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Do I need a new clothes dryer?
Old 10-25-2011, 10:57 AM   #1
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Do I need a new clothes dryer?

Hello All!

Please give me your advice. I have a 12-year old gas clothes dryer. Just this past weekend, it stopped generating hot air. The drum still turns but the air is completely cool thus the towels and sheets did not dry.

I always remove lint from the mesh lint trap after each load of laundry that I dry but is there any other maintenance task that I should have been doing to prevent this problem? Should I attempt to repair it myself? Call a repairman? Or buy a new dryer to replace this one?

Thank you, everyone, for your advice.

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Old 10-25-2011, 11:07 AM   #2
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Hi Retire2014!

You probably checked, but I'll ask anyway....Is the pilot's light on? How about the settings? Setting on Heat?

Since the drum still runs, hopefully the problem is as simple as that.

I remember when I was younger, my mom had a gas dryer and there were times the problem was just a pilot's light not lit.

Unrelated to your situation, but I just had a service call yesterday for my friend's electric
drying. The dryer would continually trip the circuit breaker. The problem (a simple one) was that some jewelry (braclet) get caught by the heating element and would cause the dryer to overheat. Luckily, no charge since the dryer was still under warranty.

Good luck,
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:19 AM   #3
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I'd recommend that you research and post here:

Gas and Electric Dryer Repair Problems and Solutions | Fixitnow.com Samurai Appliance Repair Man
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:21 AM   #4
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Easysurfer---thanks for your reply. There is no pilot light that I can find. The setting is on "High Heat"

Home Depot has a sale on a gas dryer right now with free installation and haul away so I will look into a couple more things and then most likely I will buy a replacement. The old one served me well for 12+ years anyway.

Have a great day!
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:28 AM   #5
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You could have a problem I had with an old one.... the auto ignition stopped working so there was no 'fire'....

It cost me $150 because I did not know what it was and had a guy out to replace... if you do it yourslef, it probably is cheaper...
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:28 AM   #6
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The good thing about a new one now is it's probably a lot more energy efficient than a 12+ year old one. Also, that's one less repair you'd have to worry about when you FIRE in 2014

I remember, my mom's dryer was in the basement and on chilly days when there was a draft, sometimes the pilot's light would blow out.

I'm glad you said Home Depot and not Loews as my experience with Loews is they seem to make excuses to not install appliances when they delivery them. Have had no trouble with Home Depot.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post

My friend had a situation where her dryer wouldn't dry. The clothes felt warm but not dry. Took off the back, cleaned out all the lint there. Cleaned out the lint trap. But still no go.

Then said, what the heck, change the vent hose..and that was the problem (inexpensive fix).

I'm thinking, if the clothes are warm but wet, that might be the issue. But if clothes not warming up at all, then might be another issue.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:39 AM   #8
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Yes. Pop for a new dryer (you'll help the economy too ).
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:40 AM   #9
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Yes. Pop for a new dryer (you'll help the economy too ).
+1

12 years is a reasonable lifespan for a dryer. Time for a new one!
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:05 PM   #10
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If there is no flame when it is supposed to be drying, it is probably the ignitor. Simple fix and less costly than a whole new dryer, assuming some helpful DIYer is willing to pull out the old one and pop in a new one. Could also be the thermostat but is a lot less likely.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:17 PM   #11
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This exact thing happened on my electric dryer. No heat but otherwise fully operational dryer. It was a thermostat and fuse combo that I had to replace. $8 off ebay and probably 2 hours total researching the problem, taking apart back of dryer, testing the circuits with voltmeter, finding replacement parts on ebay, then installing, testing, and and moving dryer back in place (I am an engineer though ). Extremely easy replacement IMHO, and saved me $250-400 on a new dryer. So it may be worth your while to look for some how to guides to see if you can fix it if you are somewhat mechanically inclined. Might save you a few hundred bucks, and not cost you much more time vs. researching a new dryer and going out to buy one.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:20 PM   #12
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The old one served me well for 12+ years anyway.
My dryer is ~ 25 years old, still going strong. I'll probably get another 15 years out of it. It's electric, I have replaced the heating element once, another time the belt and 'wear plates' that serve as bearings. Easy fix, and maybe $20-$30 in parts each time.

I don't think there is anything about the new dryers that make them any more efficient than the old. New washers that spin the clothes drier to begin with probably save a lot of drying time though.

In terms of saving energy/environment - I'd bet that preserving the old unit is better than the environmental cost of manufacturing a replacement.

-ERD50
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:25 PM   #13
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My dryer is ~ 25 years old, still going strong. I'll probably get another 15 years out of it. It's electric, I have replaced the heating element once, another time the belt and 'wear plates' that serve as bearings. Easy fix, and maybe $20-$30 in parts each time.

