Last updated: August 18, 2021 at 15:10 pm
In a country as prone to rain as the UK, tumble dryers are often a must for busy families. Without it, no one would get to school or work wearing clean clothes.
However, like all appliances, you may experience problems or strange noises coming from it, especially if it’s old or you use it heavily. These noises might cause you real worry if you rely on your dryer and worry it’s breaking.
In this article:
We’ll look at the most common tumble dryer noises, and more importantly, how to fix them.
Before We Start
Before we begin, it’s essential to be clear that a completely silent tumble dryer does not exist. All dryers make some noise when they’re running, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.
If you need a tumble dryer but live in a small house or flat with nowhere suitable for one away from your living area, take a look at these options to soundproof a room. You can either soundproof the room the dryer is in or your living room and bedroom.
Main Types of Noises
There are five main types of noise you can expect to hear if your tumble dryer is not working correctly. These are banging, creaking, scraping, rumbling and vibrating. Each has a different cause, but they all need to be fixed, or your dryer will likely break completely.
1. Squeaking or Banging Noises
Most often, squeaking or banging noises are caused by wear or damage to the drum support roller. The roller holds the drum of your dryer steady when it’s turning.
These rollers can wear out after a lot of use, so they should be the first thing you check if you hear a banging noise. First, try gently rotating the drum when it’s empty. If it bangs or doesn’t turn smoothly, then proceed to the fix below.
If it seems to turn normally with no banging or interruptions during the turn, it probably isn’t the culprit.
How to Fix the Rollers
- Make sure your machine is completely unplugged; safety first
- Remove the drum from inside the dryer. If you don’t know how to do this, there should be guidance in your manual
- Once it’s out, look under where the drum was to locate the support rollers
- It should be easy to see if they look worn. If they look good as new, they are not the problem. Proceed to the next step
- The rollers will be held in place by a nut or spring clip. Remove these and take off both rollers. Top tip, when making any changes to the rollers, you must ensure you do both
- Check the shafts the rollers attach to in case the rollers have been replaced but the shafts are worn If they look like they’re coming to the end of their useful life, replace them both. Parts should be readily available online
- After any parts have been replaced, oil them with the smallest amount of oil you can, literally one drop if possible. Any more will give lint and debris something to stick to and cause a problem
- Reattach the drum
Another cause of a loud banging sound is if you have a problem with your blower wheel. This is the part that pulls air into the heating chamber in your dryer and then pushes it back out through the exhaust vent.
Often the blower wheel can come loose. In that case, it can cause a loud banging or thumping noise. If you feel you’re a dab hand with a screwdriver, the steps to replace the wheel are below. If not, then you can call someone in to take a look.
How to Check/Replace the Blower Wheel
- Unplug your dryer completely
- Locate where the blower wheel is in your model. You’ll usually find it at the end of the motor shaft). If you’re not sure, you can check your manual or look online for diagrams
- Get access to the blower wheel. Most of the time, this will be through the dryer’s cabinet
- Check the wheel thoroughly for dirt and debris as this can occasionally be the problem. Use a lint-free cloth to clean away anything that you find
- Check the wheel for signs of wear
- If you’re replacing it, slide in the new blower wheel
- If the wheel looks fine and there’s no dirt, then this is not the problem
2. Thumping Noises
If the noise you’re hearing is more of a thump than a bang, it’s time to check your drive belt. This belt is what turns the drum in your dryer. With lots of use, it can dry out, get brittle and frayed. You can check the belt by carefully removing the back of the dryer.
Be sure to unplug it first. Look carefully for signs of damage, and if you find any, then you should replace the belt. If not, take a look at the banging section for more possibilities.
3. Scraping Noises
A bad installation can cause scraping noises. The dryer needs to be laid on a completely flat surface, and you should also ensure that all its feet are level too. If correctly fitted, parts near the drum should not be caught accidentally when the drum is spinning.
Once you’ve confirmed the placement is ok, if the noise is still there, you’ll need to check the plastic bearings that the drum rests and rotates on. The bearings usually are pretty sturdy, but they can wear down over time. If the dryer is making a metallic scraping sound, the drum might be scraping against another part. It’s also possible that the front pads are worn and need to be replaced.
This isn’t something you can check on your own, so call in a qualified engineer as soon as possible. The longer you ignore it, the more two parts may scape against each other. This will cause damage and may leave you with an expensive bill to replace them. Prevention is better than cure.
4. Creaking Noises
The parts most commonly responsible for creaking noises are your tension pulleys. These are small plastic balls that move around a metal rod and maintain tension for the dryer’s drive belt. As with any part, these pulleys wear out over time and make a creaking sound as they revolve.
There is no fix for this other than to replace them. This is definitely not a do it yourself project unless you know a lot about tumble dryers. You will have to completely dismantle the dryer to get to the pulleys, so this is one where it’s safest to call in an engineer.
Make sure you get the standard three quotes so you can assess what a reasonable price is for the fix. Once you have them, it’s worth comparing the cost against the cost to replace the dryer.
If the dryer is fairly new, then a repair is likely to be a much more cost-effective option. If it’s five-plus years old and gets used a lot, then this may not be the only repair bill in your future. A new dryer may also be more power-efficient, saving money on your power bills in the long run.
It’s rare, but if it turns out the tension pulleys aren’t the issue, it may be problems with the fans in the motor. Again, you’re going to want to get in a professional for this, so if they check the tension pulleys and they’re fine, they should be able to help you pin down the problem and hopefully correct it.
5. Vibration Noises
The first step is to check that the drum is turning properly. Pop your hand inside the dryer while it’s empty and gently turn the drum. If it turns smoothly and feels secure, all is well. If it rattles, feels like it’s not correctly fastened in place or feels like it catches on something, this is likely to be your problem. Refer to the scraping noises section for further advice.
If it turns normally, the next thing to check is if each of the legs is tightened securely and sitting flat on the floor. When trying to stop vibrations from washers and dryers, it can also be helpful to fit them into a snug enclosure if possible. This restricts their movement, meaning they can’t vibrate as much.
If there’s still a vibration, then it’s possible the holding springs are worn and will need to be replaced. You should be able to get new ones online and replace them yourself.
There are lots of different types of noises dryers can make and lots of causes to match. If you feel unsure about anything suggested, make sure to get an engineer in to do it safely. Electrical appliances can be dangerous, so make sure you stay safe.