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Clothes Dryer Troubleshooting Quick Fixes


Clothes dryers are modern convenience found in most homes or apartment buildings. Government statistics indicate that upwards of 92% of households have a dryer on the premises, with most apartment complexes and unequipped houses having access to communal dryer facilities, often on-site. Dryers are considered to be reliable and dependable, with failure rates of less than .1% according to statistics provided by the major manufacturers, GE, and Maytag. However, as a single dryer may be used hundreds or even thousands of times per year, it is inevitable that they will break down. Fortunately, the most common problems are quickly and easily diagnosed and repaired without the assistance of a technician with these clothes dryer troubleshooting tips.

Troubleshooting: Exhaust Pipe Clog

The most common cause of clothes dryer failure is a clog in the exhaust pipe. As it is impossible for the lint filter to collect all of the lint exiting the system, clogs in the exhaust pipe are inevitable if you do not routinely clean it. These clogs result in the system being unable to vent the moist, hot air coming from the wet clothes which often causes safety devices to trigger within the machine and shut it down until proper airflow can be obtained. This can also happen if the lint filter itself has become filled, so it is important to empty the lint filter after each use if possible.

Troubleshooting: Belts and Heating Elements

In general, the removal of lint is enough to restart the clothes dryer. However, there may still be problems. Most problems related to a lack of heat or improper tumbling can be fixed by changing the settings. If a settings change does not solve the problem, it may be necessary to examine the fuses, belt and heating element present inside the device. Horizontal dryers invariably wear out their tumbling belt, especially if used frequently to run wet, heavy loads such as bed sheets and towels. The tumbling belt is easily replaced. The heating element is more complicated to repair, although some models have a heating element, which may be unplugged and easily removed.

Time to Call a Repairman

Repairs extending beyond the belt and heating element must generally be conducted by a licensed repair company or by the manufacturer¬†in order to maintain the machine’s warranty. It is important always to unplug a dryer before attempting to conduct repairs in order to prevent electrical shock. If a dryer cannot be easily unplugged, the circuit breaker should be toggled to prevent power from being delivered to the room where the dryer is installed.


Expert Opinion

Quote:¬†“Michigan laws requires that repairmen working on appliances such as a clothes dryer must return to the customer all parts removed from the appliance.”

Source: Mike Cox, Attorney General, Michigan

Quote: “In May 2008, median hourly wages of home appliance repair technicians in the largest employing industries were $15.05 in electronics and appliance stores and $17.58 in personal and household goods repair and maintenance.”

Source: US Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics



“Dryer Repair Help.” Repair 2000. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2010. <>.

“General Electric.” General Electric. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2010.

“Maytag.” Maytag. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2010.

“The Effect of Income on Appliances in U.S. Households .” US Energy Information Administration. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2010.

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