Dryer Repair (Not Repaired Yet)

A couple of years ago, I did some maintenance on my washing machine.  It was just kind of cleanup and improvement fixes.  I should be happy for that because these units have been going strong without failure since 2005.  I should also mention, since changing the washing machine gasket from what was a disgusting, mold-stained disaster, I have resolved to never let that happen again.  At the finish of laundry day, I dry the gasket completely and there has not been a single spot of discoloration on the rubber in the 2 years since.  However, last week during my scheduled laundry time, it was the dryer’s turn for attention.  It would not start up for my last load – my bed linens.

So, for a few days now, I’ve been sleeping in my guest bedroom until I can get my sheets rewashed and dried properly.  Or I could just buy new sheets, which is just as much an option at this point.  I had some mildly stressful thoughts of having to replace the dryer.  And if I was going to do that, I might as well replace the washer, right?  And then there goes the budget for the garage door install, which is next up on the improvement list.

But, after some Internet research, I learned that dryer failures are usually either a thermostat/thermistor or the control board.  The former is a cheap ($40) fix and is pretty common.  The latter would be around $350 and might warrant an upgrade.   So, yesterday, I tore the dryer apart and on the guidance of online articles, I started testing thermostats and sensors.

After taking the top and back off the dryer, I was able to identify 3 potential sensors.  Using a multimeter, as instructed, I tested continuity between the two leads.  In two of the three cases, the LCD display displayed some numbers.  In the final case, the LCD didn’t change at all when touching the contacts.  That is the one I will suspect has failed.

I did a search online and the shop that sold me the washer replacement parts did not have this particular sensor in stock.  Boo.  So I went to their competitor.  I paid $2 extra for Standard shipping, an upgrade from Economy.  They said their Standard shipping was fast.  2-5 business days, they say, but realistically, it’s usually 2.  Shortly after I got the order confirmation email, I got a shipping notification.  Later that night, FedEx tells me my shipment is arriving tomorrow.  Well, that is fast, I have to say.

I opened up my new sensor package pretty quickly and immediately tested it with the multimeter.  It didn’t register anything.  Well, shit.  Maybe the old one wasn’t bad after all.  Sigh.  Well, as long as I’ve spent the money, I might as well install it, so I have at least one new part.

Swapping out the sensor was a pretty easy job.  Before I sealed everything up, I wanted to see if maybe by chance I did fix it.  So I reattached the power cord, plugged it in, and switched it on.  Just like last time, the “lint filter” light blinked 5 times, then stopped.  The Start button did not begin the cycle.  Oh well.  That was a nice $40 experiment for nothing.

I took a break to think about what to do next.  I came back and looked deeper into the body of the dryer.  Then I saw two more sensors up front.  I wouldn’t be able to reach them from the back, so I guess I’m going to take the front of the dryer now.  Unlike taking the top and back off, the front of the dryer had a bunch of different size screws, so I began to get nervous I wouldn’t remember which screws went where when it was reassembly time.  I had about 4 different piles of screws sitting to the side.

When I finally managed to get the metal front of the dryer off, I was faced with a large plastic frame that had the sensors mounted on the back.  Part of this plastic frame was the lint trap.  I figured as long as I had access to it, I would open it up and get all the excess lint that had collected in it over the years.  When I did get the lint cover off, holy shit.  It was a few inches of densely packed lint and dust.  I broke out the vacuum clear and cleaned it all up.  Maybe that’s what the problem was, having the lint sensors buried under inches of lint for years on end.  I plugged the dryer back in and turned it on.  Nope.  Still five blinks.

More contortions to remove the plastic frame from the drum and now I had access to the sensors in the back.  The multimeter says one is fine and one gives no response.  Yeah, I’m not getting fooled by that again.  So where does that leave me?  I guess I’m going to have to call a professional. 

I called the first repair shop and went right to voicemail.  Ugh.  I left a message and they called me back in about 15 minutes.  That’s not too bad.  Except they don’t service Siemens brand, so thanks for that.  I called another shop twice and got no answer either time.  I called a third shop and the phone never rang, it just disconnected.  A called a fourth shop and talked to a human right away.  They didn’t have a problem with the brand, but they weren’t able to schedule me for service for a week.  So, I guess I’ll be without a dryer for another week.