Tumble Dryer Not Working: Read Our Guide on What to Do

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Tumble dryer not working? Read our guide

If your tumble dryer isn’t working, particularly through the winter months, you might struggle to keep up with the laundry. Your tumble dryer is an important appliance, but many fixes are easy and cheap.

If your tumble dryer isn’t working as it should, your laundry schedule will be thrown off course. Not having a tumble dryer can make it almost impossible to keep up with the laundry for your family. Tumble drying is often the quickest, easiest and least damaging way to dry your clothes.

So, understandably, you’ll want to get yours working as soon as you possible can.

If your tumble dryer isn’t working as expected, read on to learn what to do next.

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Common Tumble Dryer Problems and Solutions

Clothes Still Wet

For many people, the first sign of a broken tumble dryer is that the clothes remain wet or damp. You’ve put your clothes through a full drying cycle, but they’re not wardrobe-ready at the end. The problem could be something as simple as a full water tank, which should be emptied after every drying cycle. Water tanks are a feature of many condenser dryers, since they don’t send the moisture elsewhere.

If yours isn’t a condenser dryer, or your water tank’s empty, check for any pipes that might be blocked. You’ll also need to make sure that your tumble dryer’s heating as it should be. Wet clothes may be a sign that your tumble dryer’s spinning but hot air’s not flowing through as it should be.

Not Heating

If your tumble dryer isn’t heating up, you may need to call an engineer. It could be that a filter’s blocked, the thermostat’s failed or the heater itself is faulty. Diagnosing problems with the supply of heat can be a complex job, and it’s often best left to the professionals since you’re dealing with electrical components.

Not Spinning

If your tumble dryer isn’t spinning, it’s very likely that the belt inside has snapped. The belt is what spins the tumble dryer drum, and it may snap when it’s in motion. Your tumble dryer might suddenly stop, though you might not be around when it happens.

When you next go back to your tumble dryer, you may notice it’s not moving though it may still act like it’s running through its cycle. You can usually tell if a snapped belt’s the problem. Listen to your dryer and see if it still sounds like the motor is working as it should be.

Replacing the belt is a relatively cheap and easy job. If the belt’s not the problem, you may need a new motor which can be a more expensive fix.

Not Starting

If the tumble dryer doesn’t seem to be starting up at all, your problem could be one of many. One possibility, easy to fix, is that the door isn’t closed properly. Small objects or a damaged seal can stop the door from closing completely.

Tumble dryers are designed to only work when the door is securely shut, and this safety feature’s there to protect you. Have a look around the seal of the door to check that there’s nothing in the way.

More serious problems can be more expensive and a lot harder to fix. You may have an issue with computer components, the door lock or a blocked vent.

Too Noisy

Has your tumble dryer suddenly become a lot louder than it usually is? Likely, this is due to a worn bearing. If the tumble dryer’s squeaking, rather than grinding or whirring, the belt may be close to wearing out.

An older tumble dryer can vibrate more as the drum’s not as smooth as it used to be. If yours is making a lot of noise when running, this could be another cause of loud noise. You might decide to ignore the noise unless it develops even further. In most cases, noise isn’t an immediate problem but a warning sign ahead of something serious.

Water Leaks

If water’s leaking out of your tumble dryer, a pipe or a seal may be damaged. Damaged pipes and seals might be immediately obvious or could be buried where you can’t see them. Before calling a white goods engineer, check for any overflow pipes.

Also, look at your water tank if yours is a condenser dryer. Most tumble dryers will simply stop drying clothes if the tank’s already full, though some will keep drying and any excess water will be distributed straight to your floor.


If your tumble dryer is smelling unpleasant, check that the filters are empty. Not cleaning the filter can lead to a build-up of damp lint and fluff. If that’s not bad enough, it’s also a fire risk. Clean filters regularly, ideally after every drying cycle.

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Getting Professional Help With Repairs

Attempting to tackle big repairs on your own could be a health and safety risk. There’s also a chance it’ll lead to further problems and much more expensive repairs. Know when to call for professional help when your tumble dryer’s not working.

Cost of Repairing Tumble Dryers

Tumble dryers contain many costly components. This can mean that repairs are expensive. If you need to call an engineer, you’ll likely have to pay a callout charge plus parts and labour. If your tumble dryer was cheap, you might decide to scrap it and invest your money in a replacement. For more expensive tumble dryers, repairs can be more worthwhile.

