Short answer: Testing a dryer heating element with a multimeter helps diagnose heating issues by checking for continuity. If it shows very high resistance or low resistance, the element may need replacement.

Testing a dryer heating element with a multimeter is a fundamental diagnostic procedure for anyone facing issues with their clothes dryer’s heating capability. The heating element is a crucial component responsible for generating the heat needed to dry laundry effectively. When this element malfunctions, it can result in clothes remaining damp, extending drying times, or even causing the dryer to stop producing heat altogether. In this guide, I will explore the step-by-step process of how to use a multimeter to assess the health of your dryer’s heating element, helping you identify whether it needs replacement or if the issue lies elsewhere in your appliance. Understanding this procedure can save you time and money by pinpointing the cause of dryer heating problems and facilitating necessary repairs.

What Is A Dryer Heating Element?

Dryer heating element
Dryer heating element

A dryer heating element is a crucial component in a clothes dryer that is responsible for generating the heat needed to dry your clothes. It is typically a coil or wire made of a high-resistance material, such as Nichrome (an alloy of nickel and chromium). When you turn on your dryer, electricity flows through this heating element, and due to its high resistance, it gets very hot. The hot element warms up the air inside the dryer, and a blower fan circulates this heated air through the drum, where your wet clothes are tumbling. This process evaporates the moisture from your clothes, and the resulting warm, moist air is expelled from the dryer.

What Is A Multimeter?


Multimeters are essential tools for electricians, electronics technicians, and engineers, allowing them to troubleshoot electrical problems, verify circuit integrity, and perform maintenance tasks by providing accurate readings of voltage, current, resistance, and other electrical parameters.

How To Test Dryer Heating Element With Multimeter?

Testing a dryer heating element with a multimeter involves checking for continuity, which determines whether the heating element is functioning properly. Here are the steps to test a dryer heating element using a multimeter:

1. Safety First: Before you begin, unplug the dryer from the power source or turn off the circuit breaker to ensure your safety while working on electrical components.

2. Access the Heating Element: Depending on your dryer’s make and model, you may need to remove the dryer’s back panel or access panel to reach the heating element. Refer to the appliance’s user manual for specific instructions on accessing the heating element.

3. Set the Multimeter: Turn on your multimeter and set it to the “Ohms” or “Resistance” (Ω) mode. If your multimeter has an auto-ranging feature, it will automatically select the appropriate range for resistance measurement.

4. Disconnect Wires: Locate the wires connecting to the heating element. Usually, there are two wires connected to the terminals on the heating element. Carefully disconnect these wires.

5. Test for Continuity:
a. Touch one multimeter probe to one terminal of the heating element.
b. Touch the other multimeter probe to the other terminal of the heating element.
c. Your multimeter should display a resistance reading. If the reading is within the expected range (typically a few ohms), it indicates that the heating element has continuity and is functioning correctly.

6. Interpret the Results:

  • If the multimeter shows a very high resistance (infinite resistance or OL on the display), it suggests that the heating element is open (broken), and it needs to be replaced.
  • If the multimeter shows a very low resistance (close to zero ohms), it could indicate a short circuit and the heating element should be replaced.

7. Reconnect Wires: If the heating element passes the continuity test, reconnect the wires securely to the terminals.

8. Reassemble the Dryer: Put the access panel or back panel back in place if you removed it, ensuring it is properly secured.

9. Plug-In or Turn On the Power: Plug the dryer back in or turn on the circuit breaker to restore power to the appliance.

Benefits Of Testing Dryer Heating Element Using Multimeter

Checking dryer
Using a multimeter for testing the heating element

Testing a dryer heating element with a multimeter offers several benefits:

1. Quick Troubleshooting: It helps quickly identify whether the heating element is the cause of drying problems, saving time on repairs.

2. Cost-Efficiency: By confirming the issue, you can replace the faulty component, avoiding unnecessary expenses on other parts or a new dryer.

3. Enhanced Safety: Ensures safe operation by preventing prolonged use of a malfunctioning heating element, reducing the risk of fire hazards.

4. DIY Repairs: This allows homeowners to perform basic repairs, reducing the need for professional service calls.


Should a heating element in a dryer glow?

No, a heating element in a dryer should not glow visibly. It generates heat, but this heat is not typically visible to the naked eye.

What should I do if my dryer is not heating?

check for a few common issues: ensure it’s plugged in and the circuit breaker is on, clean the lint filter and exhaust vent, and test the heating element and thermal fuse for continuity.

How do I know if my dryer thermal fuse is bad?

A bad thermal fuse can be identified by a lack of continuity when tested with a multimeter. If it’s blown, it will need replacement to restore the dryer’s heating function.

can I test a dryer heating element without a multimeter?

It’s challenging to accurately test a heating element without a multimeter. While visual inspection may reveal obvious damage, a multimeter is essential for precise electrical testing.

What does a dryer cycling thermostat do?

A dryer cycling thermostat regulates the dryer’s temperature. It turns the heating element on and off to maintain a consistent temperature inside the dryer during the drying cycle, preventing overheating.


Testing a dryer heating element with a multimeter is a crucial troubleshooting step for anyone experiencing heating issues with their dryer. By accurately assessing the element’s continuity, this diagnostic process can swiftly pinpoint whether the heating element is the source of the problem, saving time, and money, and ensuring safety. Armed with the knowledge of how to use a multimeter effectively, homeowners can confidently identify and address heating element issues, ensuring their dryer functions efficiently and clothes are dried to perfection. This practical skill empowers individuals to take charge of their dryer maintenance, enhancing appliance longevity and performance.

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