We rarely consider the importance of clothes dryers until something goes wrong. To avoid having to line dry your clothes or wasting money at the laundromat, you should immediately address any loud noises coming from this appliance. If your dryer is making a loud noise, what could be causing it?
If your dryer is making loud noises, look for foreign objects in the drum or under the lifters. Next, check the airflow for obstructions or lint accumulation. Reposition and level the dryer to prevent it from rattling nearby shelves or appliances. Finally, replace worn parts or contact a technician.
This article explains several ways to fix a noisy dryer and what to do if the problem isn’t an easy fix. Read on to learn more!
Fixes for a Dryer Making Loud Noise
Sometimes, dryers make strange noises not because of damaged internal components but because of external factors. Fortunately, these are usually easy to fix and often don’t require taking the dryer apart or calling a professional.
However, if you rule out easy fixes, you may need to order replacement parts or call in a technician to diagnose and repair the problem with your dryer.
Let’s look at several ways to fix a noisy dryer and when to call in a repair person:
1. Check for Loose Change, Zippers, or Other Objects
Sometimes loose objects may be left in clothes pockets and fall out during the drying cycle.
The dryer’s lifters toss items around in the dryer drum, causing vibrations or clunking noises that people mistake for problems with the appliance. These items may even end up lodged in the lint trap, flapping around as the fan blows air into the drum.
Peek inside the dryer drum, lint trap, and down inside of the lint trap housing to locate and remove any loose objects.
You can remove foreign items carefully using your hands, a magnet (if they’re metal and magnetic), or even a vacuum cleaner hose covered with a nylon stocking (the stocking prevents hard objects from entering the vacuum and causing damage).
Look under the lifters or paddles for loose items. A dryer’s lifters or paddles move the clothing around and prevent them from bunching for more efficient drying. Occasionally, objects find themselves stuck beneath these paddles, causing the noise.
Here’s how to remove dryer lifters to remove any foreign objects:
- Unplug the dryer and locate the holes on top of the lifter. There may be up to six.
- Place the screwdriver in each of these holes, pressing down firmly to locate clips. If the clip is in the hole, you should hear a click indicating you’ve detached the tab. There may be one or two tabs.
- Slide the lifter toward the dryer door and pull it out. Look for any objects underneath and remove them.
- Replace the lifter by raising the clips that held the paddle in place. You can do this using a screwdriver.
- Slide the lifter back into the slots and snap it into place. Repeat this step with all remaining lifters until you’ve removed all loose objects.
2. Check the Dryer’s Airflow
Noise from a dryer could be caused by poor or blocked ventilation. This is not only a nuisance but also a potential fire hazard.
Here’s how to thoroughly check and clean your dryer’s airflow:
- Examine the exterior dryer vent for obstructions, animals, insects, or lint buildup. You can find the vent on the exterior wall next to your dryer. In some homes, it may be on the roof. Inspect the vent while the dryer is operating. If you don’t feel any air flowing, the vent is probably clogged or blocked.
- Clean the lint trap. Lint filters should be cleaned after every load. Allowing lint to accumulate in the lint trap creates a significant fire hazard.
- Check the vent behind the dryer. Unplug the dryer from the power source and tilt it away from wall. Get behind it and detach any hose clips from the aluminum vent hose. Disconnect the hose from the dryer. Inspect the vent for any damage. If the hose is damaged, you’ll need to order a replacement. Check for lint build-up and use a vacuum hose to remove any.
- Secure the hose connections. Ensure the vent is correctly connected to the outside vent and the appliance. There should be no kinks, awkward positions, or downward angles. You should take the shortest route to connect the dryer vent to the outside vent.
3. Reposition the Dryer
If there are no loose objects in the drum, the lifters are clear, and the vents are unobstructed, the next thing to do is reposition the dryer.
Dryers use numerous moving parts. Because of this, they may move slightly as they run due to the vibrations. This can cause them to shift up against a wall or neighboring appliances. If they’re close enough to other objects, they may rattle shelves or other furnishings, creating strange sounds.
Sometimes, fixing this issue is as simple as repositioning the dryer by moving it away from the objects in question to see if the noises cease. However, the dryer may move back over time, causing the problem again. You can remedy this by padding the sides of the dryer with silicone padding or acoustic insulation.
Another way to prevent dryer noise caused by the positioning is by ensuring the dryer is on a level surface. You can use a level to determine if it’s perfectly straight or not.
Any imbalance can cause the drum to move unevenly which can lead to noise and even cause internal components to wear out faster. Sometimes all you need to do is adjust the dryer feet to fix this issue.
If you’ve discovered the issue is just the sound your dryer makes (i.e., low humming, soft vibrations, etc.), but you find the sound especially bothersome, you should consider soundproofing your laundry room.
4. Repair or Replace Faulty Parts in the Dryer
When all else fails, it’s time to assume the problem is due to an internal component. You’ll have to decide if you’re experienced enough to fix the problem at home or if you require the expertise of a professional.
If you decide to fix the dryer at home, be warned that you’ll most likely have to completely remove the top and front panels of the dryer and completely detach and remove the drum to access the critical parts.
If you’re unfamiliar with this, it’s best to leave it to the pros. It’s also best to stick with professional technicians when dealing with a gas-powered dryer or one hardwired to your home.
Before ordering replacement parts, you’ll have to diagnose the problem. From there, you can access the user manual to learn more about what parts you’ll need based on your dryer’s model number.
The next section explains certain sounds associated with dryers and what worn internal components typically make those sounds. This should make it easier to make an accurate diagnosis.
Common Reasons for a Dryer Making a Loud Noise
If you suspect your dryer is making loud noises due to worn parts, you can help narrow down the cause by listening to the type of sound it makes.
Dryer Makes a Thumping, Bumping, or Banging Sound
Loud bumps, thumps, or bangs coming from a dryer may be due to worn inner components, such as a roller needing repair or a damaged belt. Damaged drive belts on dryers cause the drum to become loose. Due to the lack of tension, the drum may bump against the inside of the dryer, creating a knocking sound. Sometimes, thumping may also indicate a faulty blower wheel.
Dryer Makes a Grinding, Scraping, or Metal-Like Sound
The sound of metal against metal is an awful noise that nobody wants to hear coming from an expensive appliance like a dryer. This abrasive clanging is probably the drum rubbing against the back of the dryer and is most likely caused by a worn drum bearing. It’s important to have this fixed immediately, as a bad drum bearing can burn out your dryer’s motor.
Dryer Makes a High-Pitched Screech or Squeal
High-pitched sounds coming from a dryer are usually due to pulleys or belts needing replacement. Idler pulleys, drive belts, and rollers all make a squeaking, screeching, or squealing sound when they wear down due to increased friction. High-pitched sounds may also come from worn drum bearings early on, which eventually progress into loud clunking noises.
Dryer Makes a Rattling, Vibrating Noise
Rattling or vibratory sounds are often due to worn lifters, malfunctioning blower fan, faulty motor pulley, or a defective drive motor. The drive motor turns the blower and drum; it typically causes a humming noise, which often indicates a bad switch on the motor. In that case, the entire motor should be replaced.
When a dryer makes a loud noise, it can be pretty stressful, as these are expensive appliances. Fortunately, there are several instances when a dryer making noise isn’t due to defective parts.
In those cases, you can fix the problem in only a few quick, easy steps. Sometimes, the problem is due to malfunctioning parts; in that case, you’ll have to order replacements and repair the appliance or contact a pro.