I don't think there is anything about the new dryers that make them any more efficient than the old. New washers that spin the clothes drier to begin with probably save a lot of drying time though.

In terms of saving energy/environment - I'd bet that preserving the old unit is better than the environmental cost of manufacturing a replacement.

-ERD50
+1.

Last dryer (and washer) were Maytags and the only reason we did not keep them is that we left them at the old house was because we wanted to have "new" (along with a newly built home) and the young folks who bought our previous home appreciated our "donation" to them.

Current washer/dryer (KitchenAid) still going strong with close to 18 years of use.

Use it up - wear it out (yeah, I'm frugal - no, I'm actually cheap )...
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:32 PM   #14
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Dear All,

I tried cleaning the lint trap, also cleaning the aluminum hose looking thing, still no heat at all. I could not find a pilot light either.

I am not mechanically inclined at all. Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and advice. I found a GE dryer on sale at Home Depot for $474 with free delivery and haul away of old one so I will go for that. Thank you, All! Let's hope the washer will not die any time soon. Right now, it's still going strong.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:44 PM   #15
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12 years is a reasonable lifespan for a dryer. Time for a new one!
I third that suggestion, unless of course funds are really tight. I've fixed an electric dryer a couple of times just by taking the back off and looking/pushing/tugging, trying to get some idea of what might be going wrong. Once it was sand piled up in the hoses connecting the blower (we live near a beach), and once the drum was stuck for no apparent reason, so I sprayed on some WD-40, and it started right up again.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
My dryer is ~ 25 years old, still going strong. I'll probably get another 15 years out of it. It's electric, I have replaced the heating element once, another time the belt and 'wear plates' that serve as bearings. Easy fix, and maybe $20-$30 in parts each time.

I don't think there is anything about the new dryers that make them any more efficient than the old. New washers that spin the clothes drier to begin with probably save a lot of drying time though.

In terms of saving energy/environment - I'd bet that preserving the old unit is better than the environmental cost of manufacturing a replacement.

-ERD50

Heck, I HATE the new front load washer we got... the thing spins the clothes to much even on low where the shirts wrinkle.... and my wife complains to me about all the ironing she has to do.. (BTW, she used high on the spin cycle)...

This has created more than a few arguments in our house as I did not want to spring for a 'modern' washer since the old fashion ones washed just fine and did not wrinkle the clothes.... so when wife complains she gets an earful of 'it's your fault for not listening to me'.... and then it starts....
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:45 PM   #17
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IIRC new dryers are NOT significantly more energy efficient, and don't even have energy star ratings. I'd check this out but I'm posting from my iPod touch.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:13 PM   #18
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Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and advice. I found a GE dryer on sale at Home Depot for $474 with free delivery and haul away of old one so I will go for that.
C'mon! You want to throw away this dryer without opening it up and getting it checked out at all? A wire might have come loose--re-hooking it back up might put it back to work for another decade. It's probably a $100 repair ($75 service call, $30 part). If not, at least you'll know the problem for the price of one service call.

This dryer has a lot of embodied energy in it--the fuel used to refine the iron ore, turn it into steel, form it into all the component parts and ultimately make a dryer. Some of that energy can be saved if it is recycled, but nothing is better for the environment (and your wallet) than keeping it operating for another 10 years. This is WAY better bang-for-the-buck in the green awareness department than that Chevy Volt you are thinking of buying! What's wrong with the car you have now--you're scrapping it because it has a flat tire? (that's a joke)
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:46 PM   #19
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Thermocouples have a limited life span on gas appliances, usually about 10 years, and a bad one could explain the problem you're having. I had to replace the one on my gas water heater recently. It was easy to do, cost about $12 for a new one at the big box store.
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:12 PM   #20
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C'mon! You want to throw away this dryer without opening it up and getting it checked out at all? A wire might have come loose--re-hooking it back up might put it back to work for another decade. It's probably a $100 repair ($75 service call, $30 part). If not, at least you'll know the problem for the price of one service call.
....
However, on the flipside, if it's more than just a $30 part and a new dryer is needed, that $75 service call is a pretty good percentage of a new dryer.

Better to fix or get new? It depends, in part I think on how familiar one is with the item in question.

I've known many folks who, when their computer acts funny, sluggish, virus?, they want to go out and get a new one instead of having to hassle with cleaning the computer. Does that make sense -- Yes to some. To others, why not roll up your sleeves, dive in and troubleshoot?

Another comparison is old clothes. If you have a torn pocket or sleeve, do you take the effort and get a needle and thread and do a repair? A small cost, but can be a hassle when it's so much easier to just buy new.
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