If your tumble dryer wont start, the first thing to establish is whether there is any electrical power to it or not. If there are any indicator lights working then obviously there is power to the dryer, but if not, the first thing to check is the power socket by plugging in something else.
If another appliance or lamp works ok when plugged into the same socket then obviously this indicates the wall socket is working. So the next thing to check is the fuse inside the tumble dryer’s plug. It should be a 13 amp fuse. If you can’t check it with a continuity test meter you can try either temporarily putting it into another appliances plug to see if it works or not, or alternatively you can fit a known working one – or a brand new one – as long as it’s 13 amp.
If this gets the dryer running again there’s a chance it was just the fuse. Fuses can just fail for no apparent reason but normally they fail because something went wrong so keep a very close eye on the dryer when you use it for the next few times. If the fuse blows again either straight away or during a drying cycle there is likely to be a fault that needs an engineer to fix.
If you know the fuse has blown or the electric has tripped (because you heard a bang from the dryer) then it needs checking out properly as there may be a short somewhere and you really need a proper insulation test meter to trace insulation faults unless you can see an obvious fault such as a bare wire touching the casing or drum.
Not the fuse?
The door micro switch is the next suspect. If power is getting to the tumble dryer and the socket is definitely OK, then the most common problem with tumble dryers not working is when the door micro switch fails, or the catch on the door that operates the switch either breaks or no longer activates the door switch.
Check for broken door catches. There is usually a plastic peg on the door that pushes through a hole in the tumble dryer’s casing where the door catch is. Closing the door should operate a simple micro switch. If the plastic peg is broken or bent it might not operate the switch properly. The door micro switch could be faulty, which would need testing for with a continuity meter.
On off switch
If there’s a main on off switch it could be faulty. Many modern dryers though have a small start button built into the control panel. If it feels different, and no longer clicks when pressed it’s possible it could be faulty…
Make sure the dryer is not starting for something simple such as the condenser drawer being full of water or a filter needing cleaning Check for warning lights.
Capacitor or motor?
If power is getting to the tumble dryer but all you can hear is a humming noise then the motor or drum could be physically jammed. A more common explanation though is a faulty start capacitor. Many tumble dryer motors use a capacitor start and if the capacitor goes faulty it may not produce the big kick of electricity to jump start the motor.
It’s also possible for the motor itself to be at fault, maybe it has start windings instead of a capacitor and what you think is a capacitor could be a suppressor filter. I would not mess with this fault if you don’t know about capacitors, they can carry a large electrical charge and can give a very nasty shock – even some time after the dryer has been unplugged!
Sometimes I’ve been able to spin a dryer’s drum by hand and quickly shut the door which has allowed the motor to run. This implicates the start capacitor if one is fitted. Basically I put the dryer on and when it hums open the door, spin the drum and close the door quickly. It’s difficult to do as you can’t get the drum to turn much as it has a lot of resistance.
It may be worth a try but whatever happens it’s not likely to be conclusive.
If this general advice doesn’t reveal anything simple, you need to call in an engineer. I don’t recommend stripping most tumble dryers down if you don’t know what you are doing.
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