One of my buildings was outfitted with Gas Kitchen Ranges and Gas Clothes Dryers by Kenmore (Sears). I don’t swear by Kenmore, but I have to say parts are easy to get, reasonably priced and are pretty universal across different appliances.
When one of these appliances don’t produce heat, I’ve learned to immediately sink my teeth into the set of safeties that are related to the starting of the flame. Usually, it is an element called a glow coil. This is a resistive element that glows bright orange (think of it as the appliance version of a cigarette lighter) in order to combust the natural gas in the unit.
This was, however, the first time that I’d had a problem like this in a clothes dryer. I’ve had belt issues in a clothes dryer, but never a glow coil. In order to inspect the unit, it has to be opened. I cannot stress enough that you have to UNPLUG the unit before you undo a single screw: you’re dealing with 120-220v circuits with open contacts inside the unit. It’s not worth getting your shit electrocuted.
Getting panels off of a dryer will depend on what style of washer/dryer you have. Being in a large urban area, we are with limited space for washers/dryers and I have the very typical “stacked” washer and dryer where the dryer is above the washer and the access panel is located right above the washer and just below the dryer.
Once inside the panel, I discovered a couple of interesting things:
- The glow coil seemed intact and in good shape
- There was what appeared to be a flame-proving sensor that was broken
I removed the flame-proving sensor and it was indeed shot, but remember what I said above about unplugging the unit BEFORE opening it up, well I didn’t and I shorted out a circuit on part of the frame (thankfully, I didn’t fry myself). Thinking nothing of it (besides unplugging the unit at that point), I went and bout the flame-proving sensor and figured I’d be in business in no time.
I came back, installed the sensor, plugged it in, AND…nothing. Turns out, through my inability to unplug the appliance that I shorted out the hi-limit sensor as well. No biggie, except that the hi-limit sensor is located in purgatory behind the dryer drum. I had to remove the entire top of the dryer to get to it. So 2 hours later and another $15 part, I was back in business.
So, the next time the appliance says “unplug before servicing”, just do it. You may be called a wus, but, you’ll be a smart wus.