Oct 20, 2011

Home repairs #2: The Dryer

Another project I tackled between the stove installation/inspection was the faulty dryer.

About two weeks ago, the dryer just stopped heating at all.  I started to do some research into the probable causes.  Several fixit sites pointed to either a faulty heating element, fuse, or temperature sensor.  Considering replacing all three of these would be under $100, I figured it was worth a shot.

I started by pulling my dryer apart, the correct way: I found the owner's manual online that showed me how to replace said parts.  After I opened it up, I discovered another problem: the bottom was covered in a 1/2" thick layer of lint.  The lint trap harness was not properly sealed to the dryer and was letting lint through.  This apparently is another common problem with old dryers.  I proceeded to clean it up the best I could, and removed the Heating element.  Thankfully, all the parts that were potentially going to be replaced, were attached to the back of the heating element.  I grabbed by trusty Multi-Meter and tested almost each part ( more on that in a minute).

When I tested the full circuit, it gave me a reading of infinite resistance, which means the circuit was open somewhere.  The main heating element itself passed, so I moved onto the thermometer...which fell apart as I attempted to take it off.

"No problem!" I thought.  "Super simple fix!  I'm done!"  I went to my old friend, Internet, and ordered the $5 part and paid $7 shipping....because I was impatient.  Two days later, the part arrived, and I installed the new thermometer and believed I was on my way...

...Home repair fact #34: If there is the possibility of more than one broken part, and you don't test all of them, you'll have more than one broken part.

Sure enough, replacing only the thermometer didn't fix my dryer.  I did what I should have done in the first place, and tested all the parts.  I discovered the Safety fuse was blown.  Apparently, this is very common in old dryers, as the lint buildup causes the temperature to rise above the safety limit.   The fuse did what it was supposed to and blew to open the circuit to stop the drying from catching fire.

I went back to the internet, and ordered another $5 part and spent $7 on shipping....because again, I was impatient.  I'm sure I could have found the parts locally, or found a better deal once I knew which parts to replace, but I needed to get my dryer back up and running quickly...and not many places are open at 9pm on a Wednesday.

The second part arrived on Saturday, and I installed the fuse.  I fired up the dryer, and it started drying clothes!

In retrospect, I think the dryer had been slowly dying since we bought the house.  Originally, we thought it was because of the OVER 70 FOOT LONG exhaust with EIGHT 90 degree turns.  Turns out (ha!) that it was more than that.  My test load of a Comforter and a few sweatshirts dried in ONE cycle, instead of the normal 2.5...

I win!


pants said...

like the new look!

pants said...

now that i've read the whole entry--nice job! :)

Mark said...