Dryers are handy, essential machines in most households. They allow you to wash, dry, fold, and put away your clothes in one day.
So, when they stop working, it can be pretty annoying. A dryer not turning off is also a fire hazard, as you may leave home and expect the dryer to shut off after an hour or so, but it can continue running all day until you manually turn it off later.
This is not only dangerous but will also increase your energy bills! Dryers can stop draining, heating, and even turning off for various reasons.
One common problem is that the dryer will only turn off if the door is open. It’s a frustrating cycle that can be difficult to stop if you don’t know how.
You must diagnose and fix the problem, so keep reading to find out how to fix it. Dryers are complex machines, and there is only so much you can do at home to diagnose the problem.
However, there are several simple issues you can look out for when troubleshooting your machine. Most methods involve using a multimeter to check that power is adequately running through the components, so you may need to invest in one.
You can check the door switch, start button, thermostats, timer, motor relay, and control board. Although you may be able to diagnose the problem, you may have to hire a professional to come and fix it.
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
Possible Causes for Dryer Not Turning Off Unless Door is Open
If you want to avoid hiring a professional to investigate your dryer malfunction, you will have to do some troubleshooting to figure out the problem.
The main tool you will need is a multimeter to check the electrical current. Multimeters are handy tools to diagnose many electrical problems in your home, so they are a worthwhile investment.
They cost between $10 and $20, which will be cheaper than hiring a professional.
Cause 1: Door Switch Issue
The first and most probable cause of a dryer not turning off is a problem with the door switch. The switch is located in the dryer door and will activate when closed or opened.
Here’s how to check if there’s an issue with the door switch:
- Open and close the door a few times and listen for a clicking sound. If the door clicks when it shuts, it’s unlikely that the door is the problem.
- If you don’t hear the door click, you will need to test the door switch for continuity using a multimeter.
- Remove the switch from the door using a screwdriver.
- Then, follow the instructions on the multimeter, and check the continuity of the switch.
- If the switch works fine and has continuity, put it back into the door and screw it back on. However, if it does not have continuity, you will need to replace it.
Cause 2: Thermostat Issue
As you may have guessed, dryers have a thermostat inside of them to regulate the temperature. In fact, they have multiple thermostats.
The first thermostat you will need to check is the cool-down thermostat, as this one tells the dryer when to go into the ‘cool-down’ phase of the drying cycle.
Follow these steps to check the cool-down thermostat:
- Unplug the dryer, and pull it away from the wall to access the panels.
- Remove the panels from the dryer. You may be able to unclip the panels, or you may need to use a screwdriver.
- Use the dryer manual if you still have it or find one online to help you locate the cycling thermostat inside the dryer.
- Use a multimeter to check the cool-down thermostat.
- If the thermostat has continuity, it’s working correctly. If not, you will need to replace the thermostat.
The second thermostat you need to check is the cycling thermostat. This one turns the heat on and off to regulate the air inside the dryer.
To check this, follow the steps above, but instead, locate and check the cycling thermostat. Again, the user manual will help locate this piece.
Cause 3: Faulty Timer
If the door switch and thermostat are working correctly, it’s time to check the timer. The timer helps the dryer operate appropriately throughout the cycle; if it breaks, it will not alert your dryer to switch off after the allotted time.
It’s uncommon for the timer to fail, as it’s the most low-tech, straightforward piece of equipment inside the dryer, but occasionally it can happen.
Follow these steps to check the timer:
- Unplug the dryer.
- Using the user manual to help you, locate the timer unit.
- Use a multimeter to check the timer. If the piece has continuity, it’s working fine, if not you will need to replace it.
Cause 4: Start Button is Stuck
A broken start button is another uncommon cause for a dryer not turning off, but it’s easy to check.
If the start button is stuck in the ‘ON’ position, it will constantly send power to the dryer motor, meaning it will only turn off when the door is opened. First, visually inspect the start button to see if it looks stuck.
Try jostling it around or using a can of compressed air to help release it if it seems stuck. You will need to replace the start button if this doesn’t work.
Cause 5: Stuck Motor Relay
The safety switch in the dryer should shut the machine off if any areas of the dryer become too hot; however, if the switch is defective, it won’t do this. For example, if the dryer motor relay is stuck in the “ON” position, the dryer will not respond to commands from the control board, and as such, it will keep running.
If the motor relay is the problem, your dryer will keep running until it completely overheats or burns out, which can be a costly problem to fix. You cannot fix the motor relay; you have to replace it.
Follow these steps to assess if there is a problem with the motor relay:
- Unplug the dryer, and turn it onto its back.
- Pull the control panel up so that it snaps out of the slots.
- Locate the relay switch.
- Assess for damage- you may notice black marks or burnt pins, indicating a problem with your motor relay.
You will need a soldering iron and basic tools to replace a motor relay. The process isn’t too complicated but requires some skills and know-how.
You can hire a professional to do this or follow a youtube tutorial if you think you will be able to do it yourself.
Cause 6: Main Control Board
The main control board is difficult to locate, test, and replace.
It’s worth comparing how much it will cost you to hire a professional to check and fix it in your machine versus how much it will cost you to upgrade and replace your device. If your dryer is relatively old, buying a new unit may be more worthwhile.
Diagnosing a problem with your dryer isn’t a fun Sunday activity, especially if it involves moving the big, heavy machine around. Fortunately, there are a few simple issues you can look out for when inspecting your machine that doesn’t involve any intense DIY skills.
First, check the external start button and door switch to see if they are faulty. Then, using a multimeter, check the individual components to see which are receiving power.
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API