Bring Your Hair Dryer Back to Life

Hair dryers are unique because their use spans the entire gambit of small appliances; not only do they heat things up (like a toaster, coffee maker, or water boiler), but they also run a motor (like a blender, food mixer, or garbage disposal). That means when they break down, you have to keep both elements of the gadget in mind during the repair process. First, here’s how they work:

Hair dryers come in all shapes and sizes, but they generally contain the same basic components and function in the same basic way. They’re going to have an on/off switch, a heat switch, a heating element, a thermal cutout switch, a fan-speed switch, a fan, and a motor. The setting on the heating switch determines the amount of current delivered to the heating element i.e. the heat of the air coming out of the hair dryer. The fan-speed switch determines the speed at which the fan motor operates and thus the speed at which air is pumped out of the hair dryer. The thermal cutout switch is not made for the operator to use as it is an automatic safety feature that ensures that the hair dryer turns off if and when it gets too hot.

So, here’s what generally goes wrong and the repairs that you can make:

If you think you might have an issue with the switch, unplug the hair dryer and unscrew and remove its housing (you can probably find the screw-off area around the motor vent). Switches will be mounted in the handle or the main housing between the electrical cord and the fan motor and heating element. Remove the switch and disconnect it from the hair dryer. Then hook up a continuity tester to make sure the switch functions properly i.e. the switch has an open circuit when it’s off and a closed circuit when it’s on. If this isn’t the case, you know what part to replace.

hair dryer fan

Perhaps your issue lies in the fan. The fan itself is likely pretty durable, but it’s possible that it’s being impeded by hair, lint and debris stuck in the screen filter or air intake. You can use compressed air or a soft-bristle toothbrush to clear up that issue.

If you’re worried it might be a motor issue, remove the housing screws and lift off the housing. Check out the fan blades and repair or replace them as necessary. Lastly, whip out that continuity tester again to make sure the current has a closed path through the motor. If it doesn’t, replace the motor.

hair dryer3

The heating element is another potentially faulty component of a hair dryer. It is installed in the appliance nozzle or output vent and heats up when an electrical current is applied to it. The air fan pushes air past the element so that it’s warm before it exits the nozzle. If you want to check the heating element, remove the hair dryer’s housing as well as its element shield, find the wires leading to the element and inspect them as well as the element coils for any obvious damage. Use a continuity tester to make sure the circuit is functioning as it should. If it doesn’t, check the thermal cutout to figure out if the problem lies with the heating element or the thermal cutout. If it’s the heating element, replace it. If it’s the thermal cut out, clean the contact points with emery paper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *