Besides the obvious irritation from a noisy dryer, irregular dryer noises are often an indication that something isn’t right with the dryer, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even if your unit is functioning perfectly, it’s best to look into what’s causing the noise so that it doesn’t degenerate into something worse.
Dryers make a range of noises, and each noise is often a pointer to what may be wrong with the unit. Here is a detailed guide on all the noises dryers make and how you can tackle them.
Dryers can make a variety of noises. Figuring out the cause depends on the noise and where in the dryer it is coming from. Sometimes the same problem can cause different sounds. Causes include loose screws, foreign objects in the drum, or broken or worn rollers, glides, pulleys, motors, or belts.
More often than not, a buzzing noise is a sign that the motor or one of its components isn’t functioning properly.
Here are the major causes of buzzing noises in dryers.
End of Cycle Buzzer
Some dryer models feature a buzzer to alert you whenever a cycle is coming to an end. The noise from the buzzer isn’t a cause for alarm, and if you’ve had your dryer for a while, you should be familiar with this sound.
Disabling the buzzer is the best way to silence an end-of-cycle buzzer if it is annoying you.
Here is a video to help you through the process.
Obstruction in Blower Wheel
Over time, lint can build up around the dryer’s motor and blower, and items like coins and paper clips can also get stuck in the blower.
An obstruction in the blower can either limit its movement or prevent it from moving completely. This will prevent the motor from running properly, resulting in a buzzing sound.
To determine if this is the cause of the noise, locate the blower and if you notice lint or other items around its wheels, a clean-up should solve the problem.
Faulty Motor Start Capacitor
The start capacitor helps to jump-start the motor.
As the dryer ages, the capacitor can fail progressively, and make a buzzing sound as it tries to start the motor but fails.
If the buzzing is caused by a defective start capacitor, you will experience start-up issues or the dryer won’t even start up at all.
The only way to fix this problem is to replace the start capacitor.
Here is a helpful video.
Failing Internal Motor
As the dryer ages, the motor will start to fail. This often results in persistent buzzing as the drum rotates.
If the noise is caused by a faulty motor, you might notice that the noise level is influenced by the dryer load. A burning smell might also accompany the buzzing.
If the problem is a failing motor, it will have to be replaced.
Buzzing sometimes sounds similar to humming, so if these tips do not help, you can check out the humming section of this article.
If you own a gas dryer, it’s normal for the dryer to produce a clicking noise throughout the drying cycle. This happens as the gas valve opens and closes.
Clicking is usually not a sign of any serious issue.
Most times, it’s caused by metal or solid plastic items coming in contact with the drum while it spins.
If you are drying clothes with zippers, buttons, belts, drawstrings, snaps, and other metal or solid plastic elements, they can cause your dryer to click if proper precautions aren’t followed before putting them in the dryer.
Similarly, if you have metal items in your pockets, they can click against the drum.
To know if the problem is from your clothing, run an empty cycle, and if the clicking stops, then the problem is your clothing.
To prevent a reoccurrence, ensure that you turn clothes with zippers or buttons inside out before putting them in the dryer. Also, always empty out your pockets before washing your clothes.
Because rattling and clicking sound similar, the terms are often interchanged, so if these do not work, you should check out the rattling section of this article.
It is normal for a dryer to produce a low humming noise while running. The sound is usually produced as the blower pulls air from the dryer into the vent.
Here are the major causes of loud humming noises in dryers.
Object Preventing the Drum From Turning
Items like coins or buttons can fall off clothing and get stuck between the drum and the dryer housing.
Depending on the location, this might prevent the drum from spinning and cause the dryer to make humming noises.
To check if a foreign object is affecting your dryer’s operation, you’d have to open the top and possibly the front panel, and then, using a flashlight, inspect the corners and edges of the drum for unwanted items.
If you find something, carefully remove it, and try running your dryer again.
Dryers have a set of rollers that support the drum and help it turn freely. If these get damaged, the dryer might not be able to spin and would make humming noises.
If the problem is a worn-out roller, the humming is often accompanied by other sounds like thumping, grinding, or squeaking.
Replacing the rollers should quiet the dryer.
Here is a video to help you replace the rollers.
Damaged Drive Belt
The drive belt is essential for the rotation of the drum and whenever it gets damaged, the drum will not spin properly.
