Introduction: A common problem for electric dryers is the loss of heat or in some cases too much heat. If your heat is completely gone, you most likely have a burned out heating coil. Dryer heating coils are very much like toaster heating coils - they have a fixed lifetime and eventually burn out. If your heat goes out, stop using and disconnect your dryer immediately until a repair may be made since a loose element may short out against the dryer cabinet and cause a fire. Another dangerous heat related problem occurs when the clothes dryer is overheating. In this case, you may even see the glowing element at the back of the dryer an the top may get very hot - in this case you have a shorted out element and this could very easily start a fire! So as you may guess, you should immediately stop using and disconnect an overheating dryer. Access to the dryer heating unit will vary according to model. The steps below cover some of the more common methods of access.
Step 0 - Disconnect the Power Cord!
Step 1A - For Heating Units at Rear of Dryer, Remove Access Panel
On some models, like the Maytag Centennial, the heater unit is on the back of the dryer and one only needs to remove 8-10 sheet metal screws as shown below. Then removal of several more screws allows removal of the heating unit and replacement by simply unhooking wires from old and hooking onto the new unit. In other models, you may need to remove the top and remove a bracket from inside the cabinet, along with a back panel, as shown in this Kenmore Dryer Heater Repair page.
Step 1B - For heating units on the inside of the cabinet.
In some models, you must remove the top and the drum in order to access the heating unit. See Top Removal and Drum Removal. Once the drum is off, you will either see the dryer coil or you will see a compartment holding the dryer coil. In the bottom left photo, drum removal revealed a dryer coil that was off its insulator and touching the metal - see this Kenmore Dryer Repair Page for more details.
Step 2 - Reassemble Dryer.
Do all the previous steps you took to repair or replace the heating unit in reverse order to reassemble your dryer.