Is a Squeaky Dryer Dangerous to Keep Using?
Author: Omar Alonso | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Is your dryer making a squeaking sound during operation? Bad news, this could be a sign of an internal issue with the machine. Is a squeaky dryer dangerous?
While it's not usually a problem that affects the normal use of the dryer, it's a good idea to have it looked at to prevent further damage to the unit. Let's unpack the potential causes of a squeaky dryer and whether it's safe to use the machine or not.
Is a Squeaky Dryer Dangerous?
Is a squeaky dryer safe to use? Is it going to create a fire hazard in your home or ruin your clothes? While the squeaking noise might be nothing to worry about, it could also be a red flag indicating a severe internal problem that could lead to a mechanical or electrical failure.
Usually, if your clothes dryer is squeaking, that's a sign that one of its internal components is worn or broken. If you don't identify the cause of the issue, it could get worse and cause further damage to the machine.
A squeaky dryer might seem more of an annoyance than a problem, but why bother messing with it if it still works? Please don't make that mistake and become complacent, have someone look at the machine and repair the problem before it worsens.
Diagnosing the Cause of a Squeaky Dryer
To identify the cause of the squeaking issue, unplug the dryer and remove the rear access panel. Look for any parts that look damaged or worn. This might be challenging if you don't know what you're looking for. In that case, you're going to need to send the machine to a service center for assessment and repairs.
However, if you have handy skills and the right replacement parts, servicing your dryer yourself isn't too much hassle. But before you can fix the machine, you need to find out what's causing the problem. What causes a dryer to squeak? Follow these steps to inspect the appliance and source the issue:
- Turn off the power outlet and remove the plug. If you have a gas-powered dryer, turn the gas off.
- Inspect the drum for objects like screws, nails, coins, or paperclips that might be trapped in the drum perforations.
- Use a spirit level to check for wobbling in the drum.
- Examine the baffles and lifters. Replace or tighten them if necessary.
- Examine the drum glides if you notice brown specks on your clothing after taking it out of the dryer.
- If you notice black streaks on your clothes when removing them from the dryer, it's a sign that the felt seal needs replacing.
Those black streaks are from your clothes tumbling and getting caught in the door seal and being pulled on through the crack.
Also, don’t think that just because your dryer isn’t obviously moving around the room that wobbling from being un-level isn’t the cause. It can also be wobbling while spinning fast due to heavy, uneven loads like when you dry shoes in the dryer.
What Causes a Dryer to Squeak? 6 Possible Causes
If your basic diagnosis doesn't bring up any issues, you might have a problem with a malfunction in the dryer's mechanical parts. Is a squeaky dryer dangerous? Don't panic about it, just assess the issue for now. Here are the six most common causes of a squeaky dryer.
1) Loose Screws
Sometimes, the issue causing the squeak is something as simple as a loose screw or bolt. Check the fasteners and tighten any that feel loose.
2) Perished Drum Pads
The drum pads, also known as glides or slides, allow for seamless, smooth rotation of the dryer drum. These parts perish with age, and if they become worn, they can cause a squeak when it operates. If you notice one of the drum pads looks worn, you'll need to replace the entire set.
3) Worn Dryer Belt
The dryer belt rotates the drum in gas-powered and electric models. The belt is another component of the dryer that's prone to perishing over time. Excessive wear of the belt can lead to squeaking. Remove the dryer's front panel and inspect the drum belt for any signs of cracking and fraying. If you notice damage, you'll have to replace the part.
4) Seized or Dry Drum Bearings
The most common cause of a squeaky dryer is worn, dry, or seized drum bearings. The bearings support the back end of the drum, assisting in the smooth rotation of the unit.
Usually, the bearing doesn't stop squeaking until the drum stops rotating. You can manually turn the drum to see if it causes the squeaking sound. If that's the case, you'll need to replace the bearings.
5) Worn Support Rollers
Most dryer drums have a set of rollers supporting them while it's in motion. These rollers look like small wheels with bearings in the center for smooth operation. If the rollers wear out or fray, they cause squeaking, especially with heavier loads in the drum.
6) Damaged or Worn Blower Fan
The blower fan, or wheel as it's otherwise called, forces the air into the drum, where it's heated to dry your clothes and then moves to the exit vent. Fans can collect lint or wear out over the years, causing a squeaking noise, depending on the extent of the damage.
