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My tumble dryer is one of the oldest appliances, and while I do need to replace it with a more energy efficient model, I simply cannot afford it at the moment. After doing a bit of research I came to the conclusion that - as with many other applicances - you can solve most dryer troubles yourself. You may be able to save yourself some money by taking a look inside and checking a few small items before calling out a technician.

 

 

Most repairs take about an hour, but set aside extra time to locate replacement parts. To find parts, check the yellow pages or search online for “appliance parts.” Most parts are relatively inexpensive. Aside from basic tools like a socket set and screwdrivers, you may need a continuity tester (image right) or multimeter to diagnose the problem.

If you plan to tackle your own basic electrical repairs a tester is a "Must Have" and you can purchase one at your local Builders Warehouse.

IMPORTANT

Before you start any disassembly, check for the most obvious problem - is the dryer getting power - is the plug wired correctly - has the breaker switch tripped. We sometimes tend to overlook the most obvious causes!

Always unplug appliances before doing any type of cleaning or repairs.

 

Dryer disassembly

Before tacking the dryer apart, I removed the top section to get a closer look inside. Tumble dryers can get pretty filthy inside with layer upon layer of accumulated lint and fluff. Over time this build-up can interfere and cause problems, especially in an older model.

Remove as much lint as possible. You never know, this might be causing the problem. Although in my case, I eventually sourced a faulty thermostat.

Most dryer repairs require some disassembly of the outer cabinet so you can get at the parts inside. If you are not sure how to disassemble your particular model, and if it didn't come with an instruction manual, do a Google search to find schematics, or get in touch with the supplier.

Door switch

With continuous opening and closing or slamming the door can lead to a faulty door switch. If the dryer door doesn't close properly the dryer will not turn on.


Test the switch for continuity. The instruction manual that came with the continuity tester will explain how to use the tester correctly to test for continuity - or that the switch allows the flow of electricity. If the switch is working, read on...

Click here for instructions on how to perform a Continuity Test.

 

Remove the rear service panel at the back of the tumble dryer to gain access to the thermal fuse mounted on the blower housing and test.

If you don’t get a continuity reading from the thermal fuse, do NOT simply replace it.

A blown thermal fuse is a warning that you have other serious problems—either a malfunctioning thermostat or a clogged vent.

Fix those before replacing the fuse.

Drum does not turn

If the drum belt is snapped or very loose you can replace. Most dryers allow easy access for replacing a worn or snapped belt and you need to remove the old belt and wrap the new belt around it (ribs facing the drum).

NOTE: To remove and replace the drum belt you will need to adjust the Tensioner Pulley. This pulley has a spring that pulls it against the belt to tension the belt.
Pull the Tensioner Pulley hard to the end of its travel against its spring to allow you to wrap the belt around the tensioner pulley. Release the tensioner so the spring pulls it against the belt. Rotate the drum by hand to ensure the belt is aligned and does not pull off the pulleys.

Replacing faulty tumble dryer motor

 

Testing tumble dryer heating element

When a tumble dryer fails to heat up this indicates a faulty heating element or thermostat. Perform a continuity test to check your tumble dryer heating element. If there is no continuity, the heating element will need to be replaced.

 

Here's how to replace a tumble dryer heating element (depending on your model)