Learn how to diagnose a broken dryer successfully and efficiently. This comprehensive guide will provide the necessary troubleshooting techniques and knowledge to help you detect faulty dryer parts.
Experiencing a dryer breakdown can be frustrating. But even more frustrating than a dryer breakdown is feeling powerless to fix the issue so that you can get back to your daily life and routine.
The vast majority of us need to do laundry on a daily basis to keep our lives moving forward and functioning normally. And a dryer breakdown can really throw a wrench into this process.
So in this guide, you’re going to learn how to diagnose a broken dryer so that you can actually take meaningful steps toward fixing it, resolving the issue, and getting back to the ‘important stuff’ of life.
Now, some dryer breakdowns may warrant the purchase of a new dryer unit. You can check out this guide to help you determine whether it’ll be better to repair or replace your appliance based on your diagnosis.
But in this guide, you’ll learn how to diagnose the issue—giving you the power to resolve the situation and figure out the best path forward.
So let’s go over the most commonly occurring dryer problems, and provide you with the information required to make a thorough diagnostic.
If your drying is running, but not producing any heat (even though the settings have the heat turned up), then here are the most likely reasons and solutions.
If the heating element goes bad, the dryer will spin and cycle normally—but it won’t produce any heat to actually dry the clothes.
If your dryer is producing absolutely no heat whatsoever, then it’s worth looking into the heating element as a possible culprit.
The solution to this problem would be to replace the heating element.
There’s a fuse in your dryer called a ‘thermal fuse.’ And if this fuse blows, on some brands (Maytag is one of them), it may not even start. But on most models, it just won’t heat.
If your dryer doesn’t produce heat, but also seems to not want to spin, tumble, or cycle normally—then you may need to check and replace the thermal fuse to get it working again.
If your dryer’s control board malfunctions or goes bad, the dryer may not heat up (due to the fact that no power will be routed to the heating element). It also may stop spinning, and it may not even start. The control board is basically the ‘brain’ of the dryer.
And if it goes bad, you’ll need to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine if it’s worth removing and replacing.
If your dryer is heating up a little bit, but not to the point that it should—and if you notice that it’s just taking a lot longer to dry a load of clothes than it should be taking—then you’re probably dealing with a slightly different set of problems.
If your dryer is taking longer to dry loads of laundry and just seems to not be getting as ‘hot’ as it used to get, it could be due to the fact that your lint filter, dryer vent, or even dryer wall vent are clogged to the point where your airflow is being disrupted.
This will require a thorough cleaning. If a thorough cleaning doesn’t fix the problem, then move on to the following possible solutions.
Note that it’s important to perform regular maintenance on your dryer in order to keep it from breaking down. Here’s a guide on how to perform some of the more crucial parts of dryer maintenance.
If the dryer vent (the vent leading from your dryer to the outside expulsion vent) is too long, your dryer may be getting bogged down trying to push all of that heat, air, and moisture down such a long vent.
The solution here is to shorten the vent to lighten the load on your dryer’s systems.
If your dryer just isn’t starting to begin with, then it’s likely that you’re dealing with one of the following issues.
If the lights turn on like normal, but the dryer won’t start—here’s a list of possible issues that could be causing the problem:
If you press buttons and/or turn knobs, and the dryer seems to respond to your adjustments, then you know that the control panel is probably working.
With that being said, here are some indications that you may be experiencing an issue with the control panel:
If you encounter any of these issues, you may be dealing with a control panel issue. The best course of action is to unplug your dryer, wait for 60 seconds, and then plug it back in to ‘reset’ it.
If this doesn’t fix the issue, you may need to contact a service provider to help you diagnose the problem.
If the dryer belt has broken or been thrown off the pulley, the dryer won’t be able to spin as it should. Here are some symptoms to look for that may indicate that your dryer belt is out of place and needs to be serviced:
Replacing the belt should help to correct the problem and get you back in business.
If your dryer door switch goes bad, your dryer won’t be able to start. This is a safety feature that keeps the dryer from running while the door is open. Thus, if the switch goes bad, it’ll keep your dryer from being able to run at all.
Here are some signs that may indicate that you’re dealing with a faulty door switch:
If you’ve noticed that your dryer is making unusual noises, it’s definitely time to pay attention and deal with the issue. Once a dryer starts to make noises, it’s usually only a matter of time before a breakdown or malfunction occurs. Or worse, it could even be an indication of a potential fire hazard.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most common noises you may hear coming from a malfunctioning dryer, along with some instructions for how to resolve the issue.
If your dryer is making a ‘humming’ sound and won’t start when you try to cycle it, then you’re probably looking at a bad drive motor.
The solution to this problem is to either replace the drive motor or to replace the entire appliance.
A grinding or squeaking sound coming from your dryer generally means that your rollers and/or bearings are starting to wear out.
It’s important to facilitate these repairs as soon as possible. These components are usually worth replacing, but you may want to call a professional to do it for you.
If you hear a squeaking sound coming from the front of the dryer, then it’s likely an indication that your idler pulley is going bad and will need to be replaced.
Drum rollers can also make squeaking sounds if they’re getting worn and need to be replaced. There are rollers toward the front and back of the dryer—so identifying where the sound is coming from can give you an indication of which rollers may need to be replaced.
If you hear sounds that sound like rumbling noises and/or train sounds coming from your dryer, this could be an indication that your drum is damaged and/or dented, and that it needs to be replaced.
This is often a costly repair, and in some cases you may be better off to just replace the appliance.
Alternatively, sometimes these ‘rumbling’ or ‘train-line’ noises can come from the blower wheel. If the blower wheel is loose or off-balance, or if it gets too blocked by lint or debris, it can make rumbling or thumping noises.
Here are some potential solutions to this problem:
Some people are relatively comfortable with some level of dryer diagnostics and repair. But some people aren’t. And this should factor heavily into your decision to either try to do it yourself, or call a professional to help.
Some factors to think about include:
At the end of the day, diagnosing and fixing a dryer problem isn’t for everyone. Thus, it’s never a bad idea to consider contacting a professional to help you sort out the problem and find a solution.
If you’ve experienced a dryer breakdown and need to diagnose and fix it, please contact us here at Denver Appliance Repair. We’d love to send a qualified technician to get your problem solved so that you can get your life (and laundry) back on track as soon as possible.