Clothes Dryer Repair Guide
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1. Why does my dryer do nothing when I turn it on?
2. Why is my electric dryer causing fuses to blow or circuits to trip?
3. Why is there no heat in my dryer?
4. Why doesn't my dryer dry my clothes very well?
5. Why doesn't my dryer drum tumble?
6. Why is my dryer running too long?
7. Why doesn't the interior light work?
8. Why doesn't the automatic drying cycle seem to work properly?
9. Why isn't the timer advancing?
10. Why does the dryer or timer stop in the middle of a cycle?
11. Why is my dryer getting too hot?
12. Why is my dryer so noisy?
13. Why is there a smoky smell on my clothes?
14. Why are my clothes getting marks on them?
15. Why are my clothes getting cut or torn?
16. Why are my clothes wrinkled?
17. What are the cheapest dryers to operate?
18. Are dryer sheets okay to use?
19. How often do I need to clean the lint trap?
20. What's the clicking sound I hear when I start my dryer?
21. What do I use for vent ducting?
22. How long should a regular load have to dry for?
23. Why does my dryer shake the floor?
24. Why do I have so much lint on my clothes?
25. What causes the orange-red glow I see inside the dryer?
WARNING: To avoid personal injury or death, disconnect your appliance from its power source before you start any troubleshooting or repair work. Use caution working inside any appliance.
Plug something else into the same outlet. If it works, you know you have power to the dryer. If it doesn' t work, you'll need to check for any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. Electric dryers should have the wiring checked at the terminal block to make sure that the connection is good, or to verify that the connection is burnt out.
If the power is there, you will want to check the door switch, thermal fuse, thermostats, and start switch to see if one of these is faulty. Make sure that the control settings are appropriate, and that any buttons are fully depressed. Make sure that the start button has been fully pushed down or turned far enough to activate the dryer.
The door or lid switch performs two main functions. When the dryer door is open, it keeps the dryer from starting, and turns on the light. If the door switch is faulty, your dryer won't work, and you'll need to replace the switch. The door switch is located inside of your dryer's main housing right by the door frame. You'll probably need to access this switch through the top or front of your dryer.
There may also be a problem with the start switch. Test and replace if it is faulty.
Many dryers use what's called a thermal fuse. This is often mounted within the exhaust duct in the back panel. This fuse is about an inch long, and is usually found within a white plastic housing. Your dryer will not operate if this fuse is defective. You can test this fuse, and if faulty, replace it.
Most fuses have a thin wire that conducts electricity. When fuses blow, it means the wire is broken, they have no continuity and no power will flow through it. When this happens to the thermal fuse, your dryer either doesn't work at all, or it stops heating. Give your vent and heating system a visual check before you replace this fuse.
You will also want to test each thermostat to determine if any one is faulty. A bad thermostat may prevent your dryer from working at all.
Electric dryers require the use of a 220 volt line. The dryer heating elements run off of 220 volts. An excessive draw of electricity, or a short in the wiring can blow a fuse or trip a breaker. This happens to protect sensitive components from damage, and to help prevent fires. Every other dryer component operates off of 110 volts, the timer, motor, etc. Usually when a fuse blows or a circuit trips, it's because there's to much draw on the power line.
It is very possible for one part of your dryer to work fine, and yet another to have a problem, such as a short circuit. A short circuit may be caused by the heating element, internal wiring, or the main power cord.
To troubleshoot this problem, unplug the dryer and check to see if the circuit breaker or fuse remains on when the dryer is unplugged. If they stay on, it's more than likely the problem is somewhere in the dryer.
If your fuse blows, or the circuit breaker trips when the dryer is unplugged, it's likely the problem is with the circuit breaker, fuse box, or house wiring. Contact a professional appliance repair person.
If your dryer is not getting any heat, you need to make sure there is nothing blocking the front of the dryer. Air flow is key to efficient drying. Make sure the dryer settings are appropriate for the clothes you want to dry. The timer selection, fabric selection, and the temperature selection all play important roles in proper dryer operation.
Check the heating element, burner operation, ignitor, thermal fuse, and the wiring (power cord).
• Heating element (For Electric Models)
• Burner operation (For Gas Models)
• Ignitor (For Gas Models)
• Thermal fuse
• Wiring (Power Cord)
Visually inspect your heating element for any broken or burned areas. The heating element is a coil made from a nickel-chrome alloy, called nichrome. Check the coil for continuity with a Volt Ohm Meter. If there's no continuity, it means that the element is bad and you need to replace it. An electric dryer should have it's own separate power line.
