If I was going to put money on what dryer component would fail first, I’d pick either the dryer belt or the heating element. So, if your element has failed, you are facing a relatively common problem.
Repair is not an option, but you don’t have to fork over money for a whole new dryer. Dryer heating elements can be replaced. In this article, we will look at the viability of replacement, the longevity of heating elements and what affects this, as well as buying and installing new elements.
In general, replacing a dryer heating element is worthwhile. The exception would be if the dryer was very old. Then rather replace the whole unit. Additionally, there can be an underlying cause for the broken element. This would need to be addressed or else the new element would just break as well.
What Are Users Saying?
In my opinion, dryer heating elements are definitely worth replacing, although it does depend on why they broke (more on this in the next section).
I wanted to see if mine was a popular opinion, so I went online and looked at several forums. The general consensus on these forums is that it is usually worth replacing the heating element.
However, many of these users added the caveat that if you are planning to do it yourself, you need to have the basic skills required to do so. Otherwise, you may end up causing an issue that cannot be so readily fixed.
How Long Do Dryer Heating Elements Last?
If the dryer and lint traps are maintained and the appliance isn’t used every day, it can last even longer than the average lifespan.
On the other hand, if the dryer isn’t maintained and it gets used every day, the lifespan can be much shorter than the average.
Factors to Consider
If the cost of replacing the heating element will be in the same ballpark as replacing the dryer entirely, you may want to consider upgrading your dryer.
Now, it is unlikely that purchasing a new heating element itself will amount to the cost of buying a brand-new clothes dryer.
However, the price could reach the same amount if you factor in the cost of hiring someone to install the heating element, or the cost of tools to install it yourself. I will talk more about costs later in this article.
Reason the Heating Element Stopped Working
Another important thing to consider is why your heating element stopped working.
If your heating element is old, then the likely reason is that it simply stopped working. In these situations, it is reasonable to conclude that replacing the element will solve your problem.
If the heating element burned out due to a faulty thermal fuse or a power surge, replacing the heating element alone won’t work, as the element will just burn out again.
This also goes for user error issues, such as overloading the dryer, which results in issues with the machine’s airflow. Heat builds up in the machine and the heating element burns out.
In these cases, you will need to fix both the real issue at hand and replace the heating element, so you’ll need to assess the total cost of both of those things.
Age of the Dryer
You should consider the age and worth of the dryer. If you have a really old dryer, then fitting it with a new heating element could be a waste.
You are essentially putting a piece with a lifespan of 15 years into a device that only has a few months or years left in it. Rather put the money towards getting a new dryer altogether.
Of course, if you aren’t able or willing to purchase a new dryer at the moment, you can still just replace the heating element alone.
However, it is an investment worth looking into, as it would be a shame to replace one part of the dryer only to end up spending money on replacing the entire machine soon down the road.
Buying a New Dryer Heating Element
On average, purchasing a dryer heating element costs about $60. Keep in mind that this amount includes only the part itself, no extra expenses. Overall, you can find dryer heating elements from $15-$215.
Factors Influencing the Price
There are many factors that influence the price of a dryer heating element within the range I mentioned above.
One thing is the brand of your dryer. You will need to buy a heating element that is compatible with your dryer, and every brand charges a different amount for a heating element.
Another factor is the heating element’s terminal size. The larger the terminal size, the larger the product, so the greater the cost will be.
Heating elements can be made of different types of materials, which can result in different products having different price variations.
Finally, extra costs will affect the overall price as well. This includes the price of buying supplies to install the element yourself or the cost of hiring a professional to install it for you.
Who Sells Replacement Elements?
Dryer heating elements can be purchased from several different popular furniture and hardware store chains, such as Walmart and Home Depot.
You are typically able to buy them in-store at any of the locations that carry them. However, it appears that there are more options available online, as well as more places online that carry them.
- 279838 Dryer Heating Element Parts Compatible with Whirlpool WED4815EW1 Kenmore 500 600 70 80 Series Model 110 Roper RED4440VQ1 Maytag MEDC200XW3 Amana NED4600YQ1 Admiral 5400W 240V AP3094254
- ✅[Package included] 1 x 279838 dryer heating element ,1 x 3977767 dryer thermostat, 1 x 3387134 dryer high-limit thermostat, 1 x 3392519 dryer thermal fuse, 1 x3977393 Dryer Thermal Cut-off Kit....
- ✅[FOLLOWING PART #'s ] 279838 Dryer Heating Element Directly Replaces the following Part #'s: 2438, 279837, 279838, 279838A, 279838VP, 3398064, 3403585, 8565582, AP3094254, W10724237. The dryer...
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Last update on 2022-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In general, they are readily available to purchase online to be shipped to you. You can also get them in-store, but it may be harder to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Installing a New Dryer Heating Element
As I said before, the cost of the heating element itself will be an average of $60. You will need to consider service fees on top of that when looking at having a professional come in.
Whether the rate is hourly or an upfront service charge, you should expect to pay an extra $100-$200, maybe even more, for service from a professional.
Pros of Professional Installation
- You can be sure that the product will be installed correctly.
- You don’t have to deal with the hassle of trying to install it yourself.
- Some professionals may even pick out the correct heating element for you.
- They are more likely to spot an underlying problem that caused the element to break.
Cons of Professional Installation
- It is often times more expensive than installing the product yourself.
- There is always a possibility of something going wrong with the installation.
- If the heating element wasn’t the real problem, getting a new one installed may not fix your dyer issues, then you would have to pay a second service fee.
It is possible to DIY install a dryer heating element, but if you decide to do this you should do careful research and planning to ensure you do it correctly and safely.
The most dangerous and difficult part of the installation involves working with electrical wiring at the back of the dryer, so if you aren’t comfortable doing this, you shouldn’t try it on your own.
To install a dryer heat element, you will need a screwdriver, a socket wrench (make sure you find out what size your element requires), and of course a new element. A voltage tester may also be helpful.
It’s important to keep in mind that the cost of buying tools to complete the repair should be factored into your cost analysis, as it could cost just as much as hiring a professional.
Pros of DIY Installation
- You don’t have to pay the service fee.
- You can replace it in your own time.
Cons of DIY Installation
- You might not do it correctly.
- Working with electricity is dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
- Legally, you may not be able to do DIY electrical work. This can also compromise insurance if your dryer ends up causing home damage.
- You have to research how to do it.
- You may have to buy some tools to do the replacement job.
- You are less likely to spot a problem that might be the true cause of the broken element, in which case, the element will just break again.