When an expensive appliance such as a clothes dryer starts to malfunction it’s a good idea to weigh the benefits of buying a new one against the cost of having it repaired. The dryer’s make, model and age all play into that consideration. Consumer Reports found that people save money using independent repair services compared with factory service technicians. If a dryer is relatively new (five years or less), having it repaired can extend its life that much longer and save money in the long run. According to Greg Mr. Fix It, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, dryers are usually easier to fix than washing machines. He typically charges about $180, including a $65 service fee, to repair dryers.
Gas or electric
Gas-powered appliances are a bit riskier to install and repair because of the gas hookup and possibility of carbon monoxide leaks. Depending on the problem, these appliances can cost more to work on. Gas dryers can suffer from problems with igniters, flame sensors, gas valves and thermal fuses. With electric dryers, the heating element, fuses and thermostat can fail.
Common dryer repairs
In general, repair technicians charge $30–$100 to diagnose a problem, plus that much again per hour to make the repair. Some independent technicians offer lower rates than large companies for diagnosing problems. Ilya Uvaydov, owner of Urban Appliance Repair in Daly City, California, charges $45–$65.
Here is a price list for dryer parts that commonly fail or need replacing:
Safety coils: $160–$280
Clogged vent or duct: $75–$150
Drum belt: $10–$15
Heating element: $30–$200
Fuses: $10 each
Door latch: $5
Vents or ducts with too much lint buildup are a common cause of dryers failing to heat up or dry clothes completely. An easy way to address this problem is to have dryer vents and ducts cleaned. The duct should not be too long or have too many curves in it—both can cause lint buildup, which is also a common cause of household fires.
The relative ease or difficulty a technician faces when accessing a dryer to diagnose a problem and make a repair can affect the total cost as well. If it’s wedged into a tight spot or located on an upper floor, for example, a second technician may need to help move the unit to access the area in need of repair.
Availability of parts
Parts for older appliances can be more difficult to obtain, which could increase the cost—which is another reason that it may not be cost-effective to repair an older dryer. On the other hand, refurbished parts may be available for common dryer makes and models, which can lower the overall repair cost.
Repair versus replace
When deciding whether it’s better to repair a clothes dryer or buy a new one, first compare the cost of the repair with the cost of a new unit, then look at how old the appliance is. It can be worth spending $150–$200 to repair a midrange or high-end dryer that’s less than three years old, for example. While a new basic model costs only $300 or so, a nicer model would cost much more. Repairing it can extend its life so you can get your money’s worth.