Heating element in my dryer not turning off

Two days ago after running a load in the dryer, my daughter tried putting in a new load, but the dryer wouldn’t start back up. The cabinet was also very hot to the touch. It got so hot that it blew the thermal fuse, likely preventing a fire.

Checking the device power-meter in the Sense app, I noticed the dryer’s heating element (about 5000 watts), had been on for about 45 minutes. From historical Sense data, the “normal” for this dryer it to turn the heating element on for about 1 minute, then off for about 1 minute. So 45 minutes of continual on-time was very uncharacteristic for the heating element to run.

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After replacing the thermal fuse, and the thermister (internal thermostat), the dryer started up once again, but I watched it in Sense very carefully. The power it was using was now 4000 watts, but the "normal" for this dryer is about 5000 watts. Something was off. Had it not been for the flex add-on sensor on the dryer circuit, I (and the sense algorithm) may have missed this wattage discrepancy and not noticed the heater was still running. More importantly, it continued to draw 4000 watts for over 10 minutes, until I shut it down. The heater *still* wasn't being powered off like it should. Time to scrap the dryer and get a new one. In the meantime, using Sense integration with other home-automation apps, I now have a rule so that if the heater runs for more than 10 minutes continually without cycling off, then alerts are sent to our cell phones, all the lights in my house turn on, and change to the color RED, all the fans and air conditioning are turned off, as well as the TV's; all the grab our attention. If this ever happens again with the new dryer, chances are we'll quickly become aware that there's a problem (and fire hazard) brewing.

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