Money Win: Fixing a Broken Dryer Temperature Switch

My husband is the type of guy who stays up late into the night. It’s not unusual for him to stay up until one or even two o’clock in the morning. I go to bed much later than I should, but most nights I call it quits between eleven and twelve. That means my husband is up and tinkering around the house for a good hour or two after I fall asleep.

In the morning I typically wake up to a bunch of random emails or text messages from him. The other morning I found a picture of a broken dryer knob on my phone.

Just below the photo of the broken knob was a link to an eBay listing for a new one. I ordered the new knob immediately, but it was a holiday weekend and the delivery would be delayed by a few days.

Rather than waiting to run the laundry my brilliant husband decided to use a pair of pliers to manually turn the knob. Deep down I knew this was a bad idea, but I figured he was just going to run one load and call it quits.

Well it turns out he continued running laundry and one night the shaft that he was turning broke right off.

So I received another late night email with a picture of the broken temperature selector switch. This time it read “time for a new dryer.”

I’ll be honest. I didn’t want to buy a new gas dryer. Those suckers are expensive.

Our dryer is ancient. Honestly, it is. We moved into our house eighteen years ago and the dryer was old back then. It doesn’t contain any fancy digital screens or fancy amenities. It turns out that was good news for us. Old dryers have less parts, which means they are much easier to repair than new ones!

I knew our dryer was completely functional it just needed a new switch. So, I hatched a plan. In the morning I walked downstairs with a flat head screwdriver. First, I unplugged the dryer. Then I removed the six screws and a hunk of metal that connected the switches to the top of the dryer.

This part of the dryer looked pretty straightforward. I could see three switches. The first, is the broken temperature selector switch. It allows us to change settings like: air, delicate, normal and permanent press. The second switch controls the buzzer that sounds after the dryer is complete. The last controls the amount of time the dryer should run.

The solution looked rather simple. Pull out the broken switch. Look for a part number on the back and head to the Internet in search of a new one.

In my excitement I yanked the wires, wrote down the part number and took to the Internet. Five minutes later I found exactly one website selling the part I needed. They had two available. No more. No less.

I quickly added the item to my cart, entered my credit card information and waited five days for the part to arrive. As soon as it did I realized I had no idea how the wires should connect! Note to future self: Always take a picture before disassembling!

I searched for online manuals, surprisingly I found one for a thirty year old dryer, but it didn’t contain any details about this particular part. I did find a picture of a previous eBay sale though. It showed a very blurry part with a few wires sticking out. I made a best guess as to how to connect things and started up the dryer.

No luck. The dryer wouldn’t work. Ugh, was the part broken or were my wires simply in the wrong place? After a little tinkering we realized two of the four wires were simply switched. Once we reversed the location of the blue and black wires the dryer fired up!

Total cost: $38. $8 for the new dryer knob and $30 for the dryer switch. That’s a whole lot cheaper than buying a new one for $1000!

We hang almost all of our clothes on a pipe in our basement and only use the dryer to air them out and soften them up after they are already dry. The exception is sheets and towels. We typically throw them in the dryer on heat. I think the dryer knob broke because we are constantly switching between air and heat.

This was a huge money win: We didn’t spend $1000 for a new dryer. A huge environmental win: We didn’t waste a perfectly good appliance.

If you ever experience a similar problem check out videos on the Internet, especially the ones produced by Repair Clinic. (Not an affiliate link.) They gave me the confidence to fix this problem myself!

1 thought on “Money Win: Fixing a Broken Dryer Temperature Switch”

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