Why Is Your Dryer Noisy?

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In theory, a dryer is a pretty simple machine. you put clothes in the central cylinder drum, then you heat the whole thing with an element. Spin the drum with lifter fins to toss the clothes around and a blower wheel pulls air over the clothes and blows the humidity out through the dryer vent. Overall, the clothes are heated and fluffed until all the moisture is gone. It’s wonderful and convenient, as long as your dryer doesn’t create a symphony of clanging or scraping.

A noisy dryer can really kill your home environment. Squeaks, squeals, scrapes, rattles, and bangs hardly make a peaceful soundtrack. So what is the solution? The answer could actually be one of a dozen different problems. There are a surprising number of ways that the simple dryer mechanism can go wrong to create unwanted sounds, and we’re about to explore them. If you want to figure out where that dryer sound is coming from and how to fix it, stay tuned. 

1. Drum Baffle Lifters

The first and easiest place to check is inside the dryer drum. Those fins that flip the clothes around are called baffles or lifters. They seem integral but, of course, they are screwed in separate pieces in the dryer drum. Take a close look at each of the lifters and wobble it with your hand to see if there’s any give. If the lifter wobbles, then it may be the cause of the noise. When heavy clothes push a loose baffle, it can be moved out of alignment and then fall back into alignment with a thud. So grab a screwdriver and tighten any of the baffles that might be loose.  

2. Dryer Feet

If your dryer is not level and stable on the ground, the spinning action can cause the whole unit to wobble and create a knocking or thumping sound. The best way to prevent your dryer from shaking is to even out the feet. Start with a bubble level placed on the front edge of the dryer. Then twist the dryer feet to extend or retract them until the level bubble is in the center. Then check the other top edges to ensure each is level. if it is not, repeat the process until the feet make the dryer flat.You can also place pads on the feet to prevent them from bumping and to make them easier to level. 

3. Vibration Pads

Some dryers are designed in a way that vibrates the outer frame even if everything is working properly. This is very common but can be pretty annoying. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. If your dryer vibrates but it doesn’t clank, scrape, or rattle in a way that suggests damage, then vibration pads are the answer. Vibration pads are pads of felt or foam with a sticky side that attaches to your dryer. These can reduce rattling against a wall and reduce the vibration in the body of the dryer. 

4. Dryer Drum Glides and Slide

The dryer drum is supported on all sides by different components of the dryer. The front of the drum connects with the front dryer housing with a smoothing component called a glide or slide. These glides are strips of plastic backed by cork or felt to allow the drum to spin smoothly while physically in-contact with the stationary dryer housing cabinet.If you hear a scraping sound when the dryer runs and it sounds near the front of the dryer, then there’s a good chance that the glides have worn out and are no longer smooth (or aligned) enough to slide smoothly. To fix a glide or slide problem, you’ll likely need to remove the front panel of the dryer and replace the old glides with new ones. 

5. Drum Support Rollers and Idler Pulley

Inside the dryer cabinet are a system of rollers and pulleys that support the spinning drum. The rollers keep the drum spinning smoothly and provide midpoint support. If you hear squealing, this could be the rollers either scraping or failing to turn as they support the dryer. If you hear thumping, this might be a single failed roller allowing the drum to thump out of alignment as it spins.You’ll need to remove the dryer drum to inspect, repair, or replace the system of support rollers or the idler pulley that make up the drum support system.  

6. Dryer Drum Bearings

The dryer drum is mounted on a drum bearing at the back of the cabinet. The bearing is a single steel ball that the dryer turns around. The drum bearing needs to be in good condition and greased in order to work correctly. It’s possible for your bearing to be damaged, bent, or worn dry over time. In order to inspect or repair your drum bearing, you’ll need to remove the dryer drum. The audible signs of a damaged drum bearing is scraping, squealing, or thumping near the back of the dryer cabinet. 

7. Felt Dryer Drum Seals

The felt drum seals are designed to limit the airflow through the dryer drum. The felt strips also cushion the connection between the spinning drum and the external cabinet panels. There is often a front and rear felt drum seal that ensures the drum remains sealed and safe for clothes. If the felt drum seal is worn or tears, clothes can get stuck in the gap and you may start to hear scraping or thumping because the drum is no longer properly cushioned. 

8. Drive Belt

The dryer’s drive belt is what makes it spin. The belt is a slightly sticky belt that wraps around the dryer, rollers, and pulley to spin the dryer within the support of the rollers. The drive belt needs to be in good shape and properly strung in order to work correctly. The most common problem with the drive bent is that it will wear out and dry. It may become hard and brittle and it may begin to fray, separate, or crack. This can result in a thumping sound as the drum turns unevenly.To inspect the dryer belt, you’ll need to open the cabinet. To replace the dryer belt, you’ll need to remove the drum and unthread the old one. 

9. Dryer Motor

The motor is what spins the belt that spins the dryer. It must be powerful enough to toss around wet clothes and they last a long time. But if your dryer motor starts to go, you may begin to hear humming, rattling, or the high-pitched sound of a failing motor. These sounds are familiar to anyone who has heard a motor fail before. To replace the motor, you’ll need to access the back or underside of your dryer. 

10. Exhaust Blower Wheel

Finally, the blower wheel is an essential part of the dryer exhaust system. Dryer exhaust comes in the form of linty steam. The warm, humid air that comes off the drying clothes must be redirected to allow the clothes to dry. This is done with the blower wheel, which pushes air outward through the dryer vent. If the blower wheel goes, you may hear loud thumping or roaring. You can replace the blower wheel by opening the dryer cabinet, it will be near the motor.

— Is your dryer noisy? These steps can help you hunt down the solution or contact us to work with a skilled appliance technician.

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