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How to Diagnose Tumble Dryer Drying and Heating Problems

Is your tumble dryer having problems but you can’t figure out the cause? In this handy guide, we will explain just how to identify and resolve common causes of heating and drying problems with your tumble dryer.

What You Will Need:

Multimeter (digital or analogue)

Screwdriver

Step 1 - Switch Off Your Appliance

Safety First! Please make sure that you have switched your appliance off at the mains before starting your repair.

What’s Wrong? - Clothes Are Not Being Dried Properly

If your tumble dryer is heating up normally, yet your clothes are leaving the dryer still damp, it is usually caused by a restriction somewhere in the airflow.

Cause 1: Lint Build Up On The Filter

Every time you dry your clothes, lint and fluff builds up on the tumble dryer filter. Ideally, you should be checking the filter after every use, clearing it as necessary. Depending on your machine, the filter will usually be inside the door rim, or on the front of the dryer behind a panel.

Cause 2: Lint Build Up In The Condenser/Vent (Applies To Condenser Dryers Only)

If you have a condenser dryer, it’s possible for lint to fall down into the condenser, where it gets wet and possibly stuck. Over time, this can build up and cause the air to stop flowing through it.

To check if this is the case, take the condenser assembly out of the dryer and have a look inside for any lint build-up. The best way to get rid of it is to leave it to soak in some water for a few minutes - before flushing the lint out with either a showerhead or a couple of jugs of water.

It's also worth having a look behind the condenser assembly for any more lint or fluff that might have got stuck there as well.

This article gives more information on how to maintain your condenser dryer.

Cause 3: Lint Build Up In The Hose (Applies To Vented Dryers Only)

If you have a vented tumble dryer, it’s possible for lint to build up in the hose. So, just disconnect the hose from the back of the dryer and examine it for any lint or fluff that may have got caught inside.

If the hose is connected to a wall vent, the lint can also build up in the vent itself, so make sure that is clear as well.

The airflow that comes out of the back of the hose should feel like a powerful hair dryer. To make sure this is the case, simply place your hand over the end and check the temperature is warm and the airflow strong and steady.

What’s Wrong? - The Dryer Is Not Producing Any Heat

If you find that your tumble dryer isn’t heating up at all, it may be due to the heating element becoming faulty, or the thermostat cutting out.

Cause 1: Thermostat Has Tripped

In order to check on your dryer’s thermostat, you need to remove the top, side and back panels of the appliance. For the appliance shown in the video, the thermostat is on the back and is a resettable one. You can tell this due to the little red button in the middle.

If you press this button, you should hear a clicking noise. This indicates that the thermostat has tripped, probably caused by overheating. By pressing the button you have reset it, hopefully resolving the problem.

If not, you may need to replace your thermostat.

Cause 2: A Faulty Element

If the thermostat has not tripped, the element may be to blame. Locate the element in your appliance, which in the above video is found on the side and disconnect the plug.

Then, using a multimeter on the low resistance setting, place the probes of the meter onto the terminals inside the plug. For a working element, you will be looking for a reading between 20 and 50 ohms.

If the readings are dramatically different to this range this could indicate the presence of a fault and you should replace the element.

Here is a video showing step-by-step how to do this.

Cause 3: Fault With The Drainage/Reservoir (Applies To Condenser Dryers Only)

Once you've checked that the element doesn't have a fault, if you have a condenser dryer then the problem could possibly lie with the drainage into the reservoir.

As water is extracted from the clothes, it builds up in a reservoir at the bottom of the dryer. On the model shown within the video, the water is then pumped up into a container within the tray, where it should then be taken out and emptied.

However, if the tray isn't emptied out regularly, the water is going to fill to the top and overflow. This water then goes back into the tray and runs down through a pipe into the reservoir. As the reservoir gets fuller, a float switch will activate and turn off the heater to prevent any more water from being collected.

The first thing to do is to make sure that this container is always emptied before you start using your dryer. When the container is empty, you should then ensure the pump is working. A good way to check this is just to remove the container, turn your dryer on and pour a glass of water into the tray. It should then drain down into the reservoir.

If you then put the container back in, the pump should be pumping the water through into the back of the container. Check that the water is coming back in and that will establish whether the pump is working correctly or not.

If your pump’s faulty you’ll need to replace it.

Need To Locate The Spares For Your Tumble Dryer?

If you need to replace the thermostat, element or any other part in your tumble dryer, you can find all the spares you need right here in the tumble dryer section of our site.

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