When the burner is operating properly, the flame should be clean and blue.
If the ignitor is cycling without the burner lighting, you probably have defective electrical coils in the gas valve. These coils look like black cylinders with wires coming out the top of them, and are located near the burner valve assembly. When they get power, they open up and allow the gas to get through to the burner. If this is a new installation, make sure the gas valve is turned on.
If the ignitor doesn't glow, look for a white or yellowish discolouration, or for a break in the ignitor. If this is something visible, just replace the ignitor. If there are no obvious signs of a break or burnt area, test it for continuity. If the ignitor doesn't have this type of problem, you'll need to determine if the problem is in the control area, or somewhere else within the burner system. Test for 110v getting to your burner assembly.
Here's a test you can perform: Unplug your dryer and then open up the burner inspection panel. Unplugging your burner assembly unit, you want to connect your jumpers for the Volt Ohm Meter to the dryer side of the assembly, not the burner side. Keeping your Ohm meter wires away from the drum area, set the timer to on, set the controls to high heat, and then plug the dryer back in. If there is 110v in this area, you can assume the thermostats in this area are good. If not, a timer, motor centrifugal switch, or other thermostat may be your culprit.
To protect from over-heating, many dryers use what's commonly called a thermal fuse. If the thermal fuse gets too hot, it will blow, and completely shut down your dryer until it is replaced. This fuse is often mounted within the exhaust duct in the back panel. It's about an inch long, and is usually found within a white plastic housing. When fuses blow, it means they have no continuity and no power will flow through it. A bad thermal fuse needs to be replaced. When replacing this fuse, check the dryer vents to make sure there is no lint buildup which can cause the heat to stay trapped and blow the fuse again.
You should visually inspect the wiring connections to the dryer from the house regularly. If you're opening the dryer case, give the wiring inside a good visual check as well. Lastly, never use an extension cord to operate this appliance. An electric dryer draws a lot of power, and the shorter the wiring to it, the better. The power cord connects to a terminal block in the back of an electric dryer. Sometimes this terminal can get burned out or ground to the dryer. Make sure the power is turned off, and look for scorching, burned, or broken connections. For electric dryers, one broken connection might allow the dryer drum and timer to operate, but there would be no heat.
This is usually caused by poor airflow. Turn your dryer on and go outside to the vent. If there is not a strong airflow, check your dryer duct vent, lint trap, blower, and also look for clogs and kinks in the vent hose or ducting. Ductwork inside the dryer may become clogged. Use a long flexible lint brush or vacuum attachment to clean these ducts. This Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning System is available from our website. We also carry this Lint Trap Brush to help clean the hard to get at places inside the lint trap area. Make sure the air path is clear from the burner assembly or heating element all the way to the exhaust vent.
Some electric dryer heating elements have two circuits in them. Sometimes one can burn out. If one part is not working properly, this can lead to a dramatically longer drying time. If this happens, you'll want to just replace the whole heating element since the individual circuits are not available separately.
Another reason for damp clothes would be one of the cycling thermostats. These control the temperature in your dryer and when they fail, they prevent the dryer from heating well or stop it from operating altogether. To locate and replace a thermostat, follow the duct work that moves the air through the dryer. A thermostat has 2 to 5 wires attached to it, and the body is black or brown. On the end opposite the wires is a metal plate that is used to attach the thermostat to the duct work.
There are a few things that will keep the drum from tumbling, the belt being broken or slipping badly, the motor being seized, or worn support parts.
Dryers have a belt that turns the drum. If the belt is worn or broken, it can't move the drum. Just replace the belt, and while you're doing that, you may want to check the idler pulley. Wear on the idler pulley can cause the belt to break. Worn out glides and rollers can also create extra stress on the belt by making the drum harder to turn. If the drum is harder to turn, the extra stress could have broken the belt.
Normally, you can hear the motor running, especially if it's the belt or idler pulley that's the problem. If you don't hear the motor, and you hear a buzzing sound instead, the motor may be seized and you'll probably need to replace the motor or motor start capacitor. Remove the belt, then check for any blockages in the blower fan housing and try to turn the shaft on the motor by hand.
If it's too hard or impossible to turn the motor shaft, and the blower fan housing has no obstructions; odds are that you need to replace the motor.
If the motor turns easily, run it for a few seconds. If it runs good without the belt, you may have a problem with the idler pulley or the drum rollers. Try rotating the drum by hand. If it's hard to move, fix any problem with the idler pulley, glides, or drum rollers, reassemble the dryer, and test it again.
