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Troubleshooting a Clothes Dryer

Suketu Mehta Nov 4, 2018
Having trouble in drying clothes in the clothes dryer? Let's try to identify common clothes dryer solutions and fix the problem at home.
The grandeur and size of a clothes drying machine, at times, can be intimidating for people to try their hands on a faulty piece. The truth is, some problems can be easily fixed at home without calling for an authorized repair personnel.
The drum, motor, vent, thermostats, drum belt, and idler pulley are various parts. The heat source blows hot air into the drum, which contains clothes that require drying, and the motor propels movement of the drum.
Electric dryers contain an electrical element which helps in generating hot air, while gas heaters use a gas flame for the same purpose. Most problems occur because of a faulty motor, blockage in the vent, or trouble with the heating element.

Fixing a Clothes Dryer

Failure to Start

If the machine is not working at all, check the power supply, thermal fuse, door switch, and the wiring, as a fault in any of these could be the reason. If the door-switch (present inside the dryer near the door frame) is faulty, replace it.
Blowing of the fuse also disrupts the functioning of the dryer as continuity of power flow ceases. Replace the fuse in such a situation. The wiring from the house mains to the dryer, if this connection breaks or the power chord is worn out, would require replacement.

Not Heating Up

When the clothes dryer does not generate required amount of warm hair to dry the clothes, there is a possibility of the heat source getting disturbed by some element. In case of an electric heater, the problem could be that the fuse or circuit breaker controlling power supply has blown off. Replace these elements or if possible, reset them.
An electrical dryer has two fuses. For the heating element in the dryer to function properly, both these fuses should be working. The motor can work on a single fuse, but not the heater.
Almost all recently manufactured dryers come with electronic ignition rather than a pilot light. If the dryer has an electronic ignition and is still not working, get help from a qualified repair person.
In case of a gas dryer, there are chances that the gas valve, located behind the dryer, could be turned off. Check it and turn it 'on' if it is the case. Also check whether the main gas supply valve in the house is turned on.

Inefficient Drying

The most common cause for this trouble is a problem in the dryer's vent. Usually, the vent gets blocked with fine ravelings of cotton or linen fibers (lint), which reduces the dryer's capacity to dry and as a result, moisture present in the dryer cannot be carried out due to blockage in the vent. Cleaning the vent for lint will help solve the problem.
To do this, plug out the air removal pipe from behind the dryer to clean up any lint stuck inside. Sometimes, the duct from the dryer which leads from the exterior wall to vent, would require cleaning by disconnecting certain sections of the dryer. Refer to the owner's manual while doing so.
Also, check for any internal clogs by removing the lint filter, suck out any obstruction using a vacuum cleaner. If, after doing all this, the dryer still does not dry clothes effectively, call a qualified repair person as there could be a problem in the heating element or thermostat.

Excessive Noise

The rollers used by dryers for supporting the drum, have a tendency to wear out easily, resulting in noise. Replace them if they have been worn out. An idler pulley, used to maintain tension on the driver belt, when worn out can create noise and will require replacement.
When the blower wheel gets choked with lint, it becomes noisy. Try cleaning the blower wheel first, and if it does not help in reducing noise, replace it.

Bad Smell on Clothes

To get rid of that unpleasant odor which the dryer leaves on clothes, clean the duct work and lint cabinet in the dryer.
Also remove any odor producing substance like paints, lacquers, and solvents from around the dryer, as these elements could be the reason for odor of the clothes.
Be very careful by complying to general safety measures while following instructions, like cutting of gas supply or unplugging the dryer. Periodically cleaning and maintaining the vent and lint trap should keep most problems away. Take professional help from an authorized repair person in case of any doubt, regarding fixing these problems.