to dryer temperatures, overheating isn’t the only issue. If a dryer doesn’t get hot enough, it might not work properly.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

Just as a broken cycling thermostat may cause dryer overheating, it may also keep the dryer from getting hot enough to run well. A thermostat that isn’t reading temperatures correctly may sense that the temperature is much hotter than it actually is. If your thermostat isn’t working correctly try to solve the problem yourself by checking the wiring of your thermostat unit. If this does not work, make sure to replace it.

Bad Heating Source

A broken heating element or burner may not be able to warm the air properly. Inspect your dryer’s heating source and keep an open eye for debris around it, or cracks. Electrical heating elements may be especially sensitive to having foreign objects in contact with it.

High-Limit Thermostat

A malfunctioning, high-limit thermostat may cause insufficient heating as well as overheating. A bad temperature read could trip the high-limit thermostat before temperatures actually reach the high limit, which is a sign to replace your high-limit thermostat.

Bad Timer Motor

On many dryers the timer on the control panel is what triggers the dryer’s heater to turn on. If the timer isn’t working correctly, it may not set the heater to warm the air flowing through the dryer. You can test the timer motor by removing it from the control panel (make sure to unplug the dryer first) and connecting it to a multi-meter.

A working dryer is a convenient appliance to have in your home. We hope this guide has helped you find the answers to the question “how hot does a dryer get?” and helped you understand the importance of temperature in keeping your dryer safe and functioning. Be sure to see some of our other guides for helpful information about your dryer, including some great tips to maintain your dryer. For more information about how HWA may assist you, and for help with your home warranty needs, contact us at 1-888-492-7359.

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