How do heat settings work on dryers?
December 19, 2014 1:40 PM   Subscribe

How can a dryer with 2 thermostats have three heat ranges, especially since only one is on the blower element?

I have a GE electric dryer model DBXR300EG4WS. Recently the low heat setting seemed too hot so I bought a new cycling thermostat and swapped it out. It now cycles between 125-135 on low heat, and from what I can read on the nets that's about right.

What is really bugging me is that this dryer only has two cycling thermostats, one on the blower ranging from 125-135 and one on the heating element ranging from 180-210. How can it have three heat settings, low medium and high with only two thermostats? One of which isn't even measuring the air temp?!

My only guess is that it uses some fuzzy logic and timing to extrapolate the other ranges. Like 10 seconds after the blower thermostat clicks and 5s after the heating element clicks that's max high, or something like that.

Does anyone know?
posted by jonclegg to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Could low heat = air tumble?
posted by maryr at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2014

Response by poster: No, that's a 4th setting, but I don't consider it a "heat" setting. It has tumble no heat, delicate/low heat, medium and high
posted by jonclegg at 2:08 PM on December 19, 2014

I'm going to guess that the thermostat on the heater is always in series with all the elements to prevent fires. There are two heating elements in my dryer. I'm guessing one is a high wattage element and the other is a low wattage element.

I'd guess that hot is the high element with a thermostat plus the low element just always on, medium is maybe both elements on the thermostat and the low is the low element on the thermostat. Some sort of combination like that.
posted by bdc34 at 2:26 PM on December 19, 2014

Response by poster: bdc34, your right there are two heating elements. One is for low, and both make high, but it still needs to know the air temperature to know when to switch them, and currently there is only one that knows the air temperature.

The one on the heating element isn't for safety, i know because there are also two hi-temp safety thermostats, one on the heating element and one on the blower.

That said, the one on the heating element must be for temperature control because it already has ones for safety. So the answer must be using the two in tandem somehow.
posted by jonclegg at 2:31 PM on December 19, 2014

Best answer: jonclegg: " it still needs to know the air temperature to know when to switch them, and currently there is only one that knows the air temperature."

Ya, not so much. It's not like there is a 100% plain truth appliance feature police or something. So as long as a low setting results in less heat than a high setting the feature is legally technically accurate. It's pretty common for electric dryers to have two separate heating elements (or a center tap element) of different wattages (say 1500 and 3000 watts) and then turn on 1500W for low, 3000W for medium and 4500W for high all cycled by the same 200F thermostat. Or the low setting has 10 minutes of no heat tumble at the end of the cycle and the high only has 2 minutes.

Not to say either of those things is specifically happening in your case it's just an example of how many <airquote>features</airquote> on major appliances are pure gimmick to push up prices.
posted by Mitheral at 6:39 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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