Monday, April 22, 2024


     Weekends are for laundry here.  Tam does hers Friday, I do mine Saturday, and Sunday is for catching up and washing big items -- towels, bedding, etc.  Or that's the general intent.

     I'd run one load of wash yesterday and had a second one in the dryer, with a third just starting in the washer.  Just T-shirts and not too many, a "catching-up" batch.  I was doing other things upstairs when I heard something in the basement go, "Thump."  After that, the dryer seemed quieter.  Odd.

     Once I'd reached a stopping point, I went down to check.  The dryer was humming along, but--  I opened the door.  The dryer did not slow to a stop.  It didn't have to.  The drum wasn't turning.  Uh-oh.

     The classic clothes dryer is a frustratingly simple device.  A single electric motor runs a blower that moves air over the heating element (gas or electric) and, via a long belt, that same motor turns the drum.  If the blower runs but the drum doesn't turn, the belt is broken.  Oh, it might be other things; at least one end of the drum is supported by two or more small wheels, and they can jam up; but that usually breaks the belt.  It's the simplicity that makes them frustrating: parts count is down to the minimum and after you have opened them up for service, it can be tricky to put them back together.*

     After some research in how to open up the dryer (easier than I thought) and replace the belt (not so easy; you take off the front and work around the now partially unsupported drum), I unplugged it, opened it up and had a look: yes, the belt is broken. I ordered a belt and some wheels.  The belt should arrive today, so I'll try that first.

     Meanwhile, I filled up the clothesline with T-shirts and washcloths, and ended up bringing them inside after sunset to finish drying indoors.
* There's no margin for being half right.  The kinds of things I work on for a living come with detailed drawings and a lot of them will run at least a little when partially disassembled.  Consumer goods are not that way.


slow joe crow said...

I feel your pain, I had my dryer apart twice last year. Once to replace a screaming idler pulley, aonce to reseat the drive belt. Samsung's belt tensioner setup is very hard to seat.

Joe in PNG said...

I've got an Aussie market dryer that has two belts. The one that drives the blower is under an easily accessible separate cover on the back of the unit.
The belt itself looks like it's made out of surgical tubing.

Cop Car said...

I nearly failed to recognize the problem as a broken belt when I read the "Thump". My dryers always go "Thunk". Truly, since my first dryer purchased in 1959, I don't recall ever having to repair a dryer (if you don't count that I replaced the lint filter several years ago). Perhaps it is because dryers, routinely, get replaced when a washer is replaced. In my life, that has usually happened only when I made a household move. It's been 24 years since my last move and, indeed, the washer had one repair done about 15 years ago. Amazingly sturdy, those machines.

grich said...

I have been amazed how sharp the sheet metal edges can be on washers and dryers. I'm usually wearing gloves when handling the side panels. And yeah, the lint. I disassembled and cleaned the dryer in January. It was horrible. The matching 18-year-old washer threw a transmission earlier this year, and I didn't think that was worth repairing. We replaced that with a centrifugal washer that doesn't have an agitator. So far, so good.