How to Repair a Clothes Dryer?
By Steven De Nazareth
Updated: April 23rd, 2019
A clothes dryer is essential to every working home and this makes it imperative to ensure that it runs without a glitch. There are days when your dryer could have a problem but you should try to decipher what the problem is and how you would go about with the repair.
Your clothes dryer consists of an electric motor to spin the tumbler drum, an electric timer and a heat source. Make sure that your dryer has an exhaust vent that is ventilated to the outdoors. Also, you need to clean the lint filter after every load. Modern dryers have a series of heating elements coils to heat the air that passes through the drum. Through these coils, electricity passes as an electric circuit. Current flows through these wires to heat up and warm the air.
Now, you should look at the common reasons why dryers breakdown and how you can fix them and keep the dryer up and running again. Similarly, you should look at the benefits and advantages of a clothes dryer.
Common Broken Dryer Symptoms
Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start:
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Putty knife
- Shop vacuum
- Socket/ratchet set
- Multimeter or a continuity tester
- Small straight slot screwdriver
Dryer Is Noisy
You should know that all dryer noises are not the same and this is why you need to diagnose the problem and identify the noise.
Squeaking Noise: In most cases, this is caused due to the drum roller bearings not operating or its just that it needs to be replaced or lubricated. These bearings are small rubber wheels that are located within the dryer machine. Just open the top of the machine and slide the drum forward to access the bearings.
High-Pitched Squealing Noise: The idler pulley would need to be replaced. This idler pulley is the spring-loaded arm that regulates the tightness of the drum belt. If it is too tight or too loose then the friction caused by it makes a squealing sound.
Thumping Noise: If the dryer was not used for a long period then the rubber on the drum rollers tend to get flattened. This means when the drum rolls, it will not spin smoothly and every time the drum goes over the flat area, there would be a thump. You will need to replace the rollers as they cannot be repaired.
Screeching Noise: This screeching sound like metal rubbing against metal happens when the dryer glides are worn out. These glides are small inexpensive parts that are made of plastic and acts as a guide for the drum to move on the rollers. In time, these would wear down. You will have to remove the top of the dryer and the front bulkhead to access the glides. These glides cannot be repaired and they will have to be replaced entirely.
Dryer Produces No Heat or Does Not Heat Up Enough
Turn Machine to a Heating Cycle: You need to determine that your dryer is on a drying cycle that includes heat. Air only cycle is not adequate for drying clothes.
Clean the Lint Filter: Make sure the lint filter is not clogged and that heated air can freely flow. If it is not cleaned it could slow down the drying cycle. This is why you need to clean the lint and dispose of it.
Clean Vent Tube: The corrugated foil vent tube which leads to the exterior may be clogged and you need to remove and shake to force the lint out.
Check Your Circuit Breakers: The electric dryer operates on double circuit breakers and only one needs to be operable for the drum to rotate. This leads to a situation where the drum is rotating normally but no heat is being produced because the second circuit breaker is not working.
Determine If the Heating Element Is Working: Most electric dryers have a cylinder-shaped element to heat air and the air is drawn into one end of the element and passed out from the other end into the drum. If the element does not work, then the air cannot heat up.
Dryer Will Not Start
Check Cord, Plug and Receptacle: Due to the high voltage of the dryer’s draw, the cord and peripheral items can get melted. Do not use the heater unless you replace the affected items.
Door Actuator: To enable the dryer to start, both the door actuator and the door switch should be working. The actuator is located on the door and looks like a spring-loaded metal finger that pushed into the door switch. It is easy to find and simple to replace.
Door Switch: This door switch is fairly inexpensive and located in the dryer. The actuator finger pushes the switch when the door is closed to tell the dryer that it can start working.
Dryer Is Not Venting Outside
If dryer is venting properly then you should be able to go outside and feel damp hot air coming out of the vent. If this is not the case, then there are four key points that might block the air:
Vent: The vent is at the end point and lint may jam up the flaps. You can clear it with your fingers and remove the rest with a vacuum. If the flaps do not open or close freely then you might have to replace it.
Vent Tube: This vent tube may be a corrugated aluminum foil or metal leading from the dryer to the wall.
Dryer: Lint may clog the dryer and you might need a lint eater or lizard that is attached to a vacuum to remove the lint from the limited spaces of the dryer’s interior.
Dryer Filter: The dryer lint filter should be cleaned after every load and replaced if broken or if it cannot trap lint.
Dryer Drum Will Not Move
Usually, if the drum can’t tumble clothes then it is caused due to the motor being broken. But, if the motor is running and the drum is not turning then it is caused by a worn out drive belt. Here’s how you can go about fixing it:
- Insert a putty knife and remove the dryer’s top panel and press the spring-loaded clips on the left and right sides.