One thing that many people overlook is the washer settings. Make sure that the clothes from the washer are not wetter than usual before trying to trouble shoot dryer problems. For instance, if you have a normal load set for a gentle wash, the clothes will not spin for long enough. If they don't spin long enough, the dryer will have to run longer to get them dry.
Only dry one washer load at a time. Do not mix heavy clothes that take a long time to dry with light clothing that only takes a few minutes to dry. If you try to dry too many clothes at one time, the dryer will seem to run forever before the clothes get dry. Conversely, if you're trying to dry only one item or a few small items, they may not tumble properly. You can add an already dry article or two to the load to ensure proper tumbling.
Make sure that the outside damper is not clogged and that it opens freely. A clogged lint trap can trap moisture in the dryer. A lint filled or fabric softener clogged dryer vent can also keep the airflow down, trapping the moisture inside. You can wash the lint trap in soap and water periodically to wash the residue build-up from it. If you're using a flexible vent duct, make sure that it is not kinked, and that it has been installed correctly. We carry this Lint Trap Brush to help clean the hard to get at places inside the lint trap area, and this Rotary Dryer Vent Cleaning System is also available from our website.
Other reasons can include a defective heating element which you can test for continuity with a volt ohm meter, a faulty thermostat, faulty glow-bar ignitor, or a short cycling burner.
Occasionally the glow-bar ignitor (round or flat)will go bad. Many times it will continue to glow, and you may think it's a good part, but in reality, it may not glow quite hot enough to assure combustion. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive part to replace, and it should be one of the first things to check or replace if your dryer is running too long or not igniting at all.
Sometimes, your dryer has an automatic cycle that turns the dryer off when your clothes are dry. It does this with a special thermostat or moisture-sensing system. If your dryer seems to run forever, it could be because of a clogged vent, clogged internal ductwork, or the sensor can also get gunked over by excessive use of dryer sheets or fabric softeners. A dirty sensor can dramatically increase drying times.
Electric dryers run their heating element off of a 220V line. A lot of times, this current is drawn through a doubled circuit breaker. Occasionally, one of the breakers will trip. If one of the two breakers has tripped, the drum will tumble and the timer move, but the heating element will not work. This can lead to drying times up to three times longer.
Most dryers with a light inside the drum have a 40-watt appliance bulb. First, check the bulb. If the bulb is good, but won't come on, check your dryer's door switch, maybe it's sticking or defective. You'll also want to check the bulb wiring and the bulb socket.
Some dryers have an automatic cycle that turns the dryer off when your clothes are dry. It does this with a special thermostat or moisture-sensing system. The heat will normally turn on and off many times during this cycle. This cycle may prolong the life of your clothes by preventing over drying. The sensor continually senses the air temperature in the drum of the dryer. Moist air keeps the temperature cool. The timer will normally advance sporadically during this cycle. Total drying times are going to depend on size of load, amount of moisture, and type of material.
When the temperature rises to a certain point, the sensor knows that the clothes are dry to the settings selected, and turns the dryer off. If your dryer seems to run forever, it could be because of a clogged vent, clogged internal ductwork, or the sensor may have gotten gunked over by excessive use of dryer sheets or fabric softeners. A dirty sensor can dramatically increase drying times. The sensor can get a filmy residue build-up on it from the use of dryer sheets, effectively rendering the sensor useless.
The only real difference between the automatic regular cycle and the permanent press cycle is the cool down period that comes at the finish of the permanent press cycle. More dry or less dry settings determine how much moisture is left in the clothes to prevent wrinkling or damage to fibers, with less dry leaving more moisture in the clothes.
During a timed function, the timer normally advances in increments. During an automatic cycle, the timer will advance periodically. The thermostatic control system senses the air temperature in the drum of the dryer. As the wet laundry tumbles,the moisture evaporates, keeping the air cool. When the air gets warmer because there is no moisture to evaporate, the control turns off the heat.
If the timer is not advancing in either the timed or automatic cycle, you will probably need to replace it. Call a professional appliance repair person for correct diagnosis or service.
It is possible that the dryer is overheating. Most dryers bring fresh air in through the front of the dryer. Make sure that there is nothing blocking the intake. Some dryers feature load detector sensors. If you have one and the dryer is tilted to the rear, the no-load sensor may turn the dryer off. The remedy for this problem is to make sure the dryer is level from front to back and from side to side. The redeeming value of this feature is that when it is working properly, you can save energy and reduce wear and tear to the dryer.
