Appliances tend to fail into an off state, meaning that they don’t do the things they should rather than doing things they shouldn’t. It’s important for appliances to have a failsafe mechanism built into nearly every system so that if something fails, the appliance stops working instead of continuing to work to catastrophic effect. However, sometimes these fail-safes don’t work correctly and an appliance does something truly strange.
One of these rare exceptions is when your dryer won’t stop tumbling. A dryer that keeps spinning past the finished timer or even spinning while the door is still open can cause some pretty serious confusion. Dryers are designed to stop tumbling when the door opens or when anything malfunctions, so why this eternal spin? There are six possible reasons why a dryer won’t stop spinning after the door is opened or the timer goes off.
1) Door Switch Unresponsive
The Drum Keeps Spinning When the Door is Open
The first and niftiest error is when your dryer keeps on tumbling after the door is open. This is a rare problem that is both fascinating and mildly dangerous. Do not stick your hand into the motor-spun drum while it is spinning. Most of the time, and with most of these causes, the dryer will spin indefinitely until the door is opened, at which point the spinning will stop. However, if the spinning continues after you open the door, this is likely to be trouble with the door switch.
You’ll need to replace the dryer door switch. Start by unplugging the dryer and removing the top panel. From here, you’ll be able to access the door switch that tells the dryer when the door is opened or closed. Remove the mounting screws and disconnect the wire harness, then install an identical door switch by reversing the process. Reattach the wires, then the mounting screws, then close up the top panel and try your dryer again.
2) Timer Cycle Fused On
Dryer Doesn’t Stop When the Timer is Over
Many dryers have a twisting timer knob that tells the dryer how long to run, how hot, and when to stop. This controls the timer cycle contacts which turn an and off to control the dryer. When the timer switches to “off” the cycle contacts release, breaking the current and turning the dryer off. However, these contacts channel a lot of electricity, and a power surge can sometimes result in a timer cycle contact to fuse in the “on” position so that further action from the timer has no effect.
If this is true, you will need to replace your dryer timer. The dryer timer will either be inside the control panel or behind the back panel of the dryer. Unplug the dryer and locate your timer. Don’t worry about the specific part that is fused, simply replace the entire assembly to ensure best results when you repair the dryer.
3) Timer Knob Does Not Turn
Timer Knob Doesn’t Turn to Off, Drum Keeps Spinning Indefinitely
If you have a dryer timer of the turning knob variety, there’s another way that this could result in an infinite spin until the door is open. Your timer motor might be out. You may have noticed that the knob turns itself forward to the next “off” position once the dryer is started. This is done with a very small motor that pushes the knob around the dial. If that motor goes out, not only does the knob not turn but the dryer setting doesn’t change either. This can result in your dryer tumbling forever in whatever setting it was left or broke in.
As a temporary fix, manually turn the dryer knob to the next ‘off’ position. To get your dryer back in working order, you’ll need to replace the dryer timer switch assembly.
4) Shorted Out Wiring Harness
Dryer Spins Without Responding to Timer or Settings
It is rare but possible that the wiring between your dryer components may have shorted out. This can happen when there’s a power surge that occurs near one of the key wire harnesses. If the wires fuse or are damaged, this can lead to effectively skipping a failsafe or circuit that would normally shut off the dryer. The first challenge is to find where the wire harness was damaged or became faulty. From there, you can replace the wires, the harness, or the wired assembly to repair the problem.
5) Faulty Cycling Thermostat
Dryer Never Stops Spinning on Auto-Dry
The cycling thermostat is used for the auto-dry setting. The thermostat is supposed to sense when your clothes have reached the ideal temperature and dryness. The dryer waits for a signal from the cycling thermostat to tell it when the auto-dry phase is complete. Therefore, if the cycling thermostat is faulty or stops working while the dryer is running, the auto-dry signal is never sent and your dryer will just keep tumbling.
To fix this problem, you will need to replace the cycling thermostat inside your dryer in order to restore your auto-dry function. Until then, you can rely on timed-dry and other non-automatic functions that don’t use the cycling thermostat.
6) Faulty Cooldown Thermostat
Dryer Never Stops Tumbling After Cooldown
The last possibility is your cooldown thermostat. Unlike the auto-dry thermostat, the cooldown component measures the heat in a dryer when the dryer isn’t creating heat. Cool-down will tumble the dryer until the inside of the dryer drops below the drying temperature. If the cooldown thermostat does not detect the dryer is cool enough to stop because it’s not sensing anything at all.
You will need to catch your dryer within the normal cooldown time before the fix.
If your dryer won’t stop spinning and your DIY solutions have not prevailed, let us help. A trained appliance repair technician can help you find the problem or, if you know the problem, we’ll handle opening up your dryer and replacing the faulty components. Contact us to consult on your dryer repairs.