How to Test a Thermal Fuse without a Multimeter?

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What is a thermal fuse? This term might sound alien to you, but do not worry as many people also have no idea what it is. A thermal fuse, also known as the dryer fuse, is a small device found in the dryer, and it performs the primary role of preventing fire breakout. It is required that all dryers should have a thermal fuse for the safety purposes of its users, and this law has been well implemented since the 1980s. Typically, the thermal fuse has a length of about one or two inches, but in case the heat of the exhaust becomes too much, this device will most likely malfunction and consequently will the whole dryer.

Additionally, the model of the dryer is a major determining factor behind all these happenings. So if your dryer is running and not generating any heat, then there is a likelihood that there is an issue with the thermal fuse, which plays a safety role in preventing overheating. Therefore, you should inspect the fuse using an ohmmeter or multimeter. However, what should you do if you lack this equipment? Well, you should not worry as in this article, you will be taken through how to test a thermal fuse without a multimeter. Consequently, you will be able to replace the thermal fuse if it has been damaged and get to enjoy using your dryer without compromising on your safety as well as that of everyone else.

Signs of a burned thermal fuse

Several dryers stop working altogether when the thermal fuse is damaged, whereas other models continue operating as the drum continues turning despite the heating element not functioning. Nonetheless, manufacturers are never consistent because they produce different models within the same brand.

So, how do you troubleshoot the problem?

Whereas this sounds like a tricky question, but it is not as complicated as it looks. The thermal fuse usually wears out after you have used it for an extended duration, and this eventually results in it stopping to work altogether. Moreover, it also might have triggered hence making it trip and consequently preventing the dryer from functioning correctly. Some of the elements that could probably cause overheating include;

  • Cycling the thermostat that has malfunctioned.
  • Blower motor fans blades that are in bad shape.
  • Obstructions in the duct that limit airflow hence improper cool of the unit.

All of the factors mentioned above could lead to your dryer overheating hence resulting in the terminal fuse blowing. Therefore, you need to always be cautious with your dryer to avoid cases of thermal fuse blackout. It would thus be best if you made it a habit of checking them more often to ensure that they are functioning as expected.

Unplug the dryer and open the appropriate panel

Whenever you want to unplug the dryer from its electrical channel, make sure you disconnect it first from the electrical source. Once you do this, your safety is guaranteed, so you can go ahead and open the right panel without having any fears of getting electrocuted. However, various dryer models have a different location for the thermal fuse. Thus, it is recommended that you use the manufacturer manual that generally comes with the dryer or research online in case you misplaced your manual or you have never owned one.

Nevertheless, thermal fuses often are located on the bottom kick panel or behind the rear dryer panel. You can remove your kick panel using two metal clips holding it in place with a flathead screwdriver to pop the panel off. Consequently, remove the rear panel by taking off the four corners screws that are firmly holding it in place.

Bypass the dryer thermal fuse

Because you do not have an ohmmeter or multimeter, you can opt to bypass the thermal fuse. However, operating a dryer that has a bypassed thermal fuse is unsafe and challenging, so the bypass needs to be done long enough to troubleshoot any possible impending challenge. Note that even minimal usage in the absences of a thermal fuse in place could cause significant injury or damage to you.

Locate and bypass the fuse

The location of the thermal fuse is very vital, and its appearance resembles that of a thin strip of white plastic with a wire coming out of each end. To bypass the thermal fuse correctly, tape the two ends carefully using the electrical tape. By doing this, you will have successfully bypassed the thermal fuse. Once you are done with this entire process, switch on your dryer to generate heat for not over 90 seconds.

Replace the fuse if indicated

If your dryer commences running warm after bypassing the fuse, this means the thermal fuse of your dryer had an issue and should be replaced as soon as possible. However, if it still fails to warm, then this means the issue is likely to be defective heating elements, meaning you need to replace your thermal fuse instantly in case your dryer operates normally with your thermal fuse bypassed.

Undo the fuse bypass immediately

This is usually done in the absence of ohmmeter as well as a multimeter, or if you can remove your thermal fuse and take it to a local repair shop for analysis after bypassing the fuse, you must do away with the electrical tape bypassing the dryer immediately after the test. If your work seems to be effortless after replacing the thermal fuse as well as the heating elements, consider looking for a professional technician to repair for you the dryer. Furthermore, never attempt to operate your dryer without a thermal fuse fixed; it could lead to more damages and more severe problems with the dryer.


Having read through this article, you now know it is possible to test a thermal fuse without using a multimeter. Therefore, in case you do not own a multimeter and suspect your thermal fuse is blown, free yourself from any worries as the bypass method, too, helps you to diagnose any possible issue effectively. Consequently, you will always be confident using your machine as well as prolong its lifespan as you always know when to take proactive steps to test whether or not the thermal fuse has malfunctioned.

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