In recent years I have attempted to fix my appliances when they breakdown. Amazingly I have had 100% success from fixing our washer, our dryer, our dish washer, you name it. The interesting part about this is that I am not mechanically inclined, I just tried to learn about how to diagnose and fix problems when they arise.
Today I will focus on my Camco / GE Dryer (Model #: PBXR353ET6WW ). The first problem I had a few years back revealed itself with the symptom of no longer heating up in the dryer and thus the clothes no longer would get dry. First let me say that I am not expert, I’ll just share what I learned to be common problems with these Camco /GE electric dryers. When you have no heat at all you should check the following (in order):
1. Ensure the catch screen (and the pipe leading out of the dryer to the outside of your house) is clear of fuzzies. You can use a vacuum or whatever else to suck up a clogged ventilation pipe. This whole passage need to be fairly clear for proper and efficient operation.
2. If #1 doesn’t help, the next likely cause is the heater coil. The heater coil is the #1 part that is sold for these electric GE / Camco dryers. The price I pay from a local appliance shop in Kelowna, BC (the town where I work) charges $30 Canadian (but EBay sells these for as low as half that price.. but beware of the shipping cost). The part # is WE25M27K which you can google for and find many sources to purchase this part from. This heater coil has two lengths of coils attached at one end with the other end having two attachments. One coil is smaller (because it fits around the drum using a smaller circle than the outer coil). If both of these coils has a break in the wiring then your dryer won’t give any heat and the coil must be replaced. This coil gets VERY brittle over time and is the #1 replacement part. This coil needs to be stretched (both long and short parts) to a proper length for your dryer (I usually ask the repair guy to pre-stretch the coils when I buy the part). Failing to do so can be dangerous as the length of the coil dictates how much resistance is in the coil and thus how hot it will get. Once you replace the coil you may get nervous about the smell given off by the new coil at first (so was I). This is perfectly normal (as I was re-assured by the repair man at the appliance shop) and will adjust to normal after a short period of break in use.
*note: Today I was not fixing the problem where the dryer doesn’t heat up, rather the problem was that the dryer does heat up but when in auto cotton mode (where it checks the humidity in the drum) the dryer NEVER turns off. This will happen if only one of the coils is broken. If only one coil is broken, then the dryer will still heat up but the sensor won’t be able to check the humidity in the drum. If both coils are broken you get no heat at all. So today I removed 6 screws, spent 30 minutes removing the old coil and carefully putting in the new coil (trying not to stretch the coil any longer than its pre-stretched length) which cost me $30 and the end result is a 9 year old Camco / GE electric dryer still working flawlessly.
The only other part I had to replace was the glides. These are Teflon pieces that the main drum glides along. In a family of eight we get a lot of use from our washer and dryer! I wanted to post pictures of the experience but alas our camera’s batteries were dead, perhaps next time.
The key idea here is to try things out. If something breaks down don’t automatically go out and buy a new one or automatically call a repair man! Search around the Internet and you’ll likely find pictures, diagrams and other helpful information to give you the confidence to try fixing it yourself. Learning costs you up front, but pays off in the long run.