How to tell if dryer moisture sensor is bad (Step By Step Test)

How to tell if dryer moisture sensor is bad

Do you know how to tell if a dryer moisture sensor is bad?

Most modern dryers have a useful feature where they can gauge the wetness of your clothing to estimate drying time and this is done with a ‘moisture sensor’.

It’s a wonderful thing – until it isn’t! If you are wondering how to tell if a dryer moisture sensor is bad then we’re here to help with all you need to know!

So, how to tell if a dryer moisture sensor is bad? When your dryer moisture sensor stops working, it is most commonly because the sensor is dirty, has loose connections, or it could even be blocked vents or a loss of integrity in the seal of your door. In rare cases, it may need replacement, but these robust parts usually just need a little preventative maintenance from time to time.

Today we’re going to empower you to better maintain your dryer’s moisture sensor and to fix the most common 4 issues that you’ll run into when it’s not functioning at it’s best.

Don’t worry – it’s simple once you know what to do – so read on and we’ll tell you exactly what to look for!

What does the moisture sensor in my dryer do?

The moisture sensor in your dryer is both simple and ingenious. Look inside your empty dryer and you can see it once you know what to look for. There will be two small metal bars set on the inside and running parallel to each other.

That’s your motion sensor and those metal strips are contacts.

There are different types of contacts, but the most common way that they work is by either wet clothing creating a ‘grounding’ effect in the sensor that tells it that it needs more drying time, or it will utilize a plastic film that expands and contracts, changing the distance between the plastic and the metal to gauge capacitance.

The important part is knowing where it is so that you can give it a good cleaning from time to time, as this will work as preventative maintenance to avoid these problems in the future.

 A once-a-month scrub and clean with a Brillo, along with a wet and a dry cloth, should keep it shiny and working well for a good, long time.

That said, since you are here, let’s take a look at symptoms of moisture sensor malfunction and the strategies which you may use to remediate them in a jiffy!

The 4 most common dryer moisture sensor issues

Now that you know the moisture sensor’s role and where to find it, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the most common issues that may arise with this part of your dryer.

Let’s take a look!

Dryer display is stuck at ‘Sensing’

If your dryer never begins it’s ‘tumble and dry’ mode at all, look to see if the display reads ‘sensing’. If you see it, then your dryer is basically stuck in ‘sensing’ mode, which is the phase of drying where it evaluates the dampness of your clothes to determine your drying time.

This can occur when the moisture sensor is dirty, so try abrading it lightly to a shiny-smoothness with a Brillo pad, a damp cloth, and a dry one.

Once you’ve buffed it to a steely-shine, try your drying process again.

Dryer stops within minutes of loading wet clothes

If your dryer shuts down within a few minutes of loading a new bundle of wet clothes, then it may not be a problem with the moisture sensor at all.

To make sure, give it a cleaning and try again, but if it is still shutting down then check the integrity of the door and any vents inside that you find.

More often than not, this behavior is a result of a clogged vent or the seal on the door has become compromised. If this is not the case, the sensor may be faulty, but you’ll want a repair technician to confirm this.

Dryer keeps running, even once the clothes are dry

Sometimes the problem is that the dryer will run forever if you don’t intervene and this can be a painful issue, as we tend to ignore the problem since our clothes are still getting dry until the point when it bites us right in the electric bill!

When this occurs, it is generally one of two things. Either the sensor has short-circuited and needs to be replaced, or it has a buildup of dirt or film which needs to be removed.

Give the sensors a bit of elbow grease to get them clean and shiny and try again.

If this doesn’t work, then the sensor may well need replacement.

Dryer is reducing time when clothing is still wet

Sometimes your dryer’s moisture sensor seems to be working, but it’s making a lot of mistakes. Dryer moisture sensors try to gauge the moisture levels to determine how many minutes it should set on the timer to ensure that your clothes are well and truly dry.

If you notice that it seems to subtract minutes a lot, but you’re still getting damp clothes when it’s done, then the sensor is basically just having problems sensing HOW wet the clothing really is.

Give it a good cleaning first and if this doesn’t help, it is possible that it has loose wiring.

You can check this yourself if you are familiar enough with the dryer to do so, but if not, then we don’t recommend taking it apart (there are a few screws to keep up with if you do so) and bringing in a repair technician might be your best bet.

Dryer Moisture Sensor Replacement >> Check out the video below:

Some closing comments on dryer moisture sensors

So, now you have all you need to know how to tell if a dryer moisture sensor is bad.

While the way that they work sometimes varies a little from model to model, the important part is keeping those contacts clean and shiny.

Over time, they naturally get a bit of wear and tear, so a monthly cleaning is a good idea from here on out.

If you see any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned today, just make use of our recommended steps, but if the sensor still seems to be shot then it’s time to get a tech involved.

Most of the time, however, it just needs a little loving care!

Read also: Currys Washing Machine Warranty (All You Need To Know)



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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