- Use a head screwdriver or hex nut to release the front bulkhead.
- Release the electrical harness by unsnapping the plastic connector.
- Lift the front bulkhead forward and set it out of the way.
- Release the tension in the idler pulley and loosen the drive belt. Lift the drive belt up and away from the drum.
- Drape the new drive belt around the drum. Ensure that the ribbed side of the belt is against the drum.
- Loop the belt over the drive shaft and the idler pulley.
- Replace the bulkhead and top panel.
- Plug in the machine and turn on the circuit breaker again to test.
If Your Dryer Breaks Down
The first thing that you should know is that you can save hundreds of dollars on dryer repair as you can solve these problems yourself. While most repairs taken nearly an hour to repair, it takes extra time to locate replacement parts. You can search for appliance parts online and these are relatively inexpensive. You will also need basic tools like screwdrivers, socket sets, continuity tester or a multimeter to diagnose the problem. The first step is to make sure that the appliance is getting electricity as unplugged cords and tripped breakers leads to appliance breakdowns.
In some cases, dryer repairs require you to have some disassembly of the outer cabinets so that you can work on the parts inside. If the dryer’s lint filter is on the inside of the front door then it needs to be disassembled in the following steps:
- Remove the screws, flip the panel and pull the top and lift it off.
- Open the bottom panel, release the spring catches by shoving a putty knife in the slot.
- Once the bottom panel opens, you can remove the front panel by removing the two screws at the top and bottom.
- The filter slides into the top of the dryer.
- Remove the screws alongside the filter slot.
- Using the putty knife, release the two spring catches at the top panel in the front.
- Tilt the top panel and remove the screws that hold the front panel in place.
Dryer Won’t Start
In case the dryer seems dead when you switch it on, there are chances that the door switch is bad or the plunger is broken or bent. Door switches wear out in time and repeatedly slamming the door can speed up the process of damaging it. Start by checking where the plunger is located. If it is bent or missing, you need to replace it. If the plunger checks out, the next step would be to remove the top cabinet panel to gain access to the door switch. Here’s how you can disassemble it:
- Test the switch for continuity.
- If the switch is good, test the thermal fuse mounted on the blower housing.
- If you have a gas dryer with the lint filter in the door, access the thermal fuse by opening the bottom panel.
- If the filter slides into the top of the machine, remove the entire front panel.
- On an electric dryer, remove the rear service panel.
- If you don’t get a continuity reading from the thermal fuse, do not simply replace it. This means that there is a serious problem and this could be a malfunctioning thermostat or a clogged vent. Make sure you replace that before you replace the fuse.
Dryer Thumps, Chirps or Rumbles
Similar to the problem mentioned above, you should know that the best solution is to replace the drum support rollers. If the noise continues then you should also replace the tensioner roller. Though it takes long to disassemble the machine, replace the roller and belts as both need to be replaced at the same time.
Drum Motor Runs But Won’t Rotate
This means that you are dealing with a broken belt. All you have to do is remove the front cabinet panel and lift the entire drum out of the cabinet. Use the vacuum and suck out all the lint and then spin the tensioner roller to see if it runs smoothly and check for cracks around. Replace the tensioner if it makes a sound while rolling. Sometimes, the tensioner is mounted behind the motor and it makes it difficult to see the front access panel and this means that you will have to do this with your hands without being able to see it. What you have to do is reach your hands around the blower housing and lift the tensioner up while you route the belt around the motor pulley.
You should also choose the best washer-dryer for your home.
Home Warranty – Save You All The Trouble
If you have a broken clothes dryer and it caused you some amount of grief, just imagine having to work with several appliances breakdowns. This could really tear into your time and effort and not to mention that you would be spending thousands of dollars to get these appliances and systems fixed. But with a home warranty, you can choose to cover specific appliances that can be repaired or replaced during the duration of the home warranty.
But before you buy into a home warranty there are certain things that you should know. Also, you need to determine the right home warranty for you by taking a look at the reviews and ratings of companies. This can be done by spending some time and looking through the reviews, ratings, and research on the company. But you need to ensure that you get your free home warranty quote to start this process.
How, you ask? Simply submit your zip code and then submit the details additional details in the price estimate page and you are good to go! It’s as simple as pie. Moreover, once you get your free quote, you will be contacted by a home warranty company and finally you can decide on the best home warranty based on the price of the premium, deductible and service call. Also, you can choose by state or city to determine which is the best home warranty in your area.
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