Is It Safe To Use A Squeaky Dryer?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
Dryers are loud as is but squeaking noises can raise a red flag during operation. It is typically safe to use a dryer when it squeaks, but you should still have it looked at. Whether it be risking a fire hazard or causing further damage, let’s explore what it means when your dryer squeaks.

If you have read through many of my articles, you probably noticed how frequently I mention the importance of using tools that are in decent shape. A rusty saw can cause serious injury, as can blades that are now blunted. That’s obvious, but other tool use dealbreakers aren’t so obvious. This is especially true with appliances that make a little extra noise. Is it even safe to use a squeaky dryer?

Though it’s not a good idea to ignore a dryer that’s squeaking or squealing, most situations where using a dryer that squeaks should be safe. Squeaking noises are a sign of a break in your dryer’s parts. Repeated use of a squeaking dryer without repairing the issue can cause further damage, potentially to the point that it becomes a fire hazard.

A squeaky dryer might appear to be a nuisance, but it’s a sign that something clearly isn’t right with your appliance. Before you load up your dryer, here’s what you should know about the squeaks, squeals, and squooks you’re hearing.

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Is It Safe To Use A Squeaky Dryer?

For the most part, squeaky dryers are not going to be a cause of a dryer fire. So while there’s always a chance that you might have a fire hazard on your hands, most squeaking dryers aren’t going to pose that big a risk. In this sense, using a squeaky dryer is relatively safe, even if it’s annoying.

However, this doesn’t mean that using a squeaky dryer should be done on a regular basis. A squeaky dryer is a dryer that has one or more parts that are failing. Ignoring the squeaks for a prolonged period of time means that you are going to make those problems get worse. If you wait too long to fix them, you will end up with a dryer that’s beyond repair.

What If My Dryer Always Squeaked When It’s In Use?

Here’s where you need to be a little discerning. Most dryers are not going to be totally silent when it comes to their usage. Even with brand new dryers, you might hear a teensy, tiny bit of squeaking if you load it up too much. That’s normal, and honestly, you should have a “baseline” of dryer noise that you’re used to.

You should only start to worry if you notice that your dryer is no longer making the standard noises it once did. If you notice new sounds or a loud screech, you should finish up your last load and then look into the issue.

What Causes A Dryer To Squeak?

At a very basic level, a squeaky dryer is caused by parts that are malfunctioning inside. That being said, there are several parts that can lead to squeaks. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Dryer Drum Bearings. Bearings, are the most common cause of a squeaky dryer. These are what support the back end of the dryer’s drum and helps the drum rotate. In most cases, the bearings won’t stop squeaking until the drum stops moving. To check if the bearings are the cause of the squeaking, rotate the drum manually. If you notice any resistance or hear the squeaking sound, replace your drum bearings.
  • Drum Pads. Also known as “slides” or “glides,” these pads are meant to make dryer rotation smooth and seamless. As the pads age, they will become worn. When worn out, grinding, squeaking, and scraping noises can occur. If one of your drum pads need to be replaced, it’s always best to switch out the whole set.
  • Dryer Belt. Your dryer drum is going to be rotated through the use of a dryer belt, whether it’s electric or gas. Like the drum pads, over time the belt will deteriorate, causing it to become brittle in certain areas. When the belt becomes worn, it can cause your dryer to squeak. To inspect the belt, remove the front panel and look for any signs of fraying and cracks. Either will warrant a replacement.
  • Blower Fan. To get ventilation in your dryer, you’re going to need a fan. The blower fan, or wheel, is what forces the heated air through your dryer’s drum and out the vent. Occasionally, fans will end up collecting lint, debris or just getting worn out. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may hear a squealing noise or a thumping noise.
  • Dryer Support Rollers. Along with the bearings and other gizmos supporting the dryer’s drum, most drums will also have a series of rubber rollers to support it. They are similar to rubber wheels with a bearing in the center. If the rollers end up becoming frayed or worn out, you might hear intermittent squeaking with heavier loads or as the dryers heats.
  • Loose Screws. Sometimes, the issue that’s causing your dryer to make noise isn’t something inside, but rather, just a loose screw that’s getting jostled around during your cleaning session.

How Do You Diagnose A Squeaky Dryer?

The easiest way to diagnose a squeaky dryer is to unplug it, open it up, and look at what parts appear to be frayed or damaged. To fix your dryer, just replace the parts that look worn or frayed. Of course, if you are unfamiliar with the appliance or what to look for, you may have a tough time.

Most people who need a diagnostic on their dryer call up a repairman to do it. The same can be said with repairs, too. However, dryer repairs are not especially challenging tasks, so long as you have the necessary replacement parts. First, you must identify the problem.

Follow the steps outlined below to perform your own diagnostic on your squeaky dryer:

  • Make sure that you shut off the power to the dryer before you inspect or perform any work on it. For gas dryers, turn off the gas as well.
  • Inspect the drum for nails, screws, paperclips, or toothpicks trapped in the perforations. If these small items are responsible, your problem is easily solved by removing them.
  • Check for wobbling by using a level.
  • Look at the lifters and baffles. If loose, they may need to be replaced or tightened.
  • If you’re experiencing brown flecks on your clean clothing, inspect the drum glides.
  • Black streaks occur on clothes when they become trapped on the felt seal. This is a good indication that the seal needs replacing.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Squeaky Dryer?

Let’s say that you want to fix your dryer ASAP, but you’re not sure your budget will allow for it. What can you expect to have happen? Is it even worth checking out? It all depends on what’s wrong with your dryer and what it will take to fix it. The average cost to fix a faulty dryer, regardless of the issue, will be between $100 and $400.

If you choose to repair it on your own, then the price that you’ll pay will be equal to the cost of replacement parts. Dryer replacement parts can vary in price from as little as $5 to upwards of $50, depending on the make, model, and specific part that you need to replace.

When Should You Replace Your Dryer?

Let’s say that you’ve shopped around for repairmen and gotten a bunch of quotes. Heck, you even tried to fix it yourself without much luck. If you notice that the squeaking has worsened after repairs, or if you notice that your dryer is getting increasingly brittle, then you may need to consider replacing it.

Financially, a clear indicator that you need to replace your dryer is if the price of repairs exceeds the price of a replacement. Additionally, replacement should start to creep into your mind if your dryer is older than 10 years. Most start to go around that mark, with very few making it past the 15-year mark.

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Our Final Take

While using a squeaky dryer isn’t ideal, most of the problems that cause squeaking won’t turn your dryer into a mechanical fire hazard. If anything, it’s a good sign that you probably should finish up that last load of laundry, stick to airdrying for a while, and focus on getting your dryer repaired. You shouldn’t use a dryer that’s making weird noises, as it can lead to further damage and higher repair bills.

Your dryer could be making those sounds for a wide range of different reasons, but most of the time, it has to do with the mechanics around your drum. It could be your drum’s bearings, the support rollers, the belt, or even a combination of them. Most issues are easy to solve through replacement parts.

The best way to handle squeaking is to call a repairman or just do a DIY diagnostic. Then, get the problem solved as soon as you can. If you believe that your dryer is getting to that age where it needs to be replaced, do yourself a favor and take a look at the financials before you make a decision. You might find a quick fix is the smarter route.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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