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Broken Dryer: 7 Ways You Can Tell What’s Going On

broken dryer at home

After drying your clothes in the dryer, you notice they’re still damp. Another time you notice your clothes are not only damp, but they’re also cold to the touch. Something isn’t right with your dryer.

These are only a couple of the obvious signs that you have a dryer broken situation. Damaged or broken dryers can ruin your clothes and pose a danger to your home. Depending on the type of dryer you have, there could be additional problems such as a gas leak or an electrical problem that could lead to a house fire.

Fortunately, most dryer problems won’t lead to such drastic problems. You or a professional can fix the problem or replace the dryer altogether.

Do you think you may be experiencing a dryer problem? Here are the signs of a broken dryer to keep an eye out for.

Broken Dryer Signs

Both broken gas and electric dryers have many of the same issues. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, contact an experienced technician to repair appliances like your dryer. Before jumping too far ahead, let’s take a look at the most common signs of a broken dryer.

1. Dryer Doesn’t Start

A clear sign of a damaged or broken dryer is it doesn’t start. The last time you used it, the dryer worked fine. A few days later, you toss your clothes inside and no matter how many times you select “Start,” the dryer sits still.

There are many reasons for a dryer not starting. They can be as simple as restarting the circuit or making sure it’s securely plugged in.

The other common for a no-start dryer is a damaged door sensor. For safety reasons, all dryers have a door sensor. When damaged, it tells the dryer the door is still open and won’t start, even if you know you closed it tight.

This issue is fixable but you will need the help of a professional. The sensor will need replacing or require some rewiring.

2. Very Little Heat

You set your dryer to high heat and it starts without issue. After an hour or so, you return and find your clothes are damp and cold. This is a sign of a damaged heating element or a blown fuse.

If you have a gas dryer, check the gas supply valve. If it’s partially closed, your dryer isn’t getting enough gas to heat properly.

For those with an electric dryer, check your fuses. The drum in most electric dryers can still spin with a blown fuse. Try resetting your circuit breakers.

Did you try both but still have no heat? In this case, a power surge or another electrical issue could have damaged the thermal fuse. You’ll need to have the thermal fuse in your dryer replaced.

3. Unusual Squeaking & Grinding Sounds

Any time you hear squeaking or grinding noises, there’s a problem with your dryer’s motor bearings. Ignoring these sounds can lead to more serious issues with the motor which can damage the dryer beyond repair.

Repairing motor issues requires the help of a professional. They will have to take apart your dryer to access the motor and repair the bearings.

4. Dryer Drum Doesn’t Turn

dryer drum not turning

Does your dryer turn on, start, and sound quiet? Perhaps too quiet? If the drum of your dryer isn’t turning, it’s a clear sign there’s something wrong with the dryer.

The most common culprit for stationary drum is an issue with the belt. It’s not uncommon for the belt that helps turn the drum to wear down over time. When this happens your drum will stop turning.

You can order a new belt and replace it. Again, it’s best to have a professional install the belt for you.

5. Sporadic Stopping

There are 2 main causes of a dryer that stops in the middle of a cycle. The first one is an electrical issue. The other cause is an overheating dryer.

An overheating dryer is easy to diagnose and fix. First, check your dryer’s ventilation and clear out any lint and dust that could be clogging it. Thoroughly clean out lint traps and make sure all air passages are clear.

If you’re still having issues, it’s likely there’s an electrical issue, reset your circuit breaker and make sure everything is properly plugged in. If the issue persists, you may need a professional to look at and fix the dryer.

6. Burning Smell

The good news is your dryer is still working and clothes are coming out dry. But they’re unusually hot and there’s a slight burning smell. That burning smell is a sign that your dryer isn’t working right.

If you notice this smell, you should unplug your dryer and remove any clothing from the drum right away. While rare, there’s a chance your clothes and dryer could catch fire.

There are many causes of the burning smell. They include a broken thermostat, lint buildup, motor issue, or a damaged belt. If your dryer’s lint catch and air passages are clear, call a professional right away to diagnose and fix your dryer.

7. Banging Noises

If your dryer sounds like you’re drying a bag of shoes, there’s a chance you might have a belt issue. This rhythmic banging sound is the drum spinning erratically as the belt loosens.

This is a sign that the belt is wearing out and becoming loose. It’s not quite broken but is on it’s way out. Don’t let the banging persist as the belt can snap leading to other issues within the dryer.

Are you hearing banging noises? Give your local repair person a call and have them take a look at your dryer.

Do You Fix or Replace a Broken Dryer?

Any time your hear, smell, or notice anything unusual with your dryer, contact a specialist. In most cases, the problem you’re experiencing with the dryer is fixable. There are, however, a few instances where you replacing your broken dryer is better than trying to fix it.

Before fixing your dryer, consider the number of years you’ve had it and the severity of the problem. If your dryer is under 8 years and the issue isn’t too expensive it’s worth the fix. You may want to replace an older dryer experiencing more issues.

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