Should I get my clothes dryer repaired? This isn’t a simple yes or no question.
There are a number of factors that affect the decision from the price tag to the odds of another part failure. We’ll provide real-world examples to help you make the right decision for your situation.
The Severity of the Issue
There are a number of reasons why the clothes dryer may stop working. It might be shutting down due to clogged vents. Get the vents cleaned, because this is a fire hazard. If the overheating unit causes the thermal fuses to blow, clean the vents and replace the thermal fuses.
If the thermal fuses keep blowing, then something is seriously wrong. Wiring and heating element problems are fire hazards in and of themselves.
Always have a professional appliance repair person assess the root cause and fix it rather than attempting a series of quick fixes.
And a good appliance expert will be able to determine if the problem is a broken temperature switch, malfunctioning temperature sensor, or bad heating element and fix it instead of coming back to replace each item in a sequence.
That isn’t an option when you have burned out motors, broken switches, and broken belts. Minor issues like broken switches are easy to fix, and they tend to be cheap. On the other hand, a number of small problems due to a common root cause may make it worthwhile to replace the entire clothes washer. For example, suppose that the unit is glitching because it flooded and thus damaged.
Replacing a moisture-damaged control board could hit one-third of the cost of a new washer. If there are wiring problems with the motors or sensor damage, too, you may want to just replace the whole thing.
The Price of the Repair
Is it worth repairing a dryer? The answer is no if the repair costs half or more of the cost of a comparable, new clothes dryer.
The answer is maybe if the repair costs a third of the value of a new, similar dryer. If you can’t afford to buy a replacement clothes dryer, then you can pay for the cost of the current repair. Then begin saving up for a new clothes dryer.
The Odds of a Repeat Failure
Appliances have expected life spans. As they approach the end of their operational lives, the odds of a future failure go up dramatically.
If your clothes dryer is seeing normal levels of use and approaching ten years old, replace the entire thing rather than replacing a burned-out motor or bad pump. After all, something else is going to fail soon. And you could end up spending more than the appliance is worth with multiple major repairs, though this could extend its life to up to twenty years.
We mention the expected operational life since commercially used units and heavily used residential units are going to wear out faster. If you’re running five to ten loads of laundry a day for a large family, your dryer may need to be replaced after just a few years. If you’ve had two major failures within six months, the unit is probably on its last legs.
The Operational Costs
Clothes dryers need relatively little maintenance. Clean the inside of the drum with a microfiber cloth. That’s going to be necessary if you often use dryer sheets. Clean the lint filter every time you run the dryer. Clean the dryer exhaust vents once a year. Check the vent cap every few months, since this can be covered by snow or debris like leaves. Inspect them for holes and cracks periodically.
Performing this maintenance on a regular basis will prevent the unit from working harder and longer than it has to. And if you fail to perform this maintenance, then the unit needs more energy to run and you’re creating a fire hazard. (You may want to replace the plastic exhaust vents with metal ones for safety reasons regardless of how old it is.)
Very few people can justify buying a new clothes dryer simply to save energy. However, if it is continually creating so much lint the vents are getting clogged or it is otherwise becoming a major hassle, you might want to replace it after its next major breakdown. If the clothes dryer is more than eight years old, you might be able to justify buying a new one based on energy savings as well as reduced future repair costs.