The humming from a damaged belt is often accompanied by other noises like thumping or squeaking.
To determine if the problem is the belt, you would have to pop up the top panel and inspect the belt for signs of wear.
If you have a defective belt, it would have to be replaced.
Here is a helpful video.
Faulty Motor or Motor Component
The motor is responsible for creating the motion required for rotating the drum and the blower.
Here are some of the top causes of humming from the motor:
- Frozen or damaged motor bearing: The bearing can get jammed and if this is the case, you could simply apply grease to loosen it up and then try turning it with your hands to see if it responds. If lubrication doesn’t work, the bearing may be defective, and this would have to be replaced.
- Stiff or damaged centrifugal switch: This switch facilitates the start winding of the motor. Adding lubrication to the switch would help if it is stiff. But if it is damaged, it would have to be replaced.
- Damaged motor: The motor can get worn out over time or it can get “shot”. If the problem is a faulty motor, you might notice a burning smell along with the humming. The only way to tackle a faulty motor is to replace it.
Rattling is often caused by a loose dryer component or foreign items rattling around the dryer.
Since there is no way to determine the exact cause of the sound without inspecting the dryer, I recommend that you listen closely to determine in which part of the dryer the sound is most prevalent, and then start your inspection from there.
Items in Dryer’s Pedestal
Dryers vibrate, and this movement would often lead to rattling if your dryer is set on a pedestal and there are solid items in the drawers.
If you have items on top of the dryer they can cause the dryer to make rattling noises as well.
To check if this is the culprit, empty out items in the pedestal’s drawers and on top of the dryer and run the dryer to see if the sound persists.
Metal or Solid Plastic Items in the Drum
Things like coins, pins, pens, and buttons can slip out/off of clothes into the drum and when this happens, the dryer will produce an annoying rattling noise as the item(s) tumbles within the dryer.
To determine if this is the cause of the rattling, remove clothes from the dryer and thoroughly inspect the drum using a flashlight. If you find anything, remove it and run an empty cycle to see if the noise persists.
To prevent a reoccurrence, always empty out pockets before putting clothing in the dryer.
Dryer Isn’t Level or Is Too Close to Other Furniture
Dryers are supposed to rest evenly on the floor and if yours is sitting unevenly, the vibration can cause the foot of your dryer to rattle against the floor.
The dryer can also rattle if it is sitting too close to appliances or furniture, so ensure that it is not set too close to the wall or surrounding furniture/appliances.
Loose Components and Screws
Loose panels, screws, or other dryer components can also cause a rattling sound as the dryer vibrates.
Discovering the source of the noise might take a while as it involves opening up and closely inspecting the inside of the dryer for anything that might be loose or out of place.
It’s best to start from the section where the noise is loudest.
Inspect the dryer for loose, screws and if you find any, tighten them. Pay close attention to the rear of the control panel as constant usage can sometimes cause the panel screws to get loose and rattle against the dryer.
A loose motor pulley would also cause the dryer to make a rattling noise. If this is the cause, tightening the pulley should solve the problem.
A loose or misaligned exhaust vent can also cause rattling noises. So, check that the vent is installed firmly and also check that the screws are tightly fitted.
Personally, I find grinding and scraping noises to be like nails on a chalkboard. There’s just something about the sound of metal grinding against metal that gives me the creeps.
Here are the top causes of grinding noises in cloth dryers.
The load capacity of a dryer varies from one unit to the next and if you overload your dryer, you’d be putting too much pressure on its components.
Overloading isn’t always about how many clothes you put in the dryer but also how heavy they are.
If clothes are wetter than normal at the beginning of a cycle, the extra weight can cause the dryer to make grinding noises. Heavier materials will also have an impact.
So, always ensure that you aren’t drying too many clothes at once, and make adjustments according to how wet they are and what materials they are made from.
You can also check your washer setting to ascertain that its spin cycle is removing moisture from clothes so that they aren’t soaked when you put them in the dryer.
Something Caught in Drum Seam
Sometimes, items like coins, paper clips, and other small items can get stuck along the front or rear seams of the drum, resulting in a grinding noise whenever the drum rotates.
To determine if this is the cause of the grinding noise, inspect the front and rear edges of the drum for items that might be stuck. If you find any, carefully remove them and check to see if the noise persists.
Drum glides support the drum and provide a safe and smooth surface for the drum to rotate on.
