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7 Ways To Tell if Your Dryer Is Broken

Ways To Tell If Your Dryer Is Broken

Most people don’t think about their dryer until they get damp clothes after drying sessions.

People typically give this appliance a second thought only once something goes wrong. However, catching maintenance problems early can help save you from plenty of headaches in the future.


If your dryer isn’t working as it should, you’re right where you need to be. This article will examine how you can tell whether something is wrong with your dryer.

The common signs that your dryer is broken include:

  • Insufficient Heat
  • Burning Smell
  • Drum Not Turning
  • Unusual Sounds
  • Overheating
  • Dryer Not Starting
  • Sporadic Stopping

So, here’s what you need to look out for when you think your dryer is faulty.

7 Ways To Know When Your Dryer Is Broken

Ways To Know When Your Dryer Is Broken

Both electric and gas dryers have a lot of the same problems. If you experience any of the issues below, contact a technician to help you sort out the problem.

1. Insufficient Heat

Insufficient Heat - Fuse Issue

If your dryer doesn’t produce enough heat, it won’t be able to dry your clothes and other garments properly.

For instance, if you set the heat on high and still find your clothes and garments cold and damp when you remove them from the dryer, it might be because of a blown fuse or an issue with the unit’s heating elements.

The issue might be with the gas supply valve if you use a gas dryer. If the valve is partially closed, the dryer won’t get enough gas to produce sufficient heat for drying.

If you’re using an electric one, check the unit’s fuse. The drums in many electric units can still work even with a blown fuse.

You may be able to solve the issue by resetting the circuit breakers.

2. Burning Smell

Broken Dryer Hose

Another common sign that something is wrong with your dryer is when it produces a burning smell. You can’t afford to overlook this if safety is a priority.

An overused lint basket can sometimes be what’s causing the smell.

Another thing that could lead to a burning smell is when the dryer hose breaks or jams. This will cause the smell because hot air cannot escape the unit.

If you can’t identify and rectify what’s causing the burning smell, turn the machine off and get in touch with a professional immediately.

While it may not necessarily mean much, a burning smell could also mean a fire hazard.

3. Drum Not Turning

Drum Not Turning

Does the dryer sound quiet when it’s on? If your dryer seems too quiet when on and the drum is not turning, that is a clear sign that the unit isn’t working as it should.

Usually, what causes the drum not to turn is when there’s a problem with the belt. It is not uncommon for the unit’s belt to deteriorate over time, and this wear and tear eventually leads to a stationary drum.

You can solve this issue by replacing the faulty belt with a new one.

The belt plays a vital part in drying clothes, and if you can’t replace it by yourself, seek the help of professionals with the knowledge, equipment, and experience to handle such problems.

4. Unusual Sounds

Unusual Sounds - Worn Off Belt

Any time you hear grinding, squealing, popping, or banging noises and sounds is a sign that your dryer might be broken.

Popping and banging are usually because of a worn-out or faulty belt. A worn-out belt can cause the dryer’s drum to spin erratically and create the sounds and noises you’re hearing.

However, most of the time, the issue is with the unit’s motor bearings. Ignoring these noises can sometimes lead to more severe problems with the unit’s motor elements, which can ruin the machine completely.

When you hear grinding and squealing sounds, that’s because of damaged motor bearings. You’ll need the help of a technician when repairing motor issues.

The process involves taking apart the dryer to access the faulty bearings.

5. Overheating

Overheating - Blocked Ventilation

A dryer needs heat to completely dry your wet clothes, sheets, towels, and other garments. However, there’s a time when it can produce excess heat, typically caused by a blockage in the unit’s ventilation system.

When the dryer overheats, it can start to stop in the middle of drying cycles, or your clothes will start to “smell hot.”

When the dryer overheats, clear the lint traps and ensure enough air can pass easily through the vent.

If the dryer continues overheating, then there’s probably a bigger electrical problem that may need the attention of a professional.

6. Dryer Not Starting

Damaged Door Sensor

Arguably the clearest sign is when the dryer doesn’t start at all. Say it worked fine one evening, and a few days later, it refuses to start completely, no matter how hard you try.

There are many different reasons for your dryer not going on, and one of them could be that you haven’t securely plugged it in.

You can also restart the circuit and check whether it’ll go once you push “start.”

A damaged door sensor can also cause the dryer not to start. For safety purposes, all dryer units have door sensors. When they’re not working, the dryer won’t start because it’ll think the door is open, even if it’s closed tight.

This is a fixable issue, but you’ll need to let a technician look at it to determine whether it needs some rewiring or replacing.

7. Sporadic Stopping

Reset The Circuit Breaker

The two main reasons your dryer stops in the middle of drying cycles are that it either has an overheating problem, as highlighted above or an electrical issue.

If it’s an overheating issue, clear out any dust and lint to unclog the ventilation system so that air can pass through freely. Thoroughly clean all the unit’s lint traps and clear all the unit’s air passages.

If you do this and the dryer stops sporadically, you probably have an electrical problem. Reset the circuit breaker and then ensure to plug in the unit properly.

If the problem continues, you’ll need to seek the help of a professional.


Get in touch with a professional if you smell, hear, or notice anything out of the ordinary with your dryer. In most cases, you’ll find the problem is fixable.

However, there are times when it might be better to get a new dryer rather than fix what you’ve got.

Hopefully, you know how to tell when your dryer is broken and what you’ll need to do to get it working again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should You Check When Your Dryer Stops Working?

Unplug the unit and check its thermal fuse. If there’s no continuity in its multimeter, replace the fuse. A clogged exhaust vent can cause the fuse to blow, so make sure the vent is clean and clear.

If your dryer has a dial timer, the non-operational motor could be because of broken push-to-start switches.

What’s a Dryer’s Average Lifespan?

A dryer should last about 10-14 years, depending on how well you take care of it. If you want to extend your unit’s lifespan, clear out its lint trap every time you’re done using it, and clean the outer vent.

If you don’t maintain the unit properly, then it’ll be shocking if it even lasts 7 years.

What Do Broken Dryers Sound Like?

If an orchestra of weird sounds comes from the dryer, there’s probably an issue with the unit’s drive motor. You will hear a squealing sound when the dryer’s motor is faulty.

On the other hand, if you hear a rattling sound, its motor pulley is loose.

Can You Fix a Dryer by Yourself?

Do you always need the help of an expert when it comes to fixing a dryer? No. There are certain issues you can solve by yourself, especially if you have the confidence or experience how to do it by yourself.

However, as much as this is an option, you need to ensure you’re not voiding your warranty.

Will the Dryer Start if It Has a Broken Belt?

Your dryer won’t turn on if its belt is broken. Every dryer has one. It’s slender and long and wraps around the unit’s drum. Without it, the dryer can’t work.

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