If you do laundry a lot (which is likely the case if you have kids), you're no doubt aware that a quality dryer is just as important as an efficient washing machine that gets the job done. But what if your dryer is showing signs of calling it quits? What if it now takes several cycles to get your clothing dry, or your dryer randomly stops spinning mid-cycle?
Like all household appliances, dryers don't last forever. Here's how to know when it pays to repair yours or just spring for a new one.
How long do dryers last?
The average clothes dryer lasts between eight and 12 years, according to Angie's List. But the more you use that dryer, the shorter its lifespan is likely to be. Also, a higher-quality dryer is likely to outlast a cheaper model with inferior components.
How much does it cost to replace a dryer?
The amount you'll spend to get a new clothes dryer will depend on the quality of the unit you select and its size. Angie's List reports that you may spend as little as $400 on a new dryer or as much as $1,000.
How to make your dryer last longer
If you're invested in getting more mileage out of your existing dryer, there are a few things you can do to make it last longer. First, always clean the lint trap. Doing so won't just help your clothes get dry more quickly; it will also help ensure that air is able to flow freely inside your dryer, thereby minimizing wear and tear on it.
Along these lines, keep your dryer vent (the vent that goes to the outside of your house) clean. Usually, this is a maintenance item you need to outsource once every year or two, depending on how often you use your dryer. A clogged dryer vent can be a huge fire hazard, but also, it can make your dryer work less efficiently. The result? The need to run your clothing through several dry cycles, thereby increasing your usage and causing your dryer to wear down sooner.
Should you repair or replace your dryer?
If your dryer hasn't been working well for quite some time, you'll need to either get it fixed or get a new one. Because new dryers can be inexpensive relative to the cost of repairs, it often makes sense to replace a dryer, especially one that's older. With a newer, high-end dryer, a repair could pay off.
Here's an example: Say you're being quoted $250 to fix a six-year-old dryer. Sure, you could pay that money and possibly get another few years out of it. But if a replacement dryer costs you $500, it may be more worthwhile to go that route. Your new dryer may be more energy efficient (or just plain efficient), but also, new appliances generally come with a warranty that protects you for at least a year or two.
In this example, you might pay $250 only to have to spend another $300 a year later on a follow-up repair, whereas if you spend $500 on a new model, you won't have to spend a dime for as long as the warranty is in place.
If laundry is a big part of your life, you shouldn't struggle with a dryer that doesn't work well. As you can see, replacing a dryer often makes more sense than repairing one, but if you're looking at an easy fix, it may be worth going that route. Either way, don't let the problem fester, or you'll turn an already time-consuming task into an even more burdensome one.