Easy Fixes for Common Dryer Issues and Maintenance Tips

A dryer is a workhorse in any laundry room, but sometimes it can malfunction, leaving you with damp clothes and a looming laundry pile. Before calling for appliance repair, there are a few common issues you can troubleshoot yourself with a little know-how and some basic tools. Here’s a guide to get your dryer back in top shape:

The Culprit of Clothes That Won’t Dry:

The most frustrating dryer problem is when clothes come out damp or the dryer takes an excessively long time to complete a cycle. The culprit here is often a clogged lint trap.

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Lint buildup restricts airflow, hindering the dryer’s ability to remove moisture from clothes. Cleaning the lint trap after every use is crucial. It’s a simple yet often overlooked step that can prevent bigger problems down the line.

Beyond the Lint Trap: Checking Common Components

If cleaning the lint trap doesn’t solve the issue, there are a few other components you can check. One common culprit is a faulty door switch. This switch ensures the dryer only operates when the door is securely closed. A broken door switch can prevent the dryer from starting altogether. To test the door switch, listen for a clicking sound when you close the door. If there’s no click, the switch might need replacing.

Another component to consider is the thermal fuse. This safety feature cuts power to the dryer if it overheats, preventing fire hazards. A blown thermal fuse can prevent the dryer from heating properly, resulting in damp clothes. You can usually identify the thermal fuse by its rectangular shape located near the dryer’s exhaust vent. Appliance repair stores typically sell replacement thermal fuses.

Testing with a Multimeter (Optional):

While not everyone has a multimeter, this handy tool can help diagnose electrical issues in appliances. If you’re comfortable using one, you can test the continuity of the door switch and start switch. With the dryer unplugged, a multimeter set to continuity should beep when the probes touch opposite ends of a functioning switch.

Remember Safety First:

Appliance repair should always be undertaken with safety in mind. Always unplug the dryer before attempting any troubleshooting or replacements. If you’re unsure about any step, or if the problem seems more complex, consulting a qualified appliance repair professional is recommended.

Preventative Maintenance for a Long-Lasting Dryer:

Taking proper care of your dryer goes a long way in preventing future problems. Here are some additional maintenance tips:

  • Empty the lint trap after every use. This not only improves drying efficiency but also reduces the risk of fire.
  • Clean the exhaust vent hose regularly. Lint can accumulate in the exhaust vent hose, restricting airflow. Most dryer hoses can be easily detached for cleaning with a vacuum cleaner. Ideally, have a professional clean the entire exhaust vent system annually.
  • Don’t overload the dryer. Overloading reduces airflow and can lead to longer drying times and increased wear on the dryer.
  • Wipe down the dryer drum occasionally. A damp cloth can remove any built-up residue or fabric softener sheets that can impact drying performance.
  • Vacuum the dryer vent outlet on the outside of your house. This ensures proper airflow and prevents lint buildup.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your dryer running smoothly and efficiently for years to come. Remember, a little preventative maintenance can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. If you encounter any problems beyond your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to seek help from a qualified appliance repair professional.


Always unplug the dryer before attempting any troubleshooting or replacements.

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