A Tale of a Dryer

July 23, 2015 in Home Repairs - No Comments

This isn’t my typical blog-worthy material, but it consumed so much of my life this month that I felt the need to document.

When we moved to California, we expected to hook up our electric dryer on move-in day. The dryer was a trusty appliance that had dried hundreds of loads of laundry over the years. It coordinated with our washer and was still in mint condition.

We learned immediately that there was a gas-only hook-up in our new home. So, the frantic search began to replace our electric dryer. I wrote about my crazy late night purchase at a random storage unit back here.

Once Troy and I maneuvered the new-to-us (but actually very old) beast up the stairs (and dented and patched some walls in the process), it worked like a charm for several months.

But one day, a ghastly shrieking noise began each time the dryer was running. In the beginning, the shrill sound would only last for a few minutes at the beginning of a cycle. But gradually, the noise starting filling our entire house every minute the dryer was running.

It was so deafening that I couldn’t do laundry while babies napped, which is pretty much always. And if our windows were open, our whole street got to enjoy the piercing sound right along with us.

I didn’t want to buy another dryer that wouldn’t match our washer, let alone move those babies around again. Troy and I decided we’d rather wait and buy a complete coordinating and upgraded set in the future.

So, I watched a few repair tutorials and determined that I could make that horrible sound go away. I was pretty confident I could fix the issue, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I ran into so many setbacks along the way and the entire process stretched out over the duration of about three weeks.

I started by tackling the drum roller which I learned was the most likely culprit of the sound. I ordered a replacement drum roller that fit our model and after a week, it finally arrived. I successfully disassembled the dryer and started the replacement. Of course, I needed a special snap ring plier tool which wasn’t exactly in my toolbox. One trip to the hardware store later, I snapped the tiny snap ring off the axel, only to lose it in all of the dryer lint.

I spent two hours searching through the lint for the snap ring. I tilted the dryer in all directions, hoping it would fall out. My last resort was to vacuum up all the debris and search through the contents in the vacuum dustbin. And what do you know, in the very last bit of lint I pulled from the cylinder, the snap ring was found.

Once I replaced the drum roller, I re-weaved the belt and reassembled the entire appliance, only to find that the shrieking was still completely intact. I noticed that there were two drum rollers while I was in there, so I ordered another identical part, paid for more shipping, and waited another week for it to arrive.

The next time I unscrewed dozens of screws to access the dryer innards, I poked around some more to pinpoint where the squeaking was coming from. I replaced the other drum roller without any pieces flying around, but I could tell just from the friction of the drum on the wheels that the squeaking still was not eliminated.I kicked myself for not thoroughly searching the first time because the sound was clearing coming from the worn out idler pulley. This time, I smartened up and found the replacement part on Amazon Prime so I would only have to wait two days for it to arrive and avoid shipping costs. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier.

Since the wait was only two days this time, I didn’t bother to put the dryer back together just to take it all apart again. Crew thoroughly enjoyed crawling through the “tunnel,” or drum, while the dryer remained disassembled.

Who knew that I would become giddy with excitement when the new idler pulley arrived? I replaced the idler arm and wheel and sure enough, once the dryer was put back together, the shrieking stopped altogether.

I put a lot of work into an old dryer that I didn’t even like or want in the first place. But once I set my mind to the task, nothing was going to stand in my way until that awful noise was gone. Troy calls me stubborn; I prefer to say determined. Either way, I now know more about the inside of a dryer than I ever cared to learn. And I’m confident that this old appliance still has a lot of life left in it.

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