When you live in the UK, getting your laundry dry can be a bit of an ordeal. You never know what the weather is going to be like so you can’t rely on using the washing line; putting clothes on radiators leads to the build up of damp and that means having the heating on constantly. This won’t just annoy family members but runs the risk of high energy bills, while using a clothes horse takes forever to get clothes dry and is somewhat of an eyesore.
If that’s not enough to put you off drying clothes “the natural way”, the last thing you want is people coming around and seeing your delicates on display in the front room.
Tumble dryers have been a great solution to these typical British problems for many years but what happens when your dryer stops spinning? We’ve put together a simple guide to help you address your dryer problems so you can sort them quickly before your next load.
Identifying the problem
If you suspect your tumble dryer is broken there are a few things you need to do to identify the issue.
- Switch your tumble dryer on as normal.
- Check to see if the lights are working and whether your machine is making any noise.
- Providing there’s no movement, try and spin the drum manually with your hand. Observe how difficult or easy this is to move.
If the dryer is switched on as normal and the lights come on but you can’t hear any sound, the issue probably lies with your motor or start capacitor. Spin the drum manually and close the dryer door – if it carries on spinning, your start capacitor has broken. If it still doesn’t spin it’s likely you will need a new motor.
If the dryer is using electricity as normal and making a noise, it could be that the drive belt has come off. You can check this by again manually spinning the drum. If this is easier than normal it is likely the belt has broken.
Most dryer issues can be attributed to the belt, motor or start capacitor, and thankfully, these are easily identifiable problems. When you tried to move your drum manually, if it was harder to shift your issue probably lies with your drum. Your drum can seize with age or because parts around it have worn.
What to do if the motor or start capacitor is faulty
If either your motor or start capacitor has broken, it will need replacing. You can find the parts you need pretty easily and it is possible to fix this yourself at home. However, if you are unsure about any of the following steps please seek the help of a professional.
How to replace your start capacitor
- Unplug your tumble dryer and make sure this is turned off.
- Turn your machine around and unscrew the smaller section of your dryer. Take out this panel and put to one side.
- ou should see a wheel shape (that’s your motor) sat on top of a metal bracket. Remove the nut from the bracket and this should release a silver roller pin shaped object. This is your start capacitor.
- Disconnect the electric wires from your old capacitor and attach your new one to the wires.
- You should have two electrical connectors – attach one to each pair of terminals on the capacitor.
- Put this back in place and re-screw the nut into the bracket. Then, put the panel back on your tumble dryer. It should now work again.
How to fix your motor
- As described above, turn off the tumble dryer, remove the back panel and unscrew your start capacitor. These steps are the same for fixing the motor because you will need to remove these to get to your motor.
- Once you’ve done that release the bearings holding the motor in place and remove the motor.
- It should be a case of putting the new motor in the bracket, reattaching it to the clamps and putting your dryer back together.
What to do if the drive belt is broke
If the dryer belt is broken this will need replacing. Unfortunately getting to the belt can be somewhat difficult and you might need to remove the front, back and side panels of your tumble dryer. These should just be attached by a few screws however and should be easy enough to remove. Make sure the dryer is switched off before opening the machine.
The dryer belt will normally be looped around the drum of the dryer and around a puller on the motor. Remove the entire drum and wrap the new belt around it. This is also a good opportunity to remove any dust from your machine, so it might be worth getting a brush and just cleaning around the inside of the dryer.
Once you’ve reattached the belt you can start putting your dryer back together.
A seized tumble dryer drum
A broken drum is far more difficult to fix. You will pretty much have to unattach everything on your tumble dryer, including the heater and fan. It might be a case that your bearings are broken on the shaft, or it could be that you need a new wheel.
If it’s your bearings the drum should move a lot more freely than usual and will often make a rattling noise. However, if your drum wheel is the issue it will be difficult to move. If you’re ever unsure about where the problem lies you would be better seeking advice from a professional. Replacing motors and belts is quite easy but once you start looking at the drum things can get more complicated. It’s not impossible to do yourself but as you have to unattach the various components and cables it might be better left to the experts.