View Full Version : Dryer--Repair it or replace it??
08-09-2005, 06:33 AM
Yesterday our 9-year-old clothes dryer suddenly stopped working. It sounds normal: clothes are spinning, air is blowing, but the air is cold, so nothing's getting dry. Usually, the whole top of the dryer is warm when the thing's running and now it's staying cold, so I'm thinking the heating element is broken.
I'm worried that if I call a repairperson, someone's going to come out, futz around, bill me for a service call, then just tell me I need to buy a new dryer. So...wasted $100 for the repairperson (or worse) plus $400 or whatever to buy a new dryer.
Anyone had this happen with a dryer before? Is it fixable? I know when the heating elements go on certain types of smaller appliances, you just have to toss them, but I wasn't sure about dryers. I'd rather not replace the dryer since it's only 9 and I've read that dryers should last about 14 years. It's a GE Whirlpool and until yesterday gave us no grief.
I'd be most grateful for any advice/opinions.
08-09-2005, 07:10 AM
Heating elements in dryers can be replaced yourself, but it's a pain in the butt. When ours went out, we bought the part and our neighbor replaced it - but it took a few hours.
If you can find someone to install the heating element rather than calling a serviceman out, that will save you some money. But either way, it will be cheaper for you to have the heating element replaced rather than buy a new dryer.
08-09-2005, 07:54 AM
Thanks, Kimberland! I knew I'd get good advice here. I have a handy FIL, so maybe I'll see if he's up to tackling this. He lives for this kind of thing (wish I did!). If not, I will call in the pros. Doesn't sound like something me and DH wanna mess with.
08-09-2005, 07:59 AM
DH and I have been discussing this recently as well. We believe that the heating element is going bad in our dryer, so we're going back and forth about what to do. The only difference between our situations is that our dryer is 15 years old and came with our house when we bought it so...
Growing up, my dad changed the heating element on my parents' dryer several times. My dad is not handy but nothing ever caught fire and dryer worked well afterward. My parents finally decided to chuck the Maytag after 28 years of ownership and 3 new heating elements.
08-09-2005, 08:41 AM
Do you have a Sear's outlet near you? If I were in your shoes, I'd purchase a new dryer but go to a Sear's outlet to do it. They sell appliances that have scrathes or small dents. Oftentimes, the scrathes or on the side where you won't even see it once the appliance is in place, but you still get a hefty discount. You can get appliances for half their normal cost.
08-09-2005, 10:31 AM
Have you checked the vent (the area in the back of the dryer with the big plastic tube that connects it to the outside - not exactly sure what it's called)? Two years ago our dryer did the same thing and instead of calling someone to fix it -- DH bought it used before we were married and we had no idea how old it was -- we just bought a new one. When the delivery guy came to install the new one and take the old one away, he told me he knew why our old one didn't work - that the airway vent was blocked with accumulated lint. He used our leaf blower to blow out all the lint (lint was flying all over our rooftop!) b/c he said we could end up having the same issue with the new dryer.
08-09-2005, 12:29 PM
Myshel - Wow, 28 years! (Note to self: buy Maytag in the future.) The weird thing about ours is it was working fine one day then -bam- no heat the next. It wasn't gradual. So maybe it isn't the heating element. Hm.
Villanelle - Thanks for the tip. I didn't know Sears had Outlet stores. I checked online and the closest one is 200 miles away. Might consider making the trip, tho, when/if the time comes. I'm the thrift-store-shopping type who can't stand to pay full price for anything.
Gretch - I did a quick check of the vent outside and it seems OK, but I'm sure there could be lint built up further inside the duct. Our house is the dust magnet of the South, and I'm sure lint likes to hang around us just as much. :o One question: did the guy use the leaf blower from inside the house or outside? I might have to try that trick before going any further.
OK, so the plan of action is 1) clean out the duct; if that doesn't work, 2) buy a new heating element and get DH/FIL (or repairman if they are afraid) to change, and 3) if all else fails, head to the Sears Outlet in Georgia for a new but slightly dinged Maytag! Thanks for all your thoughts. You ladies are the best!
i don't think it would cost you $100 for a repairman to come out and give you an estimate. our fridge broke, and a repairman came out for $40, and he applied it to the cost of the repair once we decided to use him. also, that repair company offered a 1 year warranty on their service. i thought it was worth it rather than spending a whole lotta dough to get a new fridge.
08-09-2005, 01:17 PM
Contact GE and see if someone in their tech/repair dept can help you. Sometimes they will have info on their website too.
We had the heating element go out in the dryer @ one of our rental homes. I know it's a different situation w/ a rental because we don't really know what the tenants are up to, but I went to do the initial inspection. Same as you -- it would tumble & go for a full cycle w/out heat. I reset the dryer by unplugging it and switching the breaker. It suddenly worked again! This probably won't fix most HE issues, but we got lucky, I guess, for the time being. It was a pretty old dryer and then a couple of months later it did the same thing. And we reset it and it worked again. WE decided to just buy another one b/c it wasn't worth the pain.
I think it's worth the try to reset it, though! Just in case, as with the other suggestions.
ALso contact several repair companies and get a general estimate for a HE repair. Then browse & see what a new one would cost and make the decision from there. Good luck!
08-11-2005, 08:39 PM
He blew from the inside, pushing everything outside. It looked like it had snowed.
08-12-2005, 10:38 AM
Gretch - Thanks! That's what I figured, but I thought it never hurts to ask even stupid questions.
Update if anyone's curious--we tried cleaning out the vent some from the outside and unplugging/resetting the dryer. Neither seemed to have any effect. Then we got sidetracked...
Chalk it up to the when-it-rains-it-pours department, but the day after the dryer died, the bathroom sink started leaking where the porcelain meets the metal. Then that night, DH slipped in the shower and got hurt. His fall broke off the hot water and diverter knobs and bent the faucet! Thank goodness he has good bones. We thought his elbow was fractured and the ER doc thought one of his vertebrae might've been cracked :eek: , but after x-rays it turned out everything was intact. Just nasty contusions.
So there has been much to do. We now have a new faucet in the sink and are halfway into installing a new faucet set-up in the tub. We found a heating element online for the dryer. The part costs $60 and the installation instructions looked scary. We've decided to spend $300 on a simple new dryer rather than ~$150 to pay someone to repair this one, which has always taken way too long to dry things anyway (I'm talking 3 hours for a full load with jeans and/or towels, and I only do laundry in big batches!). FIL will take the old one to his shop and mess around with it this winter when he gets bored. If he can get it working again, he will be able to use it in one of his rental houses, so at least it won't be wasted. BTW, we plan on blowing out the ducts with a leaf blower before installing the new dryer just to start out fresh, so thanks again for the tip, Gretch.
I appreciate all the wonderful advice!
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