There’s nothing worse than checking on your food dehydrator after you’ve had it running for more than ten hours, only to find out it’s been blowing cold air that entire time! Your food won’t dry properly, and now you’ve wasted all that time- and probably a lot of good food as well. Luckily, there are some ways to fix your appliance.
If your dehydrator blows cold air, check the heating element. If you notice the heating coil has burned out, you’ll need to replace that part. However, if you’ve had the dehydrator for a very long time, you may want to replace the appliance instead.
There are several actions you can take when your dehydrator stops working as it should. It may still be under the warranty period, depending on when you bought your appliance. Keep reading to find the solution that works the best for you!
Why Dehydrators Blow Cold Air
If your dehydrator is blowing cold air, something went wrong in the unit’s mechanics. This issue tends to arise when either the internal thermostat breaks or the heating coil burns out.
You can fix the problem on your own if you feel comfortable opening the machine. However, you must take appropriate precautions when doing this, as you could electrocute yourself.
Broken Internal Thermostat
A broken thermostat is harder to fix than a heating coil, and how you tackle the issue depends on what type of dehydrator you have.
There are several reasons why the internal thermostat could malfunction. A wire could’ve overheated and melted, or food buildup could block the contact elements. You need to open your appliance and find the problem.
A broken thermostat causes the machine to put out cold air since it doesn’t “know” what temperature you set in the unit. You can either repair or replace the thermostat part, depending on how badly it was damaged.
This video explains how to replace the electronic thermostat inside of a dehydrator:
It’s best to try to DIY a solution if you’ve had the machine for years and feel comfortable working with electronic parts. If you don’t, you might want to consider hiring someone to fix it or asking a friend who is electrically certified to work on these appliances.
Keep in mind that opening your dehydrator will likely void any warranties that you have on it, so it might be better to return it to the company you bought it from if you haven’t had it for a long time.
Burnt Out Heating Coil
Or, you may have a burnt-out heating coil on your hands, usually from overuse.
Heating coils tend to naturally wear out over time. They can also break when they become too hot, without a way to vent into the oven chamber.
You can prevent this from happening by spacing out your trays or checking the thermometer.
You need to make sure that you use an exact replacement from the manufacturers. Using one that isn’t compatible with your dehydrator could lead to more issues or even be a hazard in the kitchen.
Start by checking the brand’s website. Most will have lists of the parts used on their product pages. Once you have the part, you can easily replace it in your appliance.
To determine if the heating coil is broken, follow these steps:
- Turn off the power to the unit and unplug it.
- Disassemble the dehydrator to reach the heating element- your product manual will have instructions.
- Use your digital multimeter on a resistance times one (RX1) setting. Touch the probes to the heating coil’s ends. If you see an infinite reading, the coil no longer works and will need replacing.
- Replace the element with one that has the same power rating and resistance. It should also be of the same size.
- Put the dehydrator back together and test it. You should feel hot air.
Additionally, if you have a broken thermometer, it could be what is causing your coil to burn out.
You would know for sure if you replace the heating coil, but it also burns out again after a few hours. That would be a clear indication that your appliance is running way too hot.
It’s unfortunate, but you would need to fix the thermostat first. You may even want to consider another brand since this could continue to be a problem.
How To Fix a Dehydrator That Blows Cold Air
If you want to fix your food dehydrator, find where the motor and heating elements are in the machine.
Always start by unplugging the device. Then, you will need to remove the screws to access the inside of the appliance.
You can search your appliance brand online to find specific details or use the manual that came with it. Each dehydrator model is different, so you will want to find a guide based on your own. Doing so makes it easier to open the machine and understand precisely what mechanical parts you’re looking at.
Once you have it disassembled, use your multimeter to check if the heating element broke.
However, there could be other issues that are causing your machine not to heat up. Sometimes food gunk builds up in the machine, or wiring can even melt due to excess heat. You need to find the problem before you can fix it.
This video details how to repair a dehydrator that doesn’t run, but you can use the same method to restore a machine that blows cold air:
If you aren’t comfortable with opening the machine, you still have a few different options.
Check the Outlet
Since it does take a lot of power to run a food dehydrator, you also will want to check your outlet.
If the machine isn’t turning on, it might have turned off the power on that circuit. You can restore the power at your circuit breaker or check the outlet by moving the dehydrator.
If the dehydrator seems to be running just fine at another outlet, it likely wasn’t drawing enough power at its previous location. You could even have a faulty outlet, so it’s worth checking out by plugging your appliance in someplace else.
If you have a digital multimeter at home, use it to check your outlet as well. Here’s how to test it:
- Set your multimeter to check the AC voltage.
- Put one probe into each of the slots on the outlet.
- Wait a moment before removing. The reading should be about 110 to 120 volts- it’s fine if the reading is slightly higher or lower.
When To Replace a Food Dehydrator
Like with any kitchen appliance, there will come a time when you’re better off replacing your food dehydrator than repairing it. Most kitchen appliances can last up to 10 years before they need upgrading, including your dehydrator.
If you have an old appliance that continuously breaks, you would probably be better off replacing it. You would likely receive better heat output, drying times, and air circulation from a new model- making it much more efficient to have in the kitchen.
However, if you just bought your food dehydrator and it keeps breaking, something is wrong. You should contact the company to get your money back since you can’t use the appliance.
Food Dehydrator Warranties
You should use your warranty if you still have one. This option is beneficial if the internal thermostat breaks since it will continuously burn out your heating element.
While the parts are cheap to replace, you don’t want to throw money into fixing a faulty item.
The manufacturer should be willing to repair or replace an item that’s still under their warranty. Before you buy an appliance, it’s always a good idea to read some reviews on the item. Many customers comment on the warranty, letting you know if it’s good or not.
Send It Back for Repairs
Finally, some brands will take their appliances back for repairs. It may cost you a small fee to get the repairs, so be sure to keep that in mind. This method is usually the slowest since the machine needs to travel back and forth through the mail, but it will usually get you great results.