A dryer usually overheats because of a kink or blockage in the duct work, blockage in the outside wall cap, or because of a defective cycling thermostat. The cycling thermostat tells the dryer when to heat and not to heat. Clean any lint from the inner and outer ductwork. You can also remove the vent from the back of the dryer for a load or two to determine if the clothes dry faster or not. If this doesn't fix it, go ahead and replace the cycling thermostat. Make sure to use the appropriate setting to dry the clothes.
The dryer pulls in air from the front, so any piles of clothes may be blocking air flow. Vents should be rigid or flexible metal. Plastic venting collapses easily, collects water, and collects lint. If your dryer can't get rid of any excess heat or moisture, the heat will build up in the dryer drum, and becomes a fire hazard.
Clothes dryers are one of the leading causes of residential (household) fires in the United States. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported an estimated 14,800 dryer fires in the United States in 1998. This number of fires resulted in 16 deaths, about 300 injuries, and cost over $75 million dollars in property damages. The major source of ignition for a lot of the fires was the dryer vent stack. Because the smoke and pollutants from the fire are vented outside, many traditional residential smoke alarms will not go off until the fire is in a highly advanced state.
There are several things that can cause a dryer to be noisy. There are a lot of moving parts in a dryer that can cause noises to occur when they get worn. Several parts support the drum, and may make noise or vibrations when worn out. Many times a dryer will squeak just a little bit as it first starts. This should go away in just a few seconds. Make sure nothing is loose inside the drum. Remove the lint trap and look below the lint trap holder for any loose items that may have slipped through the cracks.
The blower wheelis always moving and lint is constantly going by it. If it's noisy, it may have gotten clogged with lint, or it may be worn and need to be replaced. Clean out the area around the blower. If it's still noisy, replace it.
Many dryers use a centre spindle to support the clothes drum. This spindle may be a ball-and-socket support, or it may be a shaft inside a sleeve. When these component bearings get worn out, they may make a squealing or rubbing sound. Replace this bearing when it gets worn out. Many dryers also use plastic glides in the front end of the clothes drum. When these glides are worn out, you may hear a lot of noise. If the glides are worn, replace them as a set.
Some dryers use rollersto support the clothes drum. If these rollers or wheels are worn out, they can be extremely noisy. You ought to replace the whole set at the same time. A belt that has been damaged or frayed may make a thumping or slapping sound as the drum turns.
The gas valve solenoid will make a buzz type of sound as it opens. The valve itself will give a little click as it starts the heat cycle, when ignition begins, and when the burner is turning off. The burner flame itself makes kind of a low-pitched roaring wind sound.
Even though you have a lint filter in your dryer, it doesn't catch all the lint. You need to check inside the cabinet at least yearly to look for and clean out any lint build-up. If you smell smoke, your dryer may have had a small lint fire inside the cabinet. The smell from these fires can leave a smoky odor in the clothes drum, and also on your clothes.
You must clean out the lint trap after every use. You also need to clean all of the lint from the inside cabinet and inner ductwork of your dryer. Be careful because many house fires are caused by lint build up in dryers and their vents. Keep your family safe by checking for lint buildup in the cabinet at least yearly. Install a smoke alarm near your dryer for added protection. Have a professional appliance repair person check the dryer for damage caused by any lint fires.
When support parts for the dryer drum get worn out, the drum can get thrown off-balance. This can allow your clothes to get pinched in certain areas of the dryer. Check the glides, rollers, wheels, and seals for wear. Replace the whole set of glides, rollers, or wheels if one or more are bad. You will also want to check the rear support for any play in it. Sometimes the rear drum bearing gets worn out.
Your dryer probably has a felt-like seal at the front and/or rear of the dryer drum. When the seal is worn, torn, or missing, your clothes might get caught in the gap between the clothes drum and the front or rear of the dryer interior. When a seal wears out, you need to replace it.
The biggest cause of wrinkles is leaving the clothes in the dryer after they're done tumbling. Other reasons for wrinkling include: improper sorting of the laundry, no fabric softener, too many or too few items to tumble properly, improper wash and dry cycles, wrong water level, and using water that's too hot for the material.
To prevent and get rid of wrinkles you can: remove clothes promptly from the dryer and either hang or fold them, dry only one load at a time, don't pack the dryer too full, do not dry heavy items with light items, use the permanent press cycle to give clothes a cool down cycle at the end to reduce wrinkling, and lastly, you can always rewash and dry the clothes properly.
