How to test a thermal fuse

Written by megan mattingly-arthur
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How to test a thermal fuse
Use an ohmmeter to test a thermal fuse for continuity (digital multimeter image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

When a home appliance stops producing heat, a broken heating element comes to the forefront of the list of usual suspects. But before you go to the trouble and expense of replacing the heating element, test the appliance's thermal fuse, a safety device that blocks the flow of electricity to an appliance's heating mechanisms when the appliance exceeds a predetermined maximum temperature. Testing the thermal fuse on your appliance is simple and can usually be done in less than 5 minutes.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Ohmmeter

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Unplug your home appliance from its power outlet before attempting to troubleshoot it. Make sure that all electricity is disconnected from your appliance before proceeding.

  2. 2

    Find out where the thermal fuse is located on your home appliance. Placement may vary by brand and appliance. Sometimes the thermal fuse is located behind the appliance's rear panel, and other times it can be found behind the bottom toe panel.

  3. 3

    Take off the appropriate appliance panel to reveal the thermal fuse. Access a thermal fuse in the rear of the appliance by unscrewing the screws that secure the rear panel. Set the screws and rear panel aside until you are ready to replace them. Access a thermal fuse in the front of your appliance by using a screwdriver to apply pressure to the two metal clips that hold the toe panel in place. The clips are located about 4 inches in from the sides of the panel. When the panel comes free, set it aside until you have completed your repairs.

  4. 4

    Look for a white plastic strip with two wires connected to it. This is the thermal fuse. Disconnect both wires from the thermal fuse.

  5. 5

    Set an ohmmeter, or multimeter, to the Rx1 setting. An ohmmeter is an electronic instrument that will help you determine whether the thermal fuse is allowing electricity to reach your appliance's heating mechanisms.

  6. 6

    Touch the ohmmeter probes to the ends of the thermal fuse. Read the display on the ohmmeter to determine whether the thermal fuse is faulty. If the ohmmeter needle moves to "0," the fuse is functional and does not need to be replaced. Replace the blown thermal fuse if the ohmmeter needle does not move.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do end up having to replace the thermal fuse in your home appliance, replacements can be purchased from the manufacturer, from your local appliance parts store or online for less than £1.90.

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