man holding tumble dryer filter

How Long Do Tumble Dryers Usually Last?

Tumble dryers are used daily in many UK homes. And they’re an absolute godsend throughout the winter months when torrential rain is all we seem to get!

But if you’ve noticed a few niggling problems with your machine, you might be thinking about replacing it.

However, before you do dash off to purchase a new appliance, ask yourself if your dryer is actually old enough to be dying on you! You might be surprised to learn about how long tumble dryers usually last.


What Is the Life Expectancy of a Tumble Dryer?

A tumble dryer that is looked after properly can last up to 10 to 13 years in general. And if you’re very lucky, a machine can last up to 15 years sometimes!

It is, however, rare to hear about machines living beyond 15 years in this day and age, but it does happen!

On the other hand, some tumble dryers don’t last much beyond the six-year mark. In these cases, there’s usually a fault with the appliance, or the machine hasn’t been looked after correctly.

The life expectancy of a condenser, heat pump or vented dryer largely depends on the following factors:

  • How much has the dryer been used?
  • How well has the tumble dryer been looked after?
  • Is the tumble dryer made using high-quality parts?

tumble dryer

A well-maintained machine that is cleaned regularly, is treated properly (not overloaded), and is made from high-quality parts should last you several years.

On the flip side, a dryer that is rarely or never cleaned, is mistreated, and is made with cheap materials isn’t going to last as long.

A tumble dryer, like any other appliance, must be looked after and continuously maintained.

If you don’t do the basics, like emptying the lint filter, emptying the condenser box, and cleaning the vent pipe, your machine isn’t going to function effectively.

In turn, small problems will start to hinder the machine, and eventually, bigger and more costly issues will occur and the dryer’s lifespan will be curtailed.

To make the most of your tumble dryer, and to ensure that it sticks around for a very long time, take care of it and try not to buy cheap-cheap models!


How Can You Prolong the Life of a Tumble Dryer?

cleaning tumble dryer filter and vent

The easiest way to keep your tumble dryer alive for longer is to look after it!

Follow the tips below:

    • Clean the lint filter every time you use the dryer.
    • Hoover the gap where the lint filter goes.
    • Clean the vent/hose/condenser box/filter drawer frequently.
    • Make sure your dryer is housed in a well-ventilated area.
    • Don’t pack too much laundry into the machine. Overloading your machine is going to tire it out and will put needless strain on the inner workings of the dryer. If you overload the dryer too often, it will burn out quickly.
    • Give the dryer a rest in between loads! You don’t want the appliance to be overworked and end up overheating.
    • Clean gunk out of the dryer’s drum.
    • Keep the outside of the dryer clean! Don’t let grime build up around the dials and buttons, and wipe the handle/door down frequently.


Is It Worth Repairing a 5-Year-Old Tumble Dryer?

man repairing tumble dryer

A five-year-old tumble dryer isn’t very old. So, there’s a very good chance that the problem(s) you’re experiencing can be sorted out by an engineer.

Nevertheless, you don’t want to go spending too much money fixing the issue. So, keep the ‘50% rule’ in mind.

The rule goes like this…

Find out how much you paid for the dryer originally, then figure out how old your machine is, and finally, find out what needs repairing and how much it’s going to cost (ask an engineer for a quote before they carry out any work). At this point you should have three figures in mind.

If your machine is 50% or more of the way through its average lifespan, and the cost of the repair work is going to be more than half of what you paid for the machine originally, you might as well cut your losses and buy a new tumble dryer.

For example:

Your tumble dryer cost £400 to buy, it’s 5 years old, and the repair work will cost you £230 pounds.

In this case, you should consider buying a new tumble dryer because the repair work will cost you more than half of the original purchase price of the dryer, and it doesn’t make financial sense to spend that amount of money on the appliance.

The money could go towards buying a new machine. And essentially, if you bought a similar machine (around £400), the £230 (repair money) would cover more than half the cost of the new dryer for you.

In addition to thinking about the ‘50% rule’, you should consider whether or not your issue(s) are covered by the warranty on the dryer, or if you took any additional insurance.

If your tumble dryer is still under warranty or you took out insurance, you might be able to get the problems on your five-year-old dryer fixed at no charge.

If this is the case for your dryer, make use of these services and get your young dryer repaired!


Is It Worth Repairing a 10-Year-Old Tumble Dryer?

A ten-year-old tumble dryer is well over halfway through its lifespan, so any repair work might not make financial sense to carry out. Consider the ‘50% rule’ noted above.

It, therefore, might be time to start thinking about replacing the appliance.

That being said, you should always check your machine over for issues, and call an engineer out to have a look at it before you bid a final farewell to it.

Some issues on a well-looked-after, high-quality, ten-year-old dryer can be very easy to fix and won’t cost that much. In turn, you might get several more years of use out of the dryer!


How Do You Know If Your Dryer Is Dying?

tumble dryer repair

If you think your dryer is on its last legs, keep a look out for the telltale signs below.

However, do keep in mind that although the signs below can hint that the end is near for your machine, some of them could indicate a wear and tear issue, and said issue could be fixed.

So, it may not be the ‘end’ for your tumble dryer.

Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Your clothes aren’t dry. This could be resolved by checking and changing a faulty thermostat, for example. But it could also be a sign that several parts have broken down and the machine won’t function as it should without being repaired.
  • Your clothes are taking a lot longer to dry than usual. This could also be a sign of a faulty thermostat, or perhaps you’ve just overloaded the machine with too much washing, and the dryer can’t handle the load.
  • Funny noises are coming from the machine. If you can hear loud banging noises, squealing, or a mixture of different and unfamiliar sounds, you’ve got a problem. However, it could also be a sign that a bearing has gone, or something is trapped/loose in the machine and could be fixed for very little cost.
  • There’s a funny smell coming from the dryer, usually like a burning smokey scent. This issue should be fixed immediately, and you shouldn’t use the dryer until the problem has been sorted out.
  • The wiring has started to come loose and is showing when you remove the back of the appliance.
  • The back of the appliance is coming loose or has fallen off/become damaged.
  • The dryer isn’t following instructions. For example, it won’t start up or is cutting out mid-cycle. If the dryer won’t switch on, the socket on the wall could be faulty and is not delivering electricity to the machine. If this is the case, you may not have to replace your machine. Although, the issue could be more problematic, and you’ll have to speak to an engineer.
  • The machine’s age. As appliances age, little niggles start to appear here and there. It’s not uncommon at all. But at some point, you’ve got to ask yourself if repairing the machine is actually worth it. If you’re going to be spending a small fortune on fixing the problems, maybe it would be better and easier overall to buy a new appliance.

Go back to the basics

Although the signs above will be fairly obvious, if you are having trouble with your tumble dryer, it’s always better to start checking the basic things first:

  • Check the dryer is plugged in and is switched on.
  • Check the lint filter and condenser box are empty, for example.
  • Check the socket on the wall, perhaps that has gone faulty, but the dryer is fine!


Should You Replace Your Dryer and Washing Machine at the Same Time?

washing machine and tumble dryer

There’s no reason why you should buy a brand-new washing machine and a tumble dryer on the same day. Just because one appliance has broken down, it doesn’t mean that the second will.

A dryer and a washing machine work differently, and there’s no reason why they should both stop working at exactly the same time.

The only times you’d need to consider buying a washer and a dryer at the same time is if you have to replace a washer-dryer combo, buy two certain-sized machines to fit into a gap in a cupboard, or want to have matching appliances.

In general, you don’t need to replace a dryer and a washer at the same time.