Inspect the fan for debris, clean it, and see if it makes any difference. Worn fans may also cause a thumping sound when the dryer is operating.
FAQ’s Regarding the Safety of a Squeaky Dryer
Whenever the topic of a squeaky appliance comes up, everyone wonders the same things, which results in a lot of similar questions. Let’s cover those now so you aren’t left contemplating without answers.
Is a Squeaky Dryer Dangerous to Use?
A squeaky dryer usually won't cause a fire hazard in the same way an overheating dryer might. Most of the causes of squeaks in the dryer are minor issues. That said, a professional should look at the dryer to locate and fix the problem. Leaving the dryer to continue to squeak is asking for trouble.
The problem could worsen, causing other issues to develop with the dryer than might end up causing a fire hazard. If your dryer is still under warranty, take it to an approved service center. Provided the problem isn't caused by general wear and tear, the manufacturer should fix it for free. In most cases, a squeaky dryer is a cheap fix.
Do I Need to Repair My Dryer if it Always Squeaks?
Most dryers make some level of noise when they operate. However, if you noticed a squeak in the machine from the first time you used it, it could be a sign of a severe problem with the unit that comes from the manufacturing process.
Most dryers make some sort of minor squeak when they're new, especially if you overload the drum. However, prolonged squeaking and worsening squeaking noises are signs of a manufacturing defect.
If that's the case, take the machine back to the retailer or an approved service center, and they'll source and fix the problem for you for free if it's still under warranty. Most dryers come with a one to five-year warranty from the date of purchase that covers these problems.
What Does it Cost to Repair a Squeaky Dryer?
The cost of repairing your dryer varies, depending on what's wrong with the machine. In some cases, it might be an easy fix or not require any repairs at all. However, if you're looking to repair one of the six main reasons causing the problem, you could spend between $100 and $400.
If you're doing a DIY repair, you'll only have to pay for the replacement parts. However, taking it to a repair center will include labor in the job. Parts can vary in price, from $5 to $50, depending on the manufacturing brand and the model.
When Do I Replace a Squeaky Dryer?
Depending on the manufacturing brand, most dryers come with warranties ranging from one to five years. The manufacturer will replace the faulty or worn parts for free if anything breaks in this warranty period. However, you'll have to foot the repair bill if it's outside the warranty period.
In some cases, repairing or refurbishing a dryer can cost nearly as much as replacing the machine. Typically, dryers have a 10 to 13-year service life, depending on the manufacturing brand and model. If your dryer is older than this, you might consider replacing it rather than refurbishing it.
Key Takeaways Regarding Squeaky Dryers
Let’s summarize the main points of important knowledge from above so we can easily reference them in the future. Is a squeaky dryer dangerous? Well, let's do a recap:
- Using a squeaky dryer is annoying, but it isn't dangerous.
- Most squeaks aren't signs that your dryer presents an electrical fire hazard.
- If your clothes dryer is squeaking, it's a sign that you're potentially overloading the machine or that there's a problem that might be easy to fix.
- If you have basic DIY skills, remove the rear and front panels of the machine, and look for the problem.
- The primary causes of severe squeaking in dryers are worn parts that operate the drum.
- Common components causing squeaks are the rollers, bearings, drum pads, belts, or a combination of parts.
- If you have a severe squeak, book the machine into a service center for assessment and repairs rather than keep using it.
- The squeak will eventually progress into a major problem that might cost more to fix than if you repaired it when you first noticed the problem.
- If you have a new machine making a squeaking noise, it could be a sign of a manufacturing defect.
- New dryers come with warranties of one to five years. Repairs during this period are generally free unless you've done something to damage the machine causing the fault.
- The average dryer has a 10 to 13-year service life. After this period, it will probably cost you more to repair than replace the machine.
If your dryer is new, act on this problem now while it’s under warranty. If the squeaking has recently started, take care of it soon before the problem becomes larger and more expensive. Basically, just get it done!
So, Is a Squeaky Dryer Dangerous?
In general, no, you’re not under any immediate risk of anything but the problem becoming worse over time. The sound is coming from parts rubbing together that shouldn’t, which is going to eventually cause a malfunction. Is a squeaky dryer dangerous to the point of there being a fire? No, not usually, but you should consult a professional, because every situation is unique.