Gas dryers are typically about 15%-50% as cheap to operate as an electric dryer. Look for the Energy Star label on the dryer you want to purchase. The best thing is to do comparisons between the prices of gas and electric and determine the average lifetime of your appliance and your needs for it. Dryers have a many years lifetime, so try to plan ahead.
You can use dryer sheets if you like, however, they have been known to leave an invisible filmy residue on the dryer drum, on your clothes, and the electronic moisture sensors, which basically makes the sensor useless. Fragrance free dryer sheets are the most suitable for use as they contain less chemicals. Dryer sheets can also clog lint filters or vents, so be careful. You can wash the lint trap in soap and water and scrub it with a nylon brush periodically to wash the filmy residue build-up from it.
You should empty the lint trap either before or after every load you dry. The warm, dry air needs to be able to flow through the wet clothes to be the most effective. You also cut the risk of dryer fires by keeping the lint trap clean. You can wash the lint trap in soap and water and scrub it with a nylon brush periodically to wash the filmy residue build-up from it.
That clicking sound is probably your gas valve opening to start the heating cycle. You will hear it click when it closes too.
You can no longer use the plastic corrugated vent ducting. All national and local building codes, along with most manufacturers' warranties require you to use aluminum tubing for your dryer vent. The old plastic corrugated vents allowed lint build-up in low areas.
Most loads, excluding heavy materials like jeans, take about 40-50 minutes to dry the clothes completely.
There are a lot of moving parts in a dryer. Several parts support the drum, and may make noise or vibrations when worn out. Many dryers use a centre spindle to support the clothes drum. This spindle may be a ball-and-socket support, or it may be a shaft inside a sleeve. When these component bearings get worn out, they may make a squealing or rubbing sound. Replace this bearing when it gets worn out.
Many dryers use plastic glides in the front end of the clothes drum. When these glides are worn out, you may hear a lot of noise. If the glides are worn, replace them as a set. Some dryers use rollers to support the clothes drum. If these rollers or wheels are worn out, they can be extremely noisy. You ought to replace the whole set at the same time. Unfortunately, when these things start to wear out, you don't know just how much longer they will last. It may last a year or more, or it can break down today.
We carry an awesome product called Shakeaway that helps reduce vibration noise for washers and dryers. These vibration isolation pads reduce the vibration transfer from your front load washer and dryer.
Clothes washed in 1995 and newer washers usually carry more lint on them than older models of washers. Your dryer should be picking up any lint that your washer misses. Make sure that the dryer vent is at least 4 inches in diameter. You may mistake lint for undissolved detergents. During the winter, the water temperature drops and this may mean that all the detergent is not getting dissolved. Feel the lint; if it crumbles, it's probably caked detergent.
Other reasons for excessive lint may be that you have mixed different types of clothing in the dryer. Cotton knits, flannel items, and many synthetic materials should be washed separate from other types of materials. By keeping materials separate, you can also dry clothes more efficiently.
Reasons for excessive linting include: too long of a wash time - shorten the cycles, too high water level - fill only to the top of the clothes, overfilling the washer causes clothes to rub together too much - loosely load the clothes in the washer up to the top line of holes in the washer tub, too much bleach causes excessive lint and damages fabrics - follow manufacturer's suggestions on amounts of bleach, pilling is a normal occurrence with polyester and cotton blend fabrics because the stronger fibers don't break off, they collect and entangle lint which makes the linting more visible - turn your clothes inside out when washing them to reduce pilling and linting.
The glow you see from your dryer is normal for both electric and gas dryers. Electric dryers have a heating element much like an electric oven has. This element is usually made of a nichrome metallic alloy and glows when it gets hot. The exact formulas for these alloys are dependent on the use, temperature, and electric requirements. The element radiates heat from the electrical resistance it has, and warms the air as it passes over and around the element. The orange-red glow from a gas dryer is almost always caused by the glow-bar ignitor (round or flat)and burner assembly or the glowing heating element. The only other time you should see a glowing in the dryer would be from a pilot light system. The glow-bar ignitor receives current from the timer or control panel after you push or turn the start knob. It glows red-hot, and when a sensor detects that it is hot enough to cause gas to burn, the sensor opens the gas safety valve which then releases the gas to the burner assembly. Usually this glow is visible through the access plate at the bottom of the dryer. The gas safety valve will only allow gas into the burner assembly when the sensor reaches a temperature at which the gas is sure to be combustible.
Occasionally the glow-bar ignitor will go bad. Many times it will continue to glow, and you may think it's a good part, but in reality, it may not glow quite hot enough to assure combustion. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive part to replace, and it should be one of the first things to check or replace if your dryer is running too long or not igniting at all.