Steps to Fix Small Appliances

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How to Repair a Hair Dryer

Publications International, Ltd. A hair dryer’s cross section.

A hair dryer has two types of small appliances: those that create heat and those that move something. It includes both a heating element and a fan motor.

Most people opt for buying new hair dryers instead of fixing them even for small issues because they are generally inexpensive. But in the long run, it is better to purchase a high-quality hair dryer and do the repairs yourself.

How Hair Dryers Work

Although personal hair dryers come in different shapes and sizes, they all have the same components and work similarly. A hair dryer has an on/off switch, a fan-speed switch, a fan and motor, a heat switch, a heating element, and a thermal cutout switch.

The heating switch controls the heat delivered by the hair dryer by adjusting the heat delivered to the heating element. The fan-speed switch controls the force of the air delivered by the hair dryer by adjusting the speed of the fan motor and fan. The thermal cutout switch is a safety feature that shuts off the heating element if it gets too hot.

How to Repair a Hair Dryer

Common hair dryer repairs include servicing the switch, fan, heating element, and thermal cutout.

Servicing a Switch: On/off, fan-speed, and heat switches all work in the same way. They control the current going to the hair dryer, the fan, or the elements.

Most switches have two positions: on or off, high or low. Some have more than three. However, they are all tested and replaced similarly. Here’s how to test a hair dryer switch:

Step 1: Unplug the hair dryer and carefully remove the housing by unscrewing it. Screws are typically recessed near the motor vent.

Step 2: Switches are typically mounted in the handle or main housing between the electrical cord and the fan motor and heating element. Remove the switch and disconnect it.

Step 3: Use a continuity tester or multitester to ensure that the switch functions as it should. That is, an on/off switch will indicate an open circuit (continuity light off) in the OFF position and a closed circuit (continuity light on) in the ON position.

Fan-speed switches and heating element switches will show continuity in all settings.

Servicing a Fan: A hair dryer’s fan pulls air in through a vent and out the nozzle. The fan-speed switch feeds it electrical current.

Hair dryer fans are generally durable. The primary causes of problems are hair and moisture, which are abundant in a bathroom.

Hair, lint, and other debris can clog up the screen filter on the air intake. Use compressed air or a soft-bristle toothbrush to clean it.

Publications International, Ltd. You can clean built-up debris from a screen filter by using a soft-bristle toothbrush.

Moisture can damage any motor by shorting out components. To test and repair a hair dryer fan and motor:

Step 1: Remove housing screws and lift off the housing.

Step 2: Remove and inspect the fan blades, repairing or replacing as necessary.

To test the motor of a hair dryer, use a continuity tester to make sure that there is a closed path for the current to flow through the motor. If this is not the case, replace the motor with one of the same size and rating. If a replacement motor is not available or costs more than half of a new hair dryer, consider replacing the entire device. The heating element in a hair dryer is made up of high-resistance wire wound around a non-conducting frame. To check the heating element for any problems, remove the housing and shield, inspect the wires and coils for breaks or debris, and use a continuity tester or multitester to check for continuity. If the circuit is not closed, check the thermal cutout. If the thermal cutout is working properly, replace the heating element with an exact replacement part. The thermal cutout is present in most electrical hair dryers and is responsible for shutting off the hair dryer element if it gets too hot. To test it, open the housing, check the cutout for debris, distortion, or discoloration, clean the contact points with emery paper, and loosen debris with compressed air. If you’re having trouble with your hair dryer, toaster, or any other small appliance, try these tips before disposing of it. The troubleshooting tips for hair dryers can be found by clicking the link.


1. What are small appliances?

Small appliances are household devices that are designed to perform specific tasks. Some common examples include blenders, toasters, juicers, coffee makers, and mixers. Unlike large appliances, small appliances are usually portable, and can be easily moved around the kitchen or home.

2. What are some common problems with small appliances?

Common problems with small appliances include broken cords, malfunctioning motors, and worn-out parts. Other issues may include damage to the electrical components, or problems with the heating elements. In some cases, the appliance may simply stop working altogether.

3. Can small appliances be repaired?

Yes, small appliances can often be repaired. In many cases, the problem may be a simple fix that can be done at home. However, more complex issues may require the help of a professional repair technician.

4. What tools do I need to repair small appliances?

The tools needed to repair small appliances will vary depending on the specific appliance and the type of repair needed. Some common tools include screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, and soldering irons. A multimeter may also be necessary to test electrical components.

5. How can I troubleshoot small appliance problems?

If your small appliance is not working properly, the first step is to identify the problem. This may involve checking the power cord for damage, or examining the motor or heating element. Consult the owner’s manual for troubleshooting tips, or search online for information about common problems with your specific appliance.

6. When should I call a professional for small appliance repair?

If you are not comfortable working with electrical components, or if the problem with your small appliance is complex, it may be best to call a professional repair technician. Additionally, if your appliance is still under warranty, attempting to repair it yourself may void the warranty.

7. How much does small appliance repair cost?

The cost of small appliance repair will depend on the type of appliance and the extent of the damage. Simple repairs, such as replacing a cord or a heating element, may be relatively inexpensive. However, more complex repairs may be more costly, especially if replacement parts are needed.

8. Can I prevent small appliance problems?

Regular maintenance can help prevent small appliance problems. This may involve cleaning the appliance regularly, checking the power cord for damage, and replacing worn-out parts as needed. Additionally, following the manufacturer’s instructions for use can help prevent damage to the appliance.

9. Should I repair or replace a small appliance?

Whether to repair or replace a small appliance will depend on the specific appliance and the extent of the damage. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the appliance rather than repair it. Additionally, if the appliance is old or outdated, it may be a good time to upgrade to a newer model.

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