My 25-year-old Hotpoint dryer is getting flaky. I have to run it two or
three times to dry a load of wet clothes. I cleaned out the vent pipe
and got quite a lot of lint out, but it still doesn't dry very well.
I'm guessing either the heating element is partially dead or the
thermostat is bad or both. I haven't opened up the machine to test the
parts yet. A new heating element seems to cost about $100.
I'm wondering if modern dryers are better, more efficient, and more
reliable these days than they were in the late '80s/early '90s. Do you
think it's worth sinking $100 into such an old appliance, or would it
be better to cut my losses and put the money toward a new one?
If you can DIY it is probably worth the fix. If you have to call a
service guy, it will be $200+ and after all those years, I'd replace.
It is time for the belt to go, or the motor, or controls. New models
are marginally better. They are just a hot spinning tube with a little fan.
Many of the newer machines have fancy and expensive electronic controls
but the basics are all pretty much the same.
No harm in looking inside but a 25 year old drier is probably not worth
If you get a new one, the no-frills variety are not terribly expensive.
The old standard Sears Kenmore is $300 - $400
I think I can DIY it. I've fixed it before - I replaced the belt about
10 years ago, and it wasn't too hard. And the parts may be less than I
thought. I see on Ebay that a used heater goes for about $45 and the
individual heating coils are only about $15 each. The thermostats are
less than $10. So it's matter of me opening up the machine, testing the
parts with my multimeter, closing up the machine, ordering the parts,
opening up the machine again when they arrive and doing the fix. My
time and labor is cheap if it's for myself.
Fixing it will definitely be cheaper than a new unit. But since lots of
other big appliances are more energy efficient, maybe a new dryer would
work better and be cheaper to run.
I doubt there is enough savings to be worth the
cost of the machine. Thermal cut outs are a known
problem, especially on lint clogged machine.
After the cycle, are the clothes warm when you take
Do you have a voltmeter? If so, you can use it to determine if voltage is
getting to both coils or not. Just be careful, the coils probably operates
on 240 Volts, the rotational motor probably runs on 120V. You don't say i
f the temperature on high heat seems cooler than usual, but I would expeect
that if the thermostat went bad, you would get too much or not any heat.
You can always clip lead around the thermostat and see if the heat then get
s as hot as it used to.
Every dryer will typically have three heat settings; High, Permanent
Press and Delicates. High typically uses a 160 to 165 degree
thermostat. Delicates typically uses a 140 degree thermostat.
Permanent Press uses the 160 to 165 thermostat, but it stops power to
the heating element 5 or 10 minutes before the cycle ends so that the
clothes cool down while tumbling to prevent them from getting wrinkles.
Try running your dryer on the Delicates cycle instead and see if the
dryer seems to work better. If it does, it's very possible that the
high thermostat needs to be replaced.
it appears all new appliances are made on the super cheap, with beancounters running design.
the fancy electronic controls are not only pricey to replace but unreliable.
If you can DIY repair you existing dryer your probably better off.
take the dryer apart and vacuumn and blow it all out with a air hose....
look for low spots in the vent line, a low spot can accumulate condensation water and block air flow.
my vent poipe is pretty long and accumulates lint that forms into pads that block te venting.
now that the weater is better I am going to pull it all down and either relace it or wash it out with a garden hose
safety) has been clicking on and off on and off until it is worn out.
There could also be a bad connection somewhere since 1/4" Faston
connectors can and will go bad when subjected to continuous high current
loads. The heating element is either good or bad not intermittent.
That's a Klixon or connection problem. The main thermostats in
conventional simple electric clothes dryers don't usually go bad and
will outlast everything else but can still have bad connections. Do a
little trouble shooting. When I was helping my late friend GB with
residential HVAC work, there was always that customer who would say, "I
think it's a bad thermostat." ^_^
Oh yea, check all the connections first. Look for something loose or
thermal cutout has been activated. These are
known to go bad (or do the job they are
designed to do). I'd pull the box apart,
and check the thermal cutouts. They come in a
kit of three, I think it is. Might be two.
Replace all, if one is bad.
When I was involved in politics, the organizer (or maybe a booklet)
told us, When there are a bunch of chilren, don't give them all campaign
buttons to wear. If you they'll wear them a bit and then stop. If you
only give some of them buttons they'll wear them for days or weeks.
(Not that I've ever noticed anyone do this.)
I've been told that electric heaters are 100% efficient. Minus I
guess if the cabinet is hot. My electric dryer is 35 years old, only
dries for one person, but it's doing well. Original belt and
Don't forget possibly clogged output hose, output hose connection at the
outside house wall, output path within the dryer, and lint filter.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.