If you’re protected by home appliance insurance, decide if it’s worth making use of it. This can save you a lot of money, but there’s usually an excess charge for making a claim on your insurance. Often the excess is a little more expensive than calling out a white goods engineer, though once you’ve paid the excess the insurance will cover the costs of repairs and replacements.

You shouldn’t need to use the insurance if your tumble dryer’s still under warranty. Most standard warranties last for 12 months, and any new tumble dryer should last this long as an absolute minimum. You might also have been offered an extended warranty when you bought your tumble dryer.

If you’re not covered by a warranty or insurance, you’ll be responsible for all repair costs. If you don’t have insurance, putting money into savings can mean you’re ready to face the unexpected.

What to Do When if Your Tumble Dryer’s Not Working

A broken tumble dryer is at best an inconvenience, at worst a big problem for your family. Without your tumble dryer, you might struggle to cope with school uniforms, office wear and your teenager’s gym kit. Do what you can to diagnose the problem, and see if you can easily fix it.

If you can’t find what’s wrong, or can’t repair it on your own, call a white goods engineer. Domestic appliances engineers can quote you for repairs or might advise that you get a replacement.

Should I Consider Tumble Dryer Insurance?

Many insurance companies now offer specific insurance for a tumble dryer which ensures that your machine is working as often as possible. You tend to find that tumble dryer insurance policies have no restrictions on claims per year, and in some cases, they will replace your machine if it can’t be repaired.

Would Tumble Dryer Insurance Cover Me for Mechanical Breakdowns?

Yes. The vast majority of insurance policies will cover you for mechanical issues with your tumble dryer. For example, the drum may be detached or worn, which will obviously impact the service it would provide.

Would Tumble Dryer Insurance Cover Me for Electrical Breakdowns?

Yes. You only need to look at the modern-day tumble dryer to realise how different they are compared to machines of 20 or 30 years ago. Insurance without cover for electrical breakdowns would be fairly worthless with a modern-day machine. So, you will be glad to know that electrical breakdowns are covered as standard. However, it is worthwhile checking before you sign on the dotted line.

Money Savings Advice Tip

Home appliances go wrong and fail all the time and most of the time can be very expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance. Our top tip is investigated home appliance and white goods insurance in more detail, get a whole of the market quote and get an insurance package that works for you, you will be surprised how cheap white goods insurance can be.

Is the Tumble Dryer Insurance Market Regulated?

Yes. Tumble dry insurance, like any other type of insurance, is regulated by the FCA and therefore if you have any complaints, there is a standard process.

How Quickly Will My Tumble Dryer Be Repaired?

While it will obviously depend upon the availability of the engineers, many insurance companies will send out engineers within 24 hours. They usually have more common parts with them, but if there is a specific issue, they might need to order other parts. They will return as quickly as possible.

What Am I Covered For With Tumble Dry Insurance?

Typical tumble dry insurance will cover you for repairs, parts and labour costs. So, in practice, there should be nothing extra for you to pay if your tumble dryer breaks down. Indeed, many policies will cover you for accidental damage such as for example, leaving coins in pockets.

What Other Appliances Can I Insure at the Same Time?

Many insurance companies will offer a bulk deal on:-

  • Tumble dryers
  • TVs
  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Cookers
  • Freezers
  • Fridges

So, if you have these particular items insured separately, it is certainly worth asking for a quote to cover all of the equipment under one policy.

Is There a Limit per Claim?

Yes. The limit per claim will vary from insurer to insurer and could be anywhere from £500 up to £2500. It will obviously depend upon the type of tumble dryer, the damage and the cost of repairs as to the value of a low limit policy. It is worth remembering, the lower the limit per claim the lower the premiums.

How Can I Find the Best Tumble Dry Insurance Deal?

Tumble dryer insurance can start from anywhere upwards of just a couple of pounds a month, but the value is in detail. It may therefore be sensible to speak to a home cover specialist who understands the so-called “white goods” insurance market and how to secure the best deal for your situation. There are many questions to ask, some of which are relatively straightforward but some specialist in nature.

Quick White Goods Insurance FAQs

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Money Savings Advice Author Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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