If your glides are worn, your dryer will make scraping sounds as the drum rubs against metal.
If you inspect the glides and notice signs of wear or your drum looks like it has slipped down or forwards, they would have to be replaced.
Here is a video guide to help with the process.
Worn Out Drum Seal
Drum seals are usually made from felt and they act as a cushion between the front and rear bulkheads of the dryer.
Over time, they can wear out, causing the exposed metal edges to grind against the drum as it rotates.
A worn-out felt seal would have to be replaced.
Here is a helpful video on how to replace the felt seal.
Screeching or squealing noises from tumble dryers are often caused by the wear of dryer components.
Here are some of the major causes and how you can get rid of the noise.
Overloaded dryers produce a screeching or squealing noise. Overloading places undue strain on the dryer and causes it to struggle to rotate the drum, resulting in a noisy operation.
To determine if this is the problem, reduce the load and run the dryer to see if the noise disappears.
Reducing the dryer load and running a washer spin cycle before putting clothing in the dryer should solve the problem.
Worn Drum Glides
Along with grinding noises worn drum glides also produce screeching sounds.
On inspection, you should be able to see if the glides are worn. If they are worn, they would have to be replaced.
Damaged Drum Bearing
Over time, drum bearings can wear out, and when this happens, the rotation of the drum will be accompanied by screeching or squealing noises.
Inspecting the bearing will help you determine if it is defective.
If you notice charring, expansion of the bearing hole, or any other form of damage, the bearing will have to be replaced.
Here is a helpful video.
Worn Idler Pulley
Screeching noises that come from the front-right side of the dryer are most likely caused by a worn-out idler puller.
The idler puller acts as a tensioner and places tension on the drive belt so that the drum rotates seamlessly. If it is worn, the dryer won’t rotate as smoothly as it should, resulting in a noisy operation.
If the squealing is caused by a worn pulley, it will have to be replaced.
Here is a video to help you through the process.
It isn’t unusual for new dryers to squeak upon start-up the first few times they are used. The squeaking usually wears off after a few drying cycles, so it shouldn’t be a cause for worry.
However, if your dryer is old, squeaking noises might be an indication that something isn’t right with the unit.
Worn Glide Bearing
Glide bearings enable the drum to glide smoothly against the front seal.
Over time it can start disintegrating and when this happens the dryer might make squeaking noises.
Squeaking from the front of the dryer it might be a sign of a worn glide bearing.
If you notice signs of wear while inspecting the glide bearing, it would have to be replaced.
Defective Drum Rollers
Dryers typically have 2-3 drum rollers that support and hold the drum in place while it rotates.
Over time the rollers can wear out and cause a squeaking noise as the dryer spins.
To determine if the squeaking is caused by the roller, you need to open up the dryer and inspect them for signs of wear. If they look worn, stiff, flat, or broken, they would have to be replaced.
Worn Out Rear Bearings
Another noise that a worn rear bearing emits is a squeaking sound.
The bearings are located at the back of the dryer, so if the squeaking is prevalent in that region, the problem could be that the bearing is wearing out.
To determine if the noise is from the bearing, inspect the bearing and if you notice signs of wear, it will have to be replaced.
Here is a helpful video.
Worn Motor Bearing
The motor bearing ensures that the dryer runs smoothly without noise or undue friction, even at a high speed.
Whenever the bearing is worn, there would be increased friction as the motor turns and this can lead to squeaking noises.
It’s essential that worn bearings be replaced so that they do not damage your motor.
Over time, constant usage, as well as friction within the dryer, can cause the belt to fray, stretch, crack or wear out.
When this happens, the drum won’t turn as smoothly as it should, resulting in a range of noises, including squeaking.
If the squeak is coming from the top of the dryer then you are most likely dealing with a worn belt.
If you notice fraying, cracking, or other signs of wear, the belt will have to be replaced. If the problem recurs and it’s the belt again, then you have to find out what is causing the belt to break.
Worn Idler Pulley
Besides screeching and squealing noises another noise that a worn idler pulley produces is a squeaking sound.
If the noise is coming from the lower front portion of your dryer you might have to check the idler pulley.
Once you’ve opened up the dryer and removed the drum, inspect the pulley for wear.
If it is not rolling freely, adding a few drops of grease might quiet the dryer and if it is loose, tightening it might stop the squeaking.
