Condenser Tumble Dryer Getting Too Hot? Here’s why & what to do

We often hear complaints about condenser tumble dryers running too hot. However, the average temperature achieved by a condenser dryer when working is somewhere between 70 to 75 C. 

As this is around 50% hotter than heat pump dryers get when operating, it can be daunting. But, this is not usually a cause for concern.

Problems only really arise if your condenser dryer is running at hotter than 75 C. If this is the problem you’re facing, keep reading, because in this article we look at all the possible causes for a condenser tumble dryer getting too hot.

What Are The Warning Signs For An Overheating Tumble Dryer?

If you suspect that your condenser dryer is overheating, you should turn it off and get it checked out immediately. If your appliance is actually running too hot, you could do serious damage if you don’t disconnect it from the power supply at once.

In most cases, tumble dryers will start to produce warning signs before any major problems arise. You need to be aware of those warning signs and act accordingly.

You should be on the lookout for any of the following;

  • A smell of burning emanating from your dryer
  • An error code displayed on the LED screen
  • The dryer shuts off mid-cycle
  • The appliance feels hotter than normal

Any one of the above warning signs could indicate there is a problem with your condenser dryer that needs attending to. If any of these signs are visible, you should immediately stop the dryer, disconnect the power supply and remove any laundry from the drum.

You then need to find out exactly what’s wrong with your dryer. You can either investigate yourself, contact the manufacturer or get a qualified technician to check it out for you.

What you shouldn’t do is reuse the dryer until the problem has been resolved.

What Could Cause A Condenser Dryer To Overheat?

There are several things that could cause a condenser dryer to overheat which include;

Possible CauseSolution
Clogged FilterClean or replace the filter
Insufficient ventilationMove the dryer to a more ventilated position
Overloading the drumRemove items until the drum is between ½ to ¾ full
Water reservoir is fullEmpty the water reservoir
Clogged condenser boxClean and unclog the condenser box
Defective thermostatReplace the thermostat
Defective heating elementReplace the heating element
Dryer already overheated and won’t startTry performing a reset

Above are the most likely reasons why a condenser dryer is likely to overheat starting from the easiest to check and fix. Let’s look at each one in more detail;

Overheating Because Of A Clogged Filter

Tumble dryers have filters to trap lint, fluff, hairs and dirt that come off the laundry as it rubs together in the spinning drum. Depending on the fabric your laundry is made from, you could fill the lint filter every time you run your dryer.

If the filter becomes clogged, air cannot flow freely through the dryer and this will lead to clothes that don’t dry and an overheated dryer. Plus the fluff, lint etc that cannot get onto the filter, now travels around your appliance where it can settle on other components and create even more problems.

This is why it is important that you clean the filter every time you use your dryer. The filter is typically located just inside the appliance close to the door. Simply remove the filter, give it a good clean and replace it to ensure your dryer keeps running at the optimum temperature.

Overheating Because Of Insufficient Ventilation

Tumble dryers need adequate ventilation to keep them working properly. If your tumble dryer is placed in an area where it doesn’t get enough airflow, it’s likely to overheat.

This is likely to be a problem if you have your condenser dryer in a cupboard for instance or in a room with all the windows and doors closed and insulated. 

In some cases all that’s needed is to crack a window open or open the door slightly to allow more air to flow around the appliance. Or move the appliance away from a wall etc or anything that it’s too close to.

However, it’s not always inadequate Ventilation that causes overheating, sometimes it’s the ambient temperature of the room that causes this problem.

If your dryer is in a bathroom or kitchen for example and the room temperature rises above 30 C. Or there is high humidity in the room, this can be enough to cause the appliance to overheat.

Overheating Because Of Overloading The Drum

It’s so easy to just cram all of your wet laundry into the dryer in one go. However, there is a set weight limit for the drum of your appliance. You’ll need to check the user manual for specific weight limits for your particular appliance.

But as a general rule, you should never fill the drum above the ¾ full mark on the drum. Overloading the drum can cause your dryer to work too hard to get everything dry which can cause it to overheat.

Not only will adhering to the weight limit help prevent your dryer from overheating, it will also help the appliance to last longer too.

Overheating Because The Water Reservoir Is Full

Condenser tumble dryers work by passing the wet, humid air through a condenser which converts that damp air into water. That water is collected in a water reservoir or tank.

If the water tank becomes full, the water has nowhere to go and will stay in the dryer. This puts pressure on the appliance which then starts to heat up.

To solve this, simply empty the water reservoir and get into the habit of emptying the reservoir after every use.

