How long does a dryer typically last?



People heavily rely on their washer and dryer to handle their laundry needs. When one of these household appliances decides to give out, it can quickly disrupt the entire day. Without a working dryer, you may have clothes air-drying around the house or the hassle of loading up wet clothes and making a trip to the local laundromat. 

The lifespan of an average dryer is between eight and 12 years. That’s a generous life expectancy and a lot of laundry. When you think about it, a lot can happen over the course of a decade, and it can go by in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, the dryer you once knew may not be as efficient or eventually breaks down. With some TLC and regular maintenance, you can help your dryer last as long as possible. 

Knowing the average lifespan of your clothes dryer is helpful for determining the best course of action when dryer components fail. This article will explain some of the major components of this home appliance, tips to help improve its life expectancy, the average cost of dryer repair, and the signs that you likely need a new dryer.


Which components are most likely to break on a dryer?

Your dryer contains several essential components that help keep it running in top condition. When one of these wears down or breaks altogether, you can expect problems with your unit, such as inefficient heating and drying. Of course, this often happens when you need the dryer most. There are several ways you can troubleshoot to find a solution, or you may find it best to contact a service professional who can quickly get your appliance up and running again. 

When a dryer isn’t producing enough heat, you may need to run another cycle to double the drying time. For large households, this can create a laundry traffic jam. Rather than add more drying cycles, though, it’s a good idea to troubleshoot some common issues that affect drying time. 

Begin with the lint trap. Lint buildup can affect the heating efficiency of your appliance and create a fire hazard. If the dryer gasket (the seal on the door) comes loose, airflow can escape and affect your dryer’s operation. You can pick up a new gasket seal at a number of home improvement stores. If this doesn’t increase the heat inside the dryer, the problem might lie with the unit’s heating element. Heating-element failure is a common issue with gas and electric dryers, and an appliance-repair professional can replace this part. 

On the flip side, some dryers can overheat. Although this may sound like a good problem to have, it can damage clothing and might ignite a fire. As when a dryer produces too little heat, check the lint trap and ductwork first. A blockage can limit airflow and make your dryer run hot. If you haven’t cleaned the lint trap in some time, it’s a good idea to run a vacuum over the lint-trap slot and collect any leftover debris. A faulty thermostat or heating element might be the culprit as well. This can prove trickier than removing lint, so you may want to rely on the skill of a technician. 

Another issue homeowners come across is a dryer that stops tumbling the load of laundry. The tumbling action is what circulates the heated air through the laundry. The drum of the dryer is powered by belts and rollers. When one of these components breaks down, the drum will stop spinning. To get it rolling again, an appliance-repair technician can replace the broken part. 

You might run into the issue of the dryer not powering on when you press the button. This can be alarming but does not necessarily mean the end of your clothes dryer. It happens for a variety of reasons, such as the cord being loosely plugged into the socket or a tripped circuit breaker switch. When checking the electric outlet, take a look at the dryer’s power cord, too. Sometimes these can fray and affect power to the unit. 

For gas-powered dryers, check the ignitor. Under normal conditions, the ignitor glows white-hot. If you don’t see any light or glow, the dryer simply can’t heat. You can find a number of replacement kits, or contact a professional if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself. If you find that the power sources are in good condition, it might be a dryer door issue. A front-loading dryer door houses a sensor or switch that indicates when the door is closed completely. When this component malfunctions, the dryer misses the message and won’t start. 

As with every major household appliance or system, you should expect normal wear and tear with your dryer. When you add in a little TLC over its lifetime, you can help get the most time out of your appliance. The following covers some simple maintenance tips homeowners can use to keep their machines running at maximum capacity.


Key dryer maintenance tips

Maintaining your dryer helps improve its productivity and efficiency. You likely already know some ways to help your dryer stay in tiptop shape, but here you might discover some new approaches you can implement.

Although not comprehensive, the following tips provide a good rule of thumb for maintaining your dryer: 

  • Avoid overloading (this also applies to your washing machine). This uses more energy and may not efficiently dry your clothes.
  • Clean the lint screen after each load. You should also give it a good wash every couple of months to remove any dryer-sheet residue. 
  • Check and clean the exhaust vent every year. This helps avoid lint buildup. It’s also a good idea to clean the inside of the vent. 
  • Sweep away any debris under and around the dryer. Then clean inside the dryer to remove any residue. 

By taking these additional steps with your top-loading or front-loader dryer, you can avoid surprise breakdowns and costly repairs.


How much does it cost to have a dryer repaired?

The cost of dryer repair depends on the issue, the model and the brand. However, according to HomeAdvisor, you can generally expect to pay around $180, with gas dryers costing a bit more to repair. If you need to replace the dryer belt specifically, expect to pay around $200 for a professional to replace it. The final bill will also include labor, parts and possibly mileage for travel.


When does it make sense to replace your dryer?

A new appliance is a big-ticket item, and you may feel reluctant to run out and purchase a new dryer. For first-time issues, it might make more sense to schedule a repair. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars. When an old appliance keeps giving you problems, however, it might be time to shop around for a new dryer.

A good practice to follow is the 50% rule. If the dryer is halfway through its lifetime and the repair costs 50% more than the original price, it makes good sense to replace it. If your dryer is still under a manufacturer warranty, all or part of the cost might be covered. You can find out by reviewing the paperwork that came with the appliance or by calling the manufacturer.


Say goodbye to costly dryer repairs with Cinch

Another way to avoid costly repair bills and keep your clothes dryer in working order is with a Cinch Home Services Appliances plan, which covers all of your dryer’s components. A home warranty can be a smart investment, and all Cinch plans come with a 180-day workmanship guarantee, protection for unknown pre-existing conditions, rust and corrosion coverage, and even discounts on new appliances for when it’s definitely time to replace your dryer.

Enjoy your dryer for as long as possible with a Cinch home protection plan. Request a free quote today.


Find out how long a dryer can last and learn how to troubleshoot common issues.