If you own a Kenmore gas dryer, you might experience issues with the igniter at some point. The igniter is a crucial component since it’s responsible for initiating the combustion process that heats up the dryer. When it fails, your dryer might not heat up, leaving you with damp clothes. Fortunately, you can replace the igniter yourself with the right tools and a bit of patience. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of replacing the igniter on a Kenmore gas dryer.
To replace the igniter on a Kenmore gas dryer, first disconnect the power and gas supply. Open the dryer’s top and front panels, then remove the drum. Disconnect the old igniter’s wire harness plug and remove its mounting screw to take it out. Install the new igniter, reassemble the drum and the front panel. Finally, restore the power and gas supply. This process requires tools like work gloves, screwdrivers, a putty knife, and a 5/16-inch nut driver and shallow socket with ratchet. Always remember to handle the new igniter carefully to avoid premature failure.
Signs That Your Igniter Needs Replacing
Before diving into the replacement process, it’s important to identify the signs that your igniter might need replacing. Some common signs include:
- The dryer doesn’t heat up: If the igniter doesn’t glow or get hot enough to light the gas, the dryer won’t heat up.
- The igniter glows but doesn’t ignite the gas: If the igniter glows and goes out but does not ignite the gas, the gas valve solenoid might be defective.
- Damaged or broken igniter filament: You can often determine that a dryer igniter has burned out by checking to see if the filament is singed or cracked.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to replace your igniter.
Tools and Materials Needed
Before starting the replacement process, gather the following tools and materials:
- Replacement igniter
- Work gloves
- Phillips screwdriver
- Putty knife
- Slot screwdriver
- 5/16-inch nut driver
- 5/16-inch shallow socket and ratchet
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of replacing the igniter on a Kenmore gas dryer.
Step 1: Shut off the Power and Gas Supply
First and foremost, unplug the dryer to disconnect electrical power and shut off the gas supply to the dryer. This is a critical safety step that should not be skipped.
Step 2: Raise the Dryer Top Panel
Pull the lint screen out of the housing in the top panel of the dryer. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws that secure the lint screen housing to the top panel. Push a putty knife under the lid near the left and right edges of the front of the dryer to release the spring clips. Lift the top and prop it securely against the wall behind the dryer.
Step 3: Remove the Front Panel
Use a slot screwdriver to release the locking tab on the wire harness plug for the door switch. Disconnect the wire harness. Use a 5/16-inch nut driver to remove the front panel mounting screws from the inside of the dryer. Pull the front panel forward slightly, and then lift and unhook it from the two bottom hangers. Pull the front panel off of the dryer and set it aside.
Step 4: Remove the Drum
Note the configuration of the belt on the idler pulley and the motor pulley before removing it. You might find it helpful to take a digital picture so that you remember how to reinstall it. Push the idler pulley to the right to release tension on the drive belt. Pull the drive belt off of the idler pulley and the motor pulley. Use the drive belt that you just released from the pulleys to lift the drum up and out of the dryer.
Step 5: Remove the Old Igniter
The igniter is located on the burner tube. Release the locking tab on the wire harness plug for the igniter using a slot screwdriver. Disconnect the wire harness plug. Remove the mounting screw from the igniter using a 5/16-inch shallow socket and ratchet. Pull the igniter out of the dryer and set it aside for disposal.
Step 6: Install the New Igniter
Position the new igniter on the bracket and secure it with the mounting screw. Plug the wire harness back in, making sure that the locking tab engages. Don’t touch the new igniter element with your fingers, as oil from your bare fingers can damage the igniter and cause premature failure. Ensure the igniter is positioned exactly like the original igniter to achieve proper flame ignition.
Step 7: Reinstall the Drum
Place the rear of the drum on top of the support roller that’s on the rear panel inside the dryer. Lift the front of the drum to access the drive motor and idler pulley. Referring to the digital picture of the configuration, thread the drive belt through the idler pulley. Push the idler pulley to the right and loop the drive belt over the motor pulley.
Step 8: Reinstall the Front Panel
Position the front panel on the hangers at the bottom of the dryer. Line up the mounting holes and reinstall the screws in the top of the front panel to secure it to the dryer. Plug the wire harness back into the plug on the door switch, making sure the locking tab engages properly.
Step 9: Reassemble the Top Panel
Lower the top panel and snap it into place. Reinstall the screws in the lint duct housing and reinstall the lint screen.
Step 10: Restore Power and Gas Supply
Finally, plug the dryer back into the wall outlet and turn on the gas supply to the dryer.
Replacing the igniter on a Kenmore gas dryer is a relatively simple process that can be completed with a few tools and a little patience. If you’re not comfortable performing these steps, it’s always best to hire a professional. With proper care and maintenance, your Kenmore gas dryer can serve you for many years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy a replacement igniter for my Kenmore gas dryer?
You can purchase a replacement igniter for your Kenmore gas dryer from various online retailers like Amazon, eBay, or directly from the Kenmore website. You can also find them in local appliance parts stores.
How long does it typically take to replace the igniter on a Kenmore gas dryer?
The process of replacing the igniter on a Kenmore gas dryer can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on your level of experience with appliance repairs.
Can I use any type of igniter for my Kenmore gas dryer?
No, you should use an igniter designed specifically for your Kenmore gas dryer model. Using an incorrect part can lead to improper functioning or potential damage to your appliance.
What should I do if my dryer still doesn’t heat up after replacing the igniter?
If your dryer still doesn’t heat up after replacing the igniter, there might be other issues with the dryer. These could include problems with the thermal fuse, gas valve solenoid, or flame sensor. In such cases, it’s best to consult with a professional appliance repair technician.
Is it dangerous to replace the igniter myself?
As long as you follow safety precautions such as disconnecting the power and gas supply, it’s generally safe to replace the igniter on your Kenmore gas dryer. However, if you’re not comfortable with DIY appliance repair, it’s best to hire a professional.