Your dryer is one of the most used laundry appliances in your home, but how do you know when it’s time to replace it? While some small repairs are easy and can be done by a do-it-yourselfer, replacing a large appliance such as a broken clothes dryer requires extra care.
Signs like constantly declining energy efficiency or excessive noise coming from the machine may indicate that it’s time to start shopping for a replacement. In this article, we will cover when to repair versus replace your dryer and provide tips to help you make an informed decision.
Read on to learn the following:
- Learning when to repair or look for a replacement for your clothes dryer
- Understanding the common dryer problems that are manageable
- Signs you need to replace your older machines
- More tips for keeping your gas dryer or electric dryer in its best condition
Knowing When to Repair or Replace Your Dryer
While fixing a clothes dryer yourself can save you money in the short term. It’s important to consider whether it’s worth investing in repairs, or if it’s time to replace the unit altogether. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your dryer.
The age of your dryer is an important factor when deciding whether to repair or replace it. According to Consumer Reports, a dryer’s life expectancy is between 10 to 13 years old. If it is way older than that, it may be more cost-effective to replace it rather than invest in expensive repairs.
Cost of Clothes Dryer Repairs
Another factor urgent need to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your dryer is the cost of repairs. If the cost of repairs is more than 50% of the cost of a new dryer, it may be more economical to replace the unit.
Frequency of Dryer Repair or Replacement
If your dryer needs constant repairs, it may be time to consider replacing it. Frequent breakdowns can indicate that the dryer is at the end of its useful life, and continuing to repair it can become costly and frustrating.
An old dryer is generally less energy efficient than newer models. For instance, if you don’t own an Energy Star-certified dryer, chances are it is consuming around 20% more energy than a new machine that does have the certification. Upgrading your washing machine to an energy-efficient dryer can save you more money on your energy bills in the long run.
If your dryer is still under warranty, it’s important to consider whether repairing or replacing it will void the warranty. If your dryer is still under warranty and the repairs needed are covered, it may be more cost-effective to repair it rather than replace it.
Common Dryer Repairs Worth Repairing
If your dryer is experiencing issues, it’s important to determine whether it’s a dryer repair worth undertaking. Here are some common dryer repairs that are often worth fixing.
Broken Drive Belt
If the drum in your dryer is not turning, it may be due to a broken drive belt. Fortunately, this is a relatively minor repair that can be fixed by replacing the belt. A new drive belt will cost only a few dollars and the repair process is relatively simple for most models.
Clogged Vent Hose
Clogged dryer vents can cause your dryer to function poorly and can be dangerous due to the risk of fire. A professional dryer cleaning service can clean your whole dryer vents in a matter of hours, and it’s often more affordable than you might expect.
Heating Element Issues
If your dryer is not producing heat, the issue could be a faulty heating element. This repair can be done by a professional for around $200 or less, making it a cost-effective option for most dryers.
Broken Drum Issues
If your dryer is making a loud noise while running, it may be due to broken drum rollers. This repair can be done by a professional in a few hours and is often worth the cost.
Faulty Start Switch
If your dryer won’t start, the issue may be due to a faulty start switch. Replacement switches are often inexpensive and can be installed relatively easily, making this a repair worth considering.
Warning Signs Your Need To Replace Your Dryer
While some dryer repairs are worth fixing, there are several warning signs that indicate it’s time to consider replacing your dryer. Here are some common warning signs that it’s time for a replacement.
Your Clothes Aren’t Drying Properly
If your clothes aren’t drying properly, it may be a sign that your dryer is no longer functioning correctly. This could be due to a number of factors, including a faulty heating element, a clogged dryer vent, or worn-out drum bearings.
If you’ve ruled out most appliances these issues and your clothes still feel wet or aren’t drying properly, a replacement may be necessary.
Your Clothes Dryer is Leaking
If you notice water leaking from your dryer, it may be time for a replacement. Leaks can pose a safety hazard and can cause damage to your flooring and surrounding area. A professional repair technician can help determine whether the issue is fixable or if it’s time for a replacement.
The Clothes Dryer is Making Strange Noises
Unusual noises from your dryer such as banging, grinding, or squealing may indicate that it’s time for a replacement. These noises can be a sign of worn-out drum bearings, a loose belt, or even a failure in the motor or idler pulley. It’s best to have a professional diagnose the source of the noise and determine if a replacement is necessary.
You Notice Exposed Wiring or a Smoky Odor to Your Clothes Dryer
An exposed wire or a smoky odor emanating from your dryer is a sign of a serious electrical issue. This can pose a significant safety hazard and could lead to a potential fire. If you notice these warning signs, it’s imperative that you turn off your dryer, and check the power, the heating wire, the thermal fuse, and the heat blower wheel for minor problems.
If you think it is not the case, better contact a professional immediately. They can help determine if the issue is fixable or if it’s time for a replacement.
Tips for Keeping Your Clothes Dryer in Its Best Condition
Keeping your dryer well-maintained is essential for both safety and efficiency. Follow these tips to help ensure you get the most out of your dryer.
Regularly Clean the Lint Trap and Screen
Your washer and lint screen should be cleaned prior to each use of the washing machine to prevent lint build-up in the dryer vent. This will also help keep your clothes from overheating and can prolong the life of the machine.
Vacuum Behind and Around Your Dryer
Ensure that you vacuum behind and in damp areas around your dryer regularly. This will prevent dust or other debris from accumulating which can cause a fire hazard.
Check for Proper Ventilation
Make sure that there is adequate ventilation for your dryer by checking that the exhaust tube is properly routed out of your home, preferably outdoors. Additionally, check if there are any obstructions between the washer and dryer that may be blocking airflows such as debris or lint buildup.
Use Cold Water Settings When Possible
Using cold water settings on your various appliances, washing machines, and fabrics whenever possible will reduce strain on both your washer and dryer as well as potentially save energy costs.
Clean the Vent Hose and Ensure it isn’t Bent or Crushed
The vent hose should be cleaned regularly and any bends or kinks in the hose should be straightened out to ensure proper airflow. Additionally, check that all of the screws on both ends of the venting system are tight.
Do I Need to Hire a Professional to Fix My Dryer?
When it comes to dryer repair, it can be difficult to determine whether you need to hire a professional. While some repairs to dryers can be done by an experienced do-it-yourselfer, it’s always best practice to consult with a professional before attempting any work on your appliance.
A technician can assess the issue accurately and advise you on the best course of action for your unique situation. In some cases, the repair may be more cost-effective than replacing spare parts or the entire machine.
If you live in Australia, Quality Appliance Repairs can help. We offer professional repair services for all types of dryers and our technicians are trained to quickly diagnose and fix any problem your dryer may have. Check out our website or give us a call today to learn more about our service and how we can help.