Most dryers are designed with very similar set ups. The information below will help you understand how most dryers work. Before looking at the problems with dryers, it is important that you have an understanding of how they work.
The basic premise of the clothes dryer is to dry your wet clothes that just came from your washing machine. Dryers utilize either gas or electricity to heat up air, and then to circulate the warm, dry air over and through your clothes to dry them after washing them.
There is a control panel with certain selector switches that allow you to set the dryer for certain types of clothes, permanent press, delicates, and so forth. Major components of the control panel include a timer, start switch, and the selector knobs, buttons, or switches.
The dryer door must be closed to operate the machine. The safety device called the door switch must be working properly to allow the dryer to start when you hit the start switch. The door switch may activate an interior light as well.
When you first start the dryer, the blower fan engages. This is to ensure that there is not a dangerous build-up of heat in the cabinet which can lead to a fire. After the blower is engaged, the heating element in electric dryers, or the gas burner in gas dryers, will start heating air to circulate through the dryer. The gas burners won’t ignite until the gas safety valve releases gas to the burner area. A temperature control system, or thermostat, helps the dryer to maintain an optimum temperature in the drum. This system can help to prevent any scorching of your clothes, and it also reduces the hazard of fire.
The warm, dry air removes the moisture from the clothes by evaporating it as it passes through the clothes. The air circulation is performed by the blower fan, motor, and tumble action of the drum’s rotation. The blower actually pulls the warm air over and through the clothes as they tumble in the dryer drum. It’s better to send the warm air through and between the clothes than over the top of a wet pile. That is why your clothes tumble in the dryer drum. Then the warm, moist air is vented outside the home.
Tumbling allows the warm, dry air to circulate among all the items to be dried. The tumbling action is achieved by the dryer motor turning the drum with a belt. The belt runs from the motor’s pulley, wraps around the dryer drum, and is given tension to keep it tight by an idler pulley.
The dryer drum is held in place with a combination of glides, rollers, and by a spindle of the ball-and-socket type or by a shaft inside of a sleeve.
The drying process takes place with the sensors and safety devices, including a thermal fuse, thermostats, and timers, all working together. Dryers usually operate in one of three modes, a timed drying cycle, an automatic cycle, or an electronic sensor controlled cycle.
The timed cycle simply means that you set a timer, which is either mechanical or electronic, and start the dryer. When the time is up, the dryer stops. The automatic cycle runs the dryer until the temperature and moisture level are consistent with your settings on the control panel. The electronic sensor measures the moisture level and stops the dryer when the desired level of moisture is achieved. What the automatic cycle does is use a special sensor to determine moisture levels inside of the dryer. This can save you money by shutting off the dryer when your clothes are dry by shutting down the heat source.
Maintaining proper airflow is very important. You need to clean the lint filter after every load. You should also periodically clean out the ducts. Check the door and drum seals for leaks as often as you remember to. You can also vacuum out the lint and dust buildup from your appliance.