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Gas Dryer Whistling | 3 Likely Causes

I cannot think of a single appliance in my house that is not noisy when operating. Dryers make a series of bumps and thunks as the drum rotates, and gas dryers tend to have a quiet roaring sound as the gas burns. However, if your gas dryer is whistling, this is not a normal sound, and it should be addressed.

Happily, there is no need for a long-winded troubleshooting guide for this one. If your gas dryer is whistling, then there are only two likely causes.


Whistling gas dryers likely have an issue with the air shutter, burner bar, or gas valve. Air shutters control air entry into the assembly; gas valves and the burner bar control gas entry—all at certain pressures. When the apertures are reduced (faulty/broken/clogged), pressure rises, causing whistling.

The Gas Burner Assembly

If your gas dryer is whistling, then you can be almost certain that the problem is somewhere in your gas burner assembly.

In order to know what’s wrong and why it causes whistling, we need to start with what your gas burner assembly consists of and how it works.

This will be a zoom-in on the burner assembly. If you are interested in learning how the gas dryer as a whole works, you can check out my simple explanation—there are pictures!

There should be a metal cylinder located in the bottom left of your dryer (if you are facing the dryer, it will be on your right-hand side). This partially houses the gas burner assembly. The rest extends out in front of the cylinder.

The main parts of the assembly are:

  • A cycling thermostat: monitors the temperature throughout the cycle.
  • A high-limit thermostat: cuts off the heat when the dryer overheats.
  • Gas coils: supply the gas to the burner assembly.
  • Gas valves: control the flow of gas into the burner bar.
  • Burner bar: this is the piece into which the gas is released via the gas valves. It has small holes along its length, which allow gas to be pushed out into the assembly to ignite.
  • A flame sensor or switch: detects if there is enough heat to ignite the gas.
  • An ignitor: heats up and ignites the gas released into the burner assembly.
  • An air shutter: supplies air to the burner assembly. This air is required for complete combustion and maintained flame.

When the dryer program is started, an electrical current passes through the cycling thermostat, the high-limit thermostat, and the thermal fuse (if present).

From here, the current passes to the flame sensor/switch to reach the ignitor.

The ignitor heats up to the point at which it can cause can ignite the gas. At this point, the flame sensor turns off, and power is diverted from the ignitor to the coils. The gas valves open, and gas is released into the burner bar and then the burner assembly cylinder.

The still-hot ignitor causes the gas to light, and a blue flame is produced. This flame is maintained through the supply of gas from the coils and air coming in through the air shutter.

3 Likely Causes of Whistling

1. Misadjusted, Faulty, or Clogged Air Shutter

As mentioned, the air shutter ensures that there is enough air in the burner assembly to maintain complete combustion or the perfect mixture of gas and air for maintaining the ideal blue flame.

Air coming out of this shutter is under a certain amount of pressure, controlling the flow rate. The shutter is adjustable to allow you to control this flow rate. Typically, there is an ideal setting or orientation, which will be specified in the manufacturer’s instructions.

If your shutter is not appropriately adjusted, then the air may be coming out of the shutter at too a high a pressure, which creates the whistling sound. This will either occur when you first use the dryer or after work is done on the burner assembly.

Faulty shutters that are not properly formed can also end up compressing the airflow in a way that creates whistling. You will most likely notice this from the first time you use the dryer.

The shutter does not have to be misadjusted or faulty to be problematic.

If your dryer has been whistle-free and you have not had any work done on it, then the commencement of a whistling sound would indicate that your problem is a clogged air shutter.

Over time lint, debris, and dust can build up in the burner, clogging the air shutter and preventing proper airflow.

As the air is forced through the reduced aperture, the pressure will increase, and a whistling sound is created.

Clogs are not only the source of noise but also a fire hazard.

2. Faulty, Broken, or Blocked Gas Valves

The principle here is the same as with the air shutter, only instead of air, gas is being pushed into the burner assembly under a certain amount of pressure.

If your dryer is whistling from the first cycle, it may indicate that the gas valve is faulty and not letting the gas through into the burner bar correctly. Likely, the issue would be a compressed aperture.

A dryer that suddenly starts whistling may be suffering the effects of a worn or broken gas valve or a blocked valve.

GE WE14X215 Genuine OEM Shutoff Valve Assembly for GE Gas Dryers

Over time, the force of gas pushing through the valve can cause wear and tear. When weakness is created, it leaves the valves open to breaking.

