Noisy Tumble Dryer

This article is about faults that can cause a noisy tumble dryer. However, due to the way dryers are designed, many tumble dryer noises can be difficult to fix because you need to strip the entire dryer down to get to some parts. This article gives general guidance without specific stripping down instructions.

Tumble dryers, particularly condenser and heat pump dryers can be complicated to strip down and get back together!

Metallic scraping noise

Metallic scraping noises should not be ignored. This sound usually means the metal drum is scraping on something as it revolves. If ignored, serious wear can occur.

As you can imagine, something metal constantly catching on something else – even something else metal – will inevitably result in wear of one or both of the parts involved. I’ve seen many simple faults ignored until only a very expensive repair will fix it.

Other metallic scraping noises could be caused by the plastic bearings the drum rests and rotates on wearing down so much that the lip of the drum at the front can scrape on metal.

Make sure the dryer is level. If not level the cabinet can slightly twist causing drums to catch on nearby parts. Hotpoint and Indesit tumble dryers used to be terrible for scraping noises, and they brought out modifications to try and address the problem.

It’s hopefully solved by now, but cheap dryers, or even expensive ones not well made, can have flimsy casings which twist easily and have too little clearance between the revolving drum and the back panel.

Squeaking noises

These can be caused by tension pulleys which usually tension the drive belt and revolve all the time the drum is turning. They are small wheel-like plastic parts that are held against the drive belt with strong springs, and run on a small metal shaft. They commonly dry out or wear.

The proper cure for this is to replace the pulleys and the shaft they run on, or at least strip them, clean them and grease them with high melting point grease if they aren’t too worn. Unfortunately though these tension (or jockey) pulleys are not usually accessible without stripping the dryer down though some dryers allow you to remove a side panel if you can work out how to take it off.

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Squeaking bearing

On some tumble dryers are dry or worn bearing can cause squeaking noise. This is particularly common on some Indesit or Hotpoint tumble dryers. Check out the comments below where 2 people have contributed their experience on how they dealt with their squeaking tumble dryers.

Rumbling noises

Deep rumbling noises can also be caused by the same belt tension pulleys from the last section. Depending on their design they can develop squeaks or a rumble. So can worn drum bearings, which are usually just shiny plastic parts the drum rests on at the front and a single brass bearing at the rear centre of the drum.

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Noisy motor

The motor can of course become noisy, though it is pretty rare because they revolve so slowly that they don’t tend to wear much. If the belt is removed and any tension pulley brackets moved out of the way a motor can be run on its own to see if it’s creating the noise.

Warning: refitting a tumble dryer drive belt can be extremely difficult. They are very strongly tensioned and special tools are often needed to be able to force one back on, especially with a brand new belt.

Condenser dryer noises

Condenser tumble dryers have more parts than vented dryers and one which can cause noises is the small pump which pumps condensed water into the condenser drawer. If this pump becomes noisy it should be a different noise to the noise of the drum revolving and should continue even when the drum pauses when reversing.

The condenser pump may run continuously during the cycle, or it may be designed to kick in and out intermittently during the cycle. If it develops excessive noise it may need replacing. This water pump can develop a loud screeching noise. Access may be available from the rear panel but some may need side panels and frontages removing.

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84 thoughts on “Noisy Tumble Dryer”

  1. I think the squealing noise could be the pump that gets rid of the water on a condenser dryer , some pumps only kick in after a while to get rid of the water when it needs to which is why it may be intermittent ,if the noise persists even though the drum stops to reverse etc it could be this pump motor ,

  2. My indesit dryer was mega squeaky. Googled and checked my rear bearing. Sure enough it was almost sheared through. I replaced it, now on my third washing since changing and now its squeaking again. I have checked to make sure I havnt been given a dud but all is in order. Any ideas on what else it could be? Google isnt being very helpful this time.

  3. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Kelly. As my article mentions, squeaking can be caused by a bearing although that is just as likely to sound like metallic scraping noise. The most common cause of squeaking is from the tension pulleys on the drive belt. They are difficult to get to as you have to strip the dryer down and with many modern tumble dryers if you take off the drive belt it can be very difficult indeed to get it back on. Some manufacturers have even manufactured special tools to put the belt back on. So I would be very careful. If you suspect the small pulley wheel that puts tension on the drive belt you could try spraying some WD-40 into it taking care not to get any on the belt or the motor. If that stops the squeaking, if only temporarily it will at least show that this is the source of the squeak. Other than that it’s a question of literally trying to locate the noise with the ears.

  4. Hi Andy, This maybe of some interest to you and other people who get problem’s with noises from their tumble driers. I have just repaired a tumble dryer ( INDESIT IDC75 ) for my mother, which had a loud screeching noise coming from it for several months when being used. I first checked the rear drum bearing as nearly all of the comments on the forums say is the cause of this noise, but that was not the cause of the noise at all , It was in fact the water pump on the lower back right hand side. It had a fair amount of built up dust inside of it, so I cleaned it all out and the ends of where the rubber water pipe attaches to it also, and it has got rid of the noise. I hope this can be of help to more people.

  5. Brand new Hotpoint condenser tumble dryer becomes noisy after about 20 minutes, should this be a normal thing or is there something wrong with the pump? This is the second Hotpoint condenser dryer we have had, should we change completely or is a condenser dryer normally like this please.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      That’s unusual. Unfortunately the noise is something that an engineer really needs to hear. What kind of a noise is it?

  6. I will say one thing, some new dryers seem to vary in noise from nearly silent to bloody deafening. I’ll just write of my recent tales of owning a tumble dryer.

    We had a Zanussi Condensor dryer, which we brought in 2009 and was still working when we brought another in January. The simple reason is this, that it was costing upwards of £4 a load at current prices. It was just unsustainable. It was also right on the verve of needing a new motor, diagnosed as failing and the part was nearly impossible to source, multiple trusted repairers tried and I did too. Turns out they only used this motor for a very short period before changing to a different part code which wasn’t interchangeable.

    So, we brought a Indesit heat pump. Was on offer and cost just over £300. About as noisy as the Zanussi condensor, no biggie. Unfortunately the panel failed after 2 weeks. The retailer insisted in not repairing and replacing.

    We upgraded to a LG FDV909, which was whisper quiet. However it lasted 3 months before it failed and refused to work, flashing multiple error codes, the engineer from LG stated it needed a new motor and compressor. Marked it as uneconomical to fix. LG then emailed me a uplift number which the retailer then refunded me.

    Brought an Fisher and Paykel Series 9, didn’t get to install it. Did you know (and the retailer didn’t either) that it MUST be plumbed into the cold water supply, or it will just throw an error after a few mins and refuse to work? We didn’t either. Here we go again.

    Now we have a AEG 9000 series absolute care. It’s really effective, drying about a third quicker than the LG, but my god is it noisy. Probably louder than my old White Knight vented one that sounded like a train. The compressor gurgles all the time, the motor is LOUD and there is a faint but perceptible rattle, as if part of the fittings is loose. AEG says it’s normal however. The 5 year warranty is what swung the purchase, as my mum has dementia and I do her washing, I needed it to work and be reliable, so I’m stuck with it.

    So FYI to anyone reading this, if you want an really effective dryer, look at the AEG. If you what quiet, look elsewhere.

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