Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Repair a Dryer

Door & Switch

Dryers receive a lot of use, so it's important to know how to provide routine service to the door gasket, door switch, thermostat, and other major parts. Use the guidelines below for tips on how to check and maintain these important features.

Servicing the Door Gasket

The door of the dryer is sealed with one or more gaskets to keep the hot air in the dryer from escaping and prevent the cool air in the laundry area from being sucked into the dryer. A deteriorated or damaged gasket greatly lowers the efficiency of the dryer. To check the gasket, hold a sheet of tissue paper near the rim of the door while the machine is running. If the door leaks, the paper will flutter. If the gasket or seal leaks, looks worn or warped, has chunks of material missing, or feels hard and nonresilient, it should be replaced with a new gasket of the same type.

Servicing the Door Switch

The door switch is critical to the dryer's operation. If the switch is not working, the dryer will not run.

If the dryer has a door latch, make sure the latch is free of dirt or lint and properly adjusted before you make any switch tests or replacements. Sometimes a misaligned latch prevents the door from being closed tightly, preventing the switch from being activated.

The switch on the dryer may be accessible from the outside door, or you may have to remove the top of the dryer to access it. The switch is a simple assembly, with two lead wires running to it. Test the switch with a volt-ohm-milliammeter (VOM) set to the RX1 scale. Disconnect the switch leads and clip one probe of the VOM to each switch terminal. Press the switch closed with your finger. The VOM should read zero. If the needle jumps, the switch is faulty and should be replaced with a new one of the same type.

The switch is held to the dryer with setscrews; remove these screws and disconnect the leads to the switch. Install a new switch and connect the leads. Then position the switch and tighten the setscrews to hold it in place.