The humble home dryer is a simple and reliable white good that is essential to any productive home. But when your trusty dryer is acting up, it will put a dampener on your week.
This is especially true when you have just the last of your weekly laundry routine to do. Instead of finding your warm and dry clothes ready to be neatly folded and organized, you find a hot damp pile of musty clothes.
Dryers can last for a long time, but they are a costly investment, particularly if they break down prematurely. Luckily, you can try a few things at home to rectify this frustrating problem and get your dryer to work like new.
Ultimately, dryers are pretty simple machines that are great for even a first-time DIYer to try to diagnose and fix.
Getting hot but not drying your clothes is one of the most common problems you will face as a dryer owner, but there are lots of simple things you can try first before you call someone in to fix it.
Simple maintenance like clearing the lint filter, cleaning the vent, checking the drive belt, and correcting your washing cycle is easy to do and likely to fix your problem quickly.
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How Do Dryers Work
Most of us have used a dryer for most of our adult life. However, a bit like a car, we know how to use one, but how much do you know about how it works?
This is increasingly evident once they stop working properly!
Generally, all dryers follow work in principally the same way. They utilize a drum which creates a heated environment to help evaporate the water trapped in your clean laundry.
Crucially the drum also spins to ensure an even distribution of heat is applied to the wet load. As the hot air circulates, it collects moisture, which is extracted and collected to cultivate a continually dryer environment.
The agitation of clothes also causes molting of some of the materials that are being dried. As part of its sequence, the dryer will collect these particles to ensure that they do not clog any of the essential mechanisms and ensure that there is no unsightly residue on your clothes.
Reason for the Malfunction
There can be a multitude of simple and more technical issues with your washing and drying routine that might need a little tweaking.
However, before you go through the costly process of getting a professional to come and take a look, there are a few at-home diagnoses and troubleshooting jobs you could do first. So here goes!
The first and most simple problem might be that you are overloading your dryer. Dryers work by creating a hot spinning chamber that evaporates the residual stored moisture in your wet clothes and sheets.
However, there must be enough space for moisture to be collected in the air. If the dryer is fully loaded, it makes the dryer work way less efficiently.
Think about it. It is so much faster drying a single sock compared to all of your bed sheets.
Dryers come in various capacities, usually categorized by the weight of clothing they can take as a maximum load. So, a good rule of thumb is never to fill a dryer with more than 80% of the total volume of the drum.
It is often tempting to overload the machine but following this method will help ensure that you always have warm fresh laundry at the end of every cycle.
Drive Belt is Broken
A simple but critical part of the drying cycle is the continuous spinning of the heated drum. Spinning guarantees a more even distribution of heat evenly across the entirety of the load, which will dry everything evenly.
The drum is typically spun with a simple motor attached to the drum by a rubberized drive belt. This belt is made of rubber because of its ability to withstand changing temperature and humidity conditions while remaining flexible.
Over time, however, the rubber will eventually deteriorate and often snap suddenly. Frustratingly, this will not affect interfere with the mechanical components of the dryer, so the dryer likely appears to be working as expected.
To test this, put a tennis ball in the machine and turn it on as usual. If you cannot hear the ball bouncing around, then it is likely that the drive belt may have snapped.
Don’t worry, though. This is a prevalent problem; they are designed to be replaced over time, and it is likely to be a job you can do yourself.
Clothes Are Too Wet
If everything appears to be working with your dryer, it might be worth considering looking for a different culprit, your washing machine. For example, your washing machine might be washing your clothes as expected but not spinning and draining as it should.
To wash your clothes, the machine must fill around half of the drum with water to saturate your laundry thoroughly. Then, at the end of the cycle, your washing machine should spin the load to extract most of the remaining water and drain it away.
A common problem with washing machines is often the cause of trapped filters or draining pipes that prevent water from being extracted effectively. So it is a good idea to check how wet your laundry is after a wash.
If it is saturated, it might be a good idea to check your washing machine’s filters first.
Check The Lint Collector
When the hot moist air is extracted during the drying cycle, it passes through a filter to prevent the vent and pipes from clogging with particles from your laundry. Unfortunately, this lint collector very quickly builds a material layer that can cause dryer problems.
If the lint filter is full, it will prevent air from being passed quickly out of the vent, trapping it in the machine. Unfortunately, this will prevent your clothes from drying as normal because no matter how hot the machine gets, the conditions within the drum will not allow your laundry to dry.
You are usually recommended to check and clean your lint collector after every cycle. This will ensure that your machine is working as efficiently as possible.
To be extra secure, it is advisable that the vent is also cleaned regularly and not face directly into a wall which will make the machine work harder to evacuate the humid air.
Faulty Heating Components
Now that we have assessed all the most common and easily fixed options, it is time to think about the slightly more complex issues, which may be a little more daunting for first-time DIYers. You must check all of the above issues first to rule them out before you start to tackle these electrical problems.
For your dryer to function, it is critical to continually push hot air through the drum as it tumbles your laundry. Therefore, if there is an electrical issue with one of your thermostats, which could be preventing the dryer from achieving an appropriate temperature throughout the cycle.
To diagnose this, you will need to have some electrical knowledge and some specialized tools like a multimeter. Like most electrical issues, it is always recommended that you get a professional to help you, as it can be extremely hazardous.
If you have ruled out all other options, you may have a faulty heating element. Again, this is a more complex electrical issue that should be tackled by a professional.
If it is defective, it may be causing excess or too little heat, which would negatively impact the accuracy of your dryer settings.
Issues arising from faulty electrical components of your dryer are likely to fall under your warranty. This is why it is always imperative to keep all of the documentation you require when you purchase any white goods.
White goods are long-term investments that manufacturers have a duty to guarantee. It should be a consideration when you make a large purchase as producers can hold a warranty anywhere from 1-10 years.
If a manufacturer is committed to giving you an extended warrenty, it will give you peace of mind that you are purchasing a quality product.
Typically dryers should last between 10-15 years. But, over time, dryers will need maintenance to ensure they work optimally for as long as possible.
Producing heat but not drying your laundry properly is, fortunately, one of the most frequently experienced and most easily tackled problems, so you should feel confident in sorting it yourself quickly. Most of the issues described are simple and typical for almost every dryer, so don’t panic; most people will experience this problem at some point.
Remember to consult your manufacturers’ handbook, too, because they will always know what is best for your particular machine.
Last update on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API