Today I learned a little bit about clothes dryers

The bad news came this morning as we were cleaning the house in preparation for Christmas: the dryer wouldn’t start. Andrea and I both assumed that the belt must have worn out, and I made another assumption that cost me an extra two hours on this project: I thought, “Surely maintenance must take place from the back of the appliance,” so I pulled it out from the wall, unplugged it, climbed behind it, and removed the back panel, in the process knocking loose the flexible metal conduit of the lint vent.

Puzzled that I didn’t see a way of checking the belt or the motor from the back, I asked the Internet for help, and found that most normal maintenance takes places from the FRONT of the dryer! So I unscrewed the top, flipped it back, disconnected the door cut-off switch, removed and set aside the front panel, and then removed the drum.

The belt was intact. The Internet told me to run it briefly with the drum and belt removed in order to determine whether the motor was bad, so I scratched my head a little bit because the thing won’t run without the front panel on and the door cut-off switch connected. I put the front panel back on, connected the door cut-off switch, plugged in the power, and turned it on — the motor was fine. The belt looked fine. The gaskets looked fine. I had cleaned up a little bit of lint but I have no idea why the drum wouldn’t spin earlier. I think it must have been bound up for some reason. I put the dryer back together and the drum was now spinning.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the vent conduit back on the outlets, so I spent the next two hours cursing over that and cutting my fingers on the sharp metal edges. Eventually, I got it to work, and shortened the conduit by nearly three feet. After the holidays, I think I might fit it for rigid conduit, because the flexible stuff seems to collect lint on the interior ridges.

I feel a minor sense of accomplishment from all this, but wish it had happened on some other day. Mainly I feel a sense of relief we have a means to dry Jamie’s cloth diapers that will only take half an hour or so.

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