How to Replace the Thermal Fuse of Your Dryer

Appliance Express
April 20, 2020
Dryer Repair

What Your Dryer Thermal Fuse Does

Your dryer’s thermal fuse is a small safety feature that ensures that the inside of your dryer doesn’t get too hot. It actually measures the heat of the air leaving your dryer out the exhaust vent. If the air in the exhaust vent gets too hot, the fuse blows to prevent your dryer from overheating and creating a fire hazard. It’s an important part but once it blows, it is blown and needs to be replaced.  

What Happens When the Thermal Fuse Blows

The thermal fuse controls power to the drive motor. Your dryer won’t completely die. It will still light up and respond to button presses if you have buttons, but it won’t turn the drive motor or begin creating heat. This is by design. Without the thermal fuse, dryers which are high-voltage and heat generating would be much more dangerous to have in homes.

However, once the thermal fuse trips once, it must be changed before your drive motor will reengage and your dryer is useful again.  

Gather Your Supplies

It’s important to have all your supplies together before you start a repair so that you don’t have to stop in the middle to find a tool. For this repair, you’ll need two different kinds of screwdrivers, work gloves, vacuum supplies, and of course a replacement thermal fuse that suits the make and model of your dryer.

  • Replacement Thermal Fuse
  • Work Gloves
  • 1/4 Inch Nut Driver
  • Flat Screwdriver
  • Shop Vacuum (optional)
  • Duct Cleaning Brush (optional)

Clean Your Lint Trap and Vent

The most common cause of a thermal fuse break is a clogged vent. What this means is that there’s too much lint in the flexible silver tube behind your dryer or a vent opening connected to that tube. While cleaning the lint trap and vent won’t fix your fuse, it will prevent your new fuse from tripping for the exact same reason.

Clear your lint trap. Then detach one end of vent and shake it out. If you have a shop vac or a sturdy normal vacuum cleaner with a hose, use it to clean the lint out of the vent. You can also just reach in with your gloved hand, but prepared to get dusty. This clearing will ensure that exhaust dryer air can flow and your next fuse won’t blow because hot air is stopped by lint. Brush the duct out with your duct cleaning brush. 

Safety Precautions

– Unplug the Dryer

Naturally, your fuse is an electrical component which means you need to unplug your dryer before starting the technical part of this repair. Pull the plug out from the wall and if you can’t reach the plug, remember to unplug your dryer after you pull your dryer away from the wall.

– Put On Work Gloves

Put on work gloves. The edges of appliance panels tend to be sharp because they have not been sanded for consumer access. So you’ll want to wear work gloves to protect your hands.

– Pull Your Dryer Away from the Wall

Grasp your dryer from the top edge and wiggle it out away from the wall. You’ll need enough room to stand and work behind the dryer.  

Remove the Back Panel

– Remove Back Panel Mounting Screws

Standing behind your dryer, remove the mounting screws holding on the large back panel. You will likely need the nut driver for this task. 

– Set Back Panel Aside

Pull away the back panel from the dryer and set it, along with its screws, aside where they won’t be in the way. 

Remove the Blown Thermal Fuse

– Identify Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is very small and either white or silver with two wire nodes on the back. You can match it visually with your replacement part. It is likely located in the middle of the back of your dryer components.

– Disconnect Wires

Disconnect the two sets of wires connected to the two prongs on the back of the thermal switch. Be sure your dryer is unplugged for this.

– Remove Mounting Screws

There are two mounting screws holding your thermal fuse in place. Remove them and set them inside.

– Remove Old Thermal Fuse and Toss

Take out the old now-disconnected thermal fuse. You can throw it away or keep it for electronics recycling. 

Install a New Thermal Fuse

– Set New Thermal Fuse into Place

Grab your new thermal fuse and nestle it into the opening created by removing the old fuse. Make sure it is right-side up.

– Attach Mounting Screws

Holding the fuse in place, set in the two mounting screws and fasten the fuse tightly. Remember, dryers shake.

– Attach Wires

Finally, fit the wires onto the fuse’s two prongs. Be sure to attach them the same way they were attached to the previous fuse. 

Reassemble Your Dryer

– Return and Secure Back Panel

Now that your fuse is replaced, set your back panel over the back of your dryer and carefully return each of the screws. Secure them tightly but do not over-tighten.

– Plug Dryer Back In

Before pushing your dryer back toward the wall, plug the dryer back in.

– Push Dryer Into Place

Grab the vent, making sure it doesn’t crumple, and push your dryer back into place. 

Test Your Success

Now you’re ready to see if all your hard work was a success. Set your dryer to a short cycle setting and see if it starts. If you hear the drum start to turn, then you can confidently declare that you have replaced the thermal fuse of your dryer. This is the first step on the path to being a handy home appliance repair technician. You can now get back to enjoying warm towels and clean, dry clothes in the natural rhythm of your household.

If you run into a repair that you’re less confident about tackling, then please feel welcome to contact our team. We not only enjoy sharing helpful repair guides for home DIY technicians. Our team also proudly offers the services of skilled appliance repair technicians who can help with anything from a faulty dryer to a malfunctioning microwave. 


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