However, if it is stiff or shows signs of wear, you would have to replace the pulley.
If you haven’t used your dryer in a while or left clothing in it for an extended period, you may hear thumping noises when next you switch on the dryer. However, the noise is only temporary and disappears after a few drying cycles.
Drying shoes or any item that is at risk of banging against the drum can result in a noisy performance.
Also, bulky items like bedding can ball up in the washer and then bang against the dryer. So, ensure that you shake out large items before putting them in the dryer.
Here are some more serious causes of thumping noises in dryers.
The blower draws air into the drum from the heating chamber and out the exhaust. The wheel is usually made of plastic and can wear out over time.
To determine if the blower wheel is defective, open up the dryer to access the blower and then turn it by hand. If it wobbles or if you notice any sign of wear, it will have to be replaced.
The blower wheel can also make thumping noises if its movement is restricted by lint or debris. If this is the cause of the noise, cleaning out the blower wheel should solve the problem.
Check the Drum Rollers
Thumping or knocking noise can also be a sign that the drum support rollers are faulty.
Drum rollers provide support for the drum as it rotates. If they get flat or worn out, the drum wouldn’t be able to spin freely and this might cause the dryer to make a thumping noise whenever the drum rotates.
If you notice signs of wear on the rollers, they will have to be replaced.
Defective Drive Belt
The drive belt helps to spin the drum and over time it can get cracked, frayed, or worn.
When this happens, the drum wouldn’t be able to rotate properly, and this sometimes causes the dryer to make a knocking or thumping noise throughout the drying cycle.
To diagnose a faulty belt, open the top panel of the dryer and inspect the belt for signs of wear. If you notice any defect, the belt will have to be replaced.
Worn-Out Idler Pulley
When the pulley starts to wear out, it can make squeaking noises, which would degenerate into a louder thumping noise as the pulley shaft wears out more.
A defective idler pulley needs to be replaced promptly so that it doesn’t affect the performance of the dryer.
Sometimes, the banging is not actually coming from the dryer. The external vent can bang when the weather is windy.
Whistling noises are usually an indication that there is a problem within the burner assembly of gas dryers.
However, if you just purchased the dryer or just had work done on the burner assembly, the dryer might release whistling noise that goes away after a few cycles.
Gas burners typically ignite a few seconds after you turn on the dryer, but if it takes too long for the flame to ignite, it might be a sign that there is a problem with a burner element.
Clogged Burner Component
Over time, lint and dust can build up around the burner. If they find their way into the aperture of the air shutter or gas valve, the dryer might produce whistling noises due to the increased pressure as air flows through the compressed hole.
Cleaning and carefully removing debris from the opening of the gas valve or air shutter might get rid of the noise. But most times, it’s best to have the part replaced.
Misadjusted Air Shutter
Besides gas, the dryer also needs oxygen to produce heat. The air shutter helps to supply air to the burner.
The shutter also controls how much air enters the burner. If it isn’t properly adjusted, air might be released at high pressure and this can cause whistling noises as air flows out of the shutter.
If this is the problem, readjusting the shutter should stop the whistling.
Faulty Gas Valve
Gas valves control the flow of gas into the burner and if a defect restricts gas flow, it might cause the dryer to release whistling noises.
Examine the gas valve and if you notice defects, it needs to be replaced.
Here is a helpful video.
Whooshing noises are most common with gas dryers.
Here are the two major reasons gas dryers make whooshing noises while running.
The igniter helps to light up the flame. It does this by producing a spark that combines with gas to create a flame.
Over time, it can start to fail, and this might result in delayed ignition.
Whenever there is delayed ignition, the gas will be released as usual but the igniter would take longer to create a flame.
This would cause gas to build up in the burner and might result in a whooshing noise when the igniter finally lights up.
If you observe your gas burner and notice that the flame is taking too long to come up, you might have to replace your igniter.
Here is a helpful video.
Defective Gas Valve
The gas valve regulates the flow of gas into the burner and when it is defective, there might be an increased flow of gas into the burner.
If the gas that enters the burner is higher than it should, the increased gas level in the burner will release a whooshing sound similar to that of a blowtorch as the igniter ignites the flame.
A yellow flame might be an indication of a faulty gas valve, but it’s best to open up the dryer and access the valve for defects.
If it is faulty, the valve would have to be replaced.