Tumble Dryer

Overheating Because Of A Clogged Condenser Box

The condenser box is an important part of a condenser tumble dryer. If it becomes clogged with dirt it can cause extra pressure in the appliance which can cause overheating.

Not only that, dirty condenser boxes can become the breeding ground for mildew, mould and bacteria. This leads to foul smells as well as causing the appliance to take longer to dry your clothes.

How To Clean The Condenser Box 

How To Clean The Condenser Box

To clean the condenser box you will need access to a sink and running water. You’ll also need a clean cloth and a vacuum cleaner. This should take you around 10 minutes. All you do is;

  1. Disconnect the appliance from the power supply
  2. Remove the condenser box from your dryer (consult your handbook for specific removal instructions)
  3. Place the condenser box under running water and allow the water flow to remove any dirt and grime
  4. Wipe away any remaining dirt clinging to the condenser box
  5. Clean the area where the box fits into in your dryer using a vacuum cleaner
  6. When the box has completely dried, replace it into the dryer and secure it into place

Overheating Because Of A Defective Thermostat

All tumble dryers rely on a thermostat to regulate the temperature the appliance operates at. Like any other component, the thermostat can go wrong and if it does, it can cause the dryer to overheat.

This can be a serious problem because a broken thermostat might allow the heat to reach dangerous levels which could have serious implications to your home.

You can replace the thermostat yourself if you’re feeling confident in your abilities. However, we recommend contacting a qualified technician to do this for you due to the seriousness of this fault.

Overheating Because Of A Defective Heating Element

The heating element is responsible for heating the air in the dryer which then dries the laundry. If the heating element develops a fault, one of two things will happen. Either;

  1. The air in the dryer will not get warm at all. Or
  2. The air will get too hot which could cause the appliance to overheat, damage your laundry or damage the dryer’s internal components.

It is possible to replace the heating element yourself, however, as it involves dismantling the appliance, we recommend contacting the manufacturer or a qualified technician to do this for you.

Dryer Already Overheated And Won’t Start

If your condenser dryer has already overheated or you suspect it has already overheated, and you’ve disconnected the power supply. The next step is to wait 10 minutes or so and then reconnect the power and try to run the dryer again.

This is called a hard reset and is sometimes all that’s needed to clear any glitch and get your dryer running smoothly again. However, if there are still signs of overheating, you will need to contact the manufacturer or a qualified technician to get to the bottom of this issue.

Ways To Prevent Your Dryer From Overheating

That old saying “prevention is better than cure” is never more appropriate than with electrical appliances. Any repairs are not only time consuming but they can be expensive as well.

To help prevent your dryer from overheating you should always;

  • Never overfill the drum to more than ¾ full
  • Clean the water reservoir, condenser box and filter regularly
  • Ensure your dryer has adequate ventilation
  • Vacuum all visible fluff from your dryer
  • Keep an eye on the LED display screen for error codes
  • Check your dryer regularly for any signs of overheating (or other problems)
  • Act promptly if you notice any issues

Why Does A Condenser Dryer Not Heat Up?

If your condenser dryer fails to heat up it could be caused by something as simple as an overfull drum or it could be caused by a faulty door latch, the filter is clogged or it could be something more serious.

You should consult your user manual for specific instructions or contact the manufacturer if the appliance is still under warranty or a qualified technician if not.

What Causes A Condenser Dryer To Keep Cutting Out?

If your condenser dryer randomly stops mid-cycle, it could be due to any number of faults including;

  • A faulty power supply
  • A full water reservoir
  • Door not latched correctly
  • Room temperature or humidity too high
  • A dirty moisture sensor
  • Overloaded drum
  • Clogged lint filter
  • Faulty pump
  • Blocked condenser
  • Blown thermal fuse

Many of these faults can be resolved without the need for any expert skills. However, if you do not feel confident performing any of them, we recommend contacting a professional.

SEE ALSO: Troubleshooting Condenser Tumble Dryer Problems (try these)

Frequently Asked Questions

Should a condenser tumble dryer get hot?

Condenser dryers can reach temperatures of 70 to 75 C when operational. Any hotter than this could signify the appliance is overheating.

Why is my condenser dryer giving off too much heat?

Condenser dryers can give off too much heat if; the filter is clogged, there is insufficient ventilation, the drum is overloaded, the water tank is full, the heating element is defective or the thermostat is defective.

Is it normal for a dryer to get hot on the outside?

It is normal for a dryer to get warm on the outside, but not hot. If your dryer is getting excessively hot on the outside, you should check that the lint filter isn’t clogged.

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