Tumble Dryer Not Doing Full Cycle? (do this if it keeps stopping mid cycle)
Living in a country where the weather can’t be trusted means we rely on our tumble dryer. Which makes life difficult when it stops working as it should.
In this article we’ll look at the reasons likely to cause your tumble dryer to stop mid-cycle, and ways to prevent this from happening.
Why Does My Tumble Dryer Keep Stopping?
There are several reasons that could cause your tumble dryer to stop working mid-cycle. But before we get into that, we need to identify exactly which type of tumble dryer you own.
There are three types of tumble dryers which are;
- Vented Tumble Dryers
Vented tumble dryers remove the moisture via a large hose which is vented to the outside. This limits the positioning of a vented dryer as it needs to be placed close to an outside wall, window or door.
- Condenser Tumble Dryers
Condenser dryers don’t have a vent, they store the moisture removed from your clothes in a water tank which will need to be emptied regularly. As they have no need for a vent, condenser dryers can be placed anywhere (within reason) and don’t have to be placed near an outside opening.
- Heat Pump Tumble Dryers
Heat pump dryers work in a very similar way to condenser dryers, they remove moisture from the laundry and store that moisture in a water tank which will need to be emptied frequently. Where heat pump dryers differ from condenser dryers is how the air is reheated and sent back through the drum to dry the clothes continuously until the laundry is dry.
Now we have a rough idea of the different types of tumble dryers, let’s look at the probable cause of your dryer not completing its cycle.
Check The Plug
The first thing to check is that the plug is firmly connected to the socket. It might sound obvious, but a poor connection is often the cause of intermittent faults with tumble dryers.
Once you’re sure that the plug is firmly in the socket, move on to the next item on our list.
Check The Display Screen
Almost all modern tumble dryers have LED display screens which notify the user of any action needed to be taken. Things like cleaning the lint filter, emptying the water tank etc.
As all tumble dryer manufacturers design their own symbols, you’ll need to consult your user manual to identify what each symbol represents.
Check The Lint Filter
The lint filter should be cleaned after every cycle as a dirty lint filter restricts the airflow which can lead to the dryer cutting out mid-cycle.
You can often remove the lint by hand or you can use a vacuum cleaner. Once the filter is clean, remove lint from the filter housing too.
When the filter is clean, if you hold it up to the light, you should be able to see right through it. If the lint filter becomes damaged, it will need replacing.
Empty The Water Tank
Condenser dryers have a water tank which should be emptied at the end of every cycle. If the water tank fills up with water, the dryer is likely to cut out to save flooding the floor.
This is a common reason for condenser dryers stopping mid-cycle.
Open Door (or faulty door catch)
Tumble dryers have electronic door catches that prevent the appliance from running if the door is not fully closed. These usually work perfectly but over time they can become worn.
Check that the door is fully closed, if it is but the machine is indicating that it’s open, you’ll need to contact an engineer.
Condenser Blocked (heat pump tumble dryers)
The condenser on a heat pump tumble dryer should be inspected once a month to ensure it does not become blocked.
If you need to clean the condenser take care as it is made from metal and could cause injury. We recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands when touching the condenser.
You should never operate the dryer if the condenser needs cleaning as not only could this damage the dryer, it will also increase energy usage.
The best way to clean the condenser is to use a vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment.
Blocked Condenser (condenser tumble dryers)
The condenser on a condenser tumble dryer should be removed and washed thoroughly using a hand held shower while the condenser unit is stood vertically in the bath or basin.
The dryer should not be operated if the condenser is blocked as it could damage the appliance and increase your energy bills.
Check The Humidity Sensor
The humidity sensor is an integral part of the modern tumble dryer. It measures the amount of moisture left in the drum and controls the heat/power.
If the humidity sensor is dirty, it cannot operate correctly which could lead to the dryer cutting out mid-cycle’
Over time, the two metal strips that comprise the humidity sensor can become coated in fabric softener, limescale or the residue from anti-static sheets.
To clean the humidity sensor, rub gently with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Ensure the sensor is completely dry before running the dryer again.
If you cram as much laundry into the drum as you can, the dryer will only be able to detect the level of dryness of the outer items of the bundle.
This means those items closest to the humidity sensor will dry quickly while the items towards the middle of the clump will still be wet.
This will cause the appliance to shut off before the cycle has finished.
You should never exceed the maximum recommended load size for your machine. The figure quoted in your tumble dryer’s user manual always refers to the dry weight of the item. So bear that in mind before adding extra items.
Attempting To Dry Too Few Clothes
If you don’t add enough items to the drum, the dryer will cut out. This is because it doesn’t detect any clothes. If you do need to dry small loads, use a timed drying program.
Laundry Not Wet Enough
If the clothes are not wet enough, the dryer will cut out mid-cycle. The humidity sensor will notice that the moisture level is too low which will terminate the drying cycle.
Incorrect Program Selected
If you select an incorrect program it could cause the dryer to stop mid-cