Whether gas- or electric-powered, clothes dryers are among the most popular household appliances. Their invention forever changed the face of laundry. What was once a dreaded task, involving bending, stretching, and carrying heavy loads of wet clothes out to the backyard clothesline, clothes drying was simplified into placing the laundry into a big cylinder and pushing a button.
The average residential dryer, whether gas- or electric-powered, is expected to last approximately 10 to 13 years. This figure is based on average use, routine maintenance, and following the dryer usage specifications found in the user manual. Learn how to extend the life of your dryer and decide whether you should repair or replace the appliance if it stops working.
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Extending the Dryer’s Life
Routine maintenance is the easiest way to extend the life of your dryer. This includes cleaning the lint filter after every use, cleaning the exhaust line, and keeping the vent free of dust, fleece, and debris. It's important to have a properly designed vent for maximum performance. Special tools are available at hardware stores to facilitate cleaning the exhaust line. Avoiding dryer overload and making sure clothes are properly spun (and not dripping wet) before putting them into the dryer also adds years to the life of the appliance.
Repairing vs. Replacing a Dryer
Appliance manufacturers will inevitably suggest replacing appliances at the first hint of a problem; new sales are vital to their existence. In reality, some repairs are simple and relatively inexpensive compared to replacing an appliance. Dryers are no exception to this rule.
Determining Factors in Dryer Replacement
The best way to determine when to replace or repair a dryer is to have an appliance professional you can trust provide advice. A trusted, experienced repair person knows when a part and its cost are worth the trouble and can provide guidance regarding when it's time to bite the bullet and buy a new dryer. The appliance repair specialist should be able to give you an idea of the overall condition and whether or not you might have other issues soon.
In lieu of personalized trusted counsel, logic must be used. If the dryer cost $400 new and it's seven years old, it would be difficult to decide whether or not to spend $200 to repair it. The dryer is a bit past middle age and has other aging parts. However, if a replacement unit now costs $600, the call is difficult. It's significantly cheaper to repair the dryer, but you could be dumping money into an appliance that won't last much longer anyway.
To decide, consider how long the replaced part is expected to function as well as the current overall performance of the dryer. When considering the cost, a general guideline is to replace the appliance if the repair would cost more than 50% of the cost to replace it. If the repair would cost $400 and you could get a suitable replacement for $600, going the new route would be the best option using this rule. Also, consider the extra features and benefits you can get from a new dryer, such as increased energy efficiency, a larger capacity, or new smart features that make the appliance more convenient.
New vs. Refurbished Replacement Parts
If you decide to repair the dryer, you'll need to decide whether to use new or refurbished/rebuilt parts. Some parts are only available new; however, some are available at considerable savings when they're rebuilt or refurbished. Before deciding, research consumer feedback on the part you are considering and talk to an appliance professional who can provide an informed and unbiased opinion.