I should've become an engineer, not a writer.
My dryer decided one day it didn't want to dry my clothes. I thought at first I'd just overloaded it... with a sheets load plus the leftovers of another load, it could've happened, right? But no, the second try didn't yield any drier fabric.
Oh, and the air coming from the inside of the dryer wasn't actually hot. The things I overlook the first time...
So I decided to try troubleshooting this myself. It's the Age of the Internet. I can do anything with the help of my friends Google and YouTube.
So off I go, browsing around various appliance-repair websites, checking out potential causes of "dryer not heating" and "whirlpool dryer not heating" and "whirlpool dryer troubleshooting" and all sorts of other search terms which kept sending me to the same three websites, two of which were trying to sell me Whirlpool dryers. No thanks, I've already got one.
I stumbled on a great repair website which blathered on and on about fuses, terminals and ohmmeters. Ohmmeters, you ask? So did I. They tell you how much annoyingness electricity has to fight through to get from point A to point B. They look like the speedometer in Grandma's car.
But all the fix-it website wanted me to use it for was to check if electricity would get from Point A to Point B at all -- whether it was an "open" circuit (your light switch is off) or "closed" circuit (your light switch is on and for Pete's sake don't go screwing around in the ceiling fan!).
I don't own an ohmmeter. Clearly. But... I remember playing with flashlights and 9-volt batteries back in the day, while learning about electricity and stuff. Aluminum foil made a great rigged-up wire circuit for the flashlight bulb and the 9V battery.
You can see where this is going, can't you?
I did, really, rig up a circuit-checker (my fancy name for imprecise-not-really-an-ohmmeter) and figured out the problematic part, ruling out the other potential problems in the process.
I think I may have broken a rule or two out of the electrician's handbook, but I'm not electrocuted, my house isn't on fire and my dryer still runs like it did before, without the heat, so they couldn't have been the important rules, like "don't work on the dryer while you've got it plugged in and running."
The best part?
The replacement part's less than $6... and I got free shipping.
I call this a successful Troubleshooting Part One. Assuming my beginner's luck holds out, there should be a Part Two next week, once the part arrives at my doorstep.