There are circumstances in which this damage is accelerated. For example, if you overload your dryer on a regular basis, then the burner will have to work harder and longer to get the compressed load dry.

In order to check if your gas valve needs replacing, open the bottom panel of your dryer, or if your dryer has one, the small access door to the burner.

While keeping an eye on the burner assembly, start your dryer using a heat setting. The ignitor should light up and glow brightly; if a flame does not ignite after a few seconds, there is most likely a problem with your gas valves.

3. Dirt Buildup in Burner Bar

Burner bars have small openings through which gas escapes into the burner assembly to be ignited. The holes are spaced to create heat in a greater area of the assembly instead of just igniting in one spot where it exits the gas valves.

Burner bars can block for the same reasons as air shutters. Dirt and list accumulate in the apertures, increasing the pressure of the escaping gas, which leads to whistling.

Stopping the Whistling

Accessing the Burner Assembly

To access the burner assembly, you will need to remove the top and front panels of the dryer.

Obviously, not all dryers are built the same, so removing the panels may change slightly depending on the make. Follow these videos for more specific dryers:

Adjusting and Replacing the Air Shutter

Check the manufacturer’s instructions and adjust the air shutter to the appropriate settings.

If the shutter looks malformed, then you will need to replace it.

If you aren’t sure if it’s faulty, you can research what yours is supposed to look like, or you can apply a process of elimination, checking adjustment, and giving it a cleanout. If these steps don’t work, then you can look into replacement.

Cleaning the Burner Assembly

To clean your burner assembly (including the air shutter, burner bar, and gas valves), you will need:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Putty knife or paint scraper
  • Brick or block to support the drum
  • Dustbrush or paintbrush to remove the lint
  • Vacuum cleaner

Before you begin, make sure you unplug your dryer from the wall and turn off the gas supply.

Make sure you disconnect any wires that may be attached to the panels.

Once the panels have been safely removed, you can remove the drum of your dryer to gain better access to your burner.

Grab your brush and remove the larger pieces of lint around the burner and inside of your dryer. Once all the larger pieces have been removed, use your vacuum to clean up the smaller dust and debris particles.

It is good practice to clean out your dryer at least every six months. This will largely reduce the risk of causing a fire.

Replacing the Gas Valves

It is generally recommended to get a professional in to change the gas valves of your dryer. 

However, if you feel confident you are able to replace the valves yourself, the first step will be to source a replacement part.

It is best to contact your dryer’s manufacturer to get the correct part for your model. You may be able to find your gas valves in online stores if you have a well-known brand, such as Whirlpool (amazon link), GE (amazon link), or Samsung (amazon link).

Samsung DC62-00201A Gas Valve Assembly

Replacement gas valves can cost anywhere between $80 to $300. So, depending on how old your dryer is, it may not be worth replacing the valve.

Once you are ready to replace your valves, make sure you unplug your dryer from the wall and turn off the gas supply.

Here is a very helpful video on how to replace your dryer’s gas valves:

Remember to always use caution when working with gas appliances. Be sure to always check for leaks after replacing parts.

The best way to check for leaks is to mix one teaspoon of dish soap with one cup of water in a spray bottle and spray the soapy water solution on all connections. If there is a gas leak, the soap water will foam over all leaking connections.

You should also check the sediment trap. If it it full or not installed, then sediment can clog the gas valves from the inside.

Is the Dryer Still Under Warranty?

Most dryers are covered by a one-year warranty. If your dryer is still under warranty, it is probably a good idea to get your manufacturer in to replace the gas valves for you. The parts and labor should all be covered. It’s best to call them and check with them first.

Sources

https://applianceassistant.com/appliance-repair/dryer-repair/how-gas-dryer-parts-work/#valve

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html#:~:text=2%2C900%20home%20clothes%20dryer%20fires,%2435%20million%20in%20property%20loss.

https://theportablelaundry.com/how-to-replace-gas-valve-in-a-gas-dryer/

https://www.nelaappliancerepair.com/blog/dryer-not-heating/.

https://www.the-appliance-clinic.com/badvalves.html

https://www.safewise.com/blog/detect-poisonous-gas-home/

https://www.fixya.com/support/t21444513-kenmore_gas_dryer_gas_flow_creates_high

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/gas-kitchen-appliances-dryers-bbqs/330319-maytag-gas-dryer-whistling-noise.html

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