How to Troubleshoot a Clothes Dryer


Dryers are hardy machines that can run for years. Even when something does go wrong, the problem may be something simple, like lint buildup. Check this list for possible causes and solutions. See also How to Fix a Clothes Dryer That Dries Slowly.

If the Dryer Won't Start

  • Check the plug and reset the circuit breaker. It could simply mean that there's no power getting to the machine.

  • Make sure the door is closer and the the latch isn't obstructed by any articles of clothing.

  • Call a professional if these don't solve the problem. More extreme culprits for a dyer that won't start are a bad door switch, a failed drive belt, a failed motor or a bad thermal fuse (protects the motor).

If the Dryer Dries Slowly

  • Clean the lint filter. Remove the lint and clean it with hot water and a toothbrush. A clogged filter can cause slow drying.

  • Clean the exhaust duct. A clog here can also prevent the drying from drying.

  • Straighten out an kinks in the exhaust duct.

  • Remove some clothes from a heavy load. Overloading puts undo stress on the machine creating an eternity to retrieve dry clothes.

  • Replace the door gasket if it's gone bad.

  • If the dryer simply won't heat, call a professional. Most causes of this--gas-supply problems, bad igniters, defective thermostat, failed heating coil, et al--can only be fixed by a dryer mechanic.

If the Dryer Squeals or Rumbles When Running

  • Replace the driver-belt idler pulley. Usually a professional is needed.

  • Lubricate or replace the rollers that support the drum. Can be done on your own, but best fixed by a professional.

  • Clean out lint from the blower wheel. A clogged vacuum blower is a noisemaker.

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