How to Fix the E21 Error Code on a Candy Tumble Dryer

Candy tumble dryer with the e21 error code on the display

The E21 error code on a Candy tumble dryer indicates a problem with the heater relay or the thermostats inside the machine. This can be caused by faulty thermostats or a blockage that’s causing poor airflow.

You can usually take the cover off the back of the dryer where the heating element is located and reset the thermostats by pushing the button in.

It’s worth mentioning that if the thermostat has tripped and is able to be reset, it indicates another problem such as bad airflow.

Before you start to inspect your dryer or carry out any repair work, it’s important that you make sure that it’s isolated from the electrical supply.

Here is everything that you should check when your tumble dryer has an E21 fault code:

Check the thermostats

You should start out by removing the heating element cover from the back of the machine to take a look at the thermostats.

The cover will usually be held into place by screws and will need to be levered off so you can break the seal.

On the top of the heating element, you will find the thermostats. The one on the right can be pushed in to reset it.

If the thermostat can’t, be pushed in then it means that it hasn’t tripped, and you will have to locate all of the other thermostats so you can test them.

Here is where you can find the thermostats on a Candy tumble dryer:

  • On the rear of the machine on top of the heating element
  • At The rear of the machine at the bottom near the exhaust vent duct
  • On the front of the machine behind the front panel – You will need to remove the front and take a look on either side of the drum
  • At the top of the machine near the drum – This is a rarer location to find a thermostat

You will need to use an electrical multimeter to test each of the thermostats for an open circuit.

If you find a faulty thermostat, then you can match up the correct spare part with a spare parts retailer by using the model number of your dryer.

Clean out the condenser unit

The condenser unit is located at the bottom of the tumble dryer and can be removed by pushing the latches up or down depending on the model.

tumble dryer condenser unit being removed for cleaning

Only condenser dryers will have a condenser unit so if your dryer is a vented machine then you should move on to the next check.

This is where the moisture is removed from the air and turned into water that then gets pumped into the water tank.

It often gets blocked up with wet fluff and lint from the lint trap if it’s not cleaned out regularly.

You will need to use a high pressure washer to properly clean out the condenser unit and you should be careful where you clean it out. The grills on the side should be blasted with water until all of the fluff starts to fall out.

If you clean the condenser unit into a sink or a bath, then the fluff will most likely block up the plumbing in your home.

Once you have cleaned out the condenser you should make sure that the thermostats have been reset and then test the machine.

Keep the lint filter clear

You should always make sure that the lint filter on your tumble dryer is cleaned out after every cycle.

tumble dryer lint filter being cleaned

If the lint filter fills up and is not cleaned, the lint will overflow and start going into the dryer through the vents. This causes the fluff to build up and block the vents.

If the machine doesn’t have good ventilation due to a blockage it will start to overheat and will eventually cause the thermostats to trip out.

It’s also a concern for safety if the lint filter overflows as it can cause a fire if the machine doesn’t cope with the excess lint. The fluff can make it through to the heating element at the rear which then burns it out.

Inspect the control board and wiring

If you can’t find any problems with the thermostats and the machine is clear of any blockages, then you should take a look at the control board and the wiring.

Candy tumble dryer circuit board being inspected

Start off by inspecting the control board and look out for any signs of damage such as burn marks on the electrical tracks. The burn marks that you’re looking for will usually be black and you won’t be able to rub them off with your finger.

You should then inspect each of the cables that go from the control board down to the thermostats and the heating element. Make sure that there are no breaks or kinks in the wires.

It’s also worth mentioning that the E21 error code on a Candy dryer can be caused by a random access memory (RAM) fault with the control module.

This means that the control board is struggling to carry out that particular drying cycle due to a hardware error on the control board.

The RAM error is rarer than a thermostat problem but does occasionally occur. If this is the case, then the control board will need to be replaced with a new one.

Control boards for Candy tumble dryers can sometimes be very expensive which means it’s worth looking into replacing the dryer if the cost is too high.

Try replacing the heating element

If the thermostats, control board and all of the wiring seem to be functioning properly then it might be that heating element that Is faulty.

The heating element may have an open circuit or an insulation fault that is causing the control board to display the E21 fault code.

Heating elements for tumble dryers are usually fairly economical to replace and it’s definitely worth fixing your dryer if the heater is at fault.

If the element is faulty and is overheating, then it might also be causing the thermostats to trip. This would usually be evident as the wiring would have also melted away at the back of the machine.

Another possible reason for heating element failure is if the machine has had a blockage in the condenser. This causes excess moisture to go into the heating element duct which then breaks the heater.

When you remove the heating element cover you would see signs of this as the water will be at the bottom of the cover when you take it off.


Just to summarize everything that you should do when your Candy tumble dryer has an E21 error code:

  • Check the thermostats and replace any faulty ones that you find – It’s always a good idea to try and reset the thermostat that’s located on the top of the heating element at the rear of the machine
  • Remove the condenser unit and clean out any lint that’s trapped inside – You can use a high pressure washer for the best results
  • Remove any lint from the lint filter to make sure that the fault doesn’t arise again in the future – When lint overflows in the filter it makes its way into the machine and causes blockages which then in turn causes the machine to overheat and trip the thermostats
  • Inspect the control board for any signs of a short circuit and make sure that the wiring is not faulty
  • If you can’t find any obvious problems with the thermostats, control module or a blockage then you should replace the heating element

It’s worth noting that if you do find any issues with the control module and it needs to be replaced then you should look into how much the control board costs.

Candy tumble dryer control boards can often be expensive and sometimes it’s better to replace the machine instead of a repair.

If you want to find out some more information on Candy tumble dryer error codes we have put together a complete list with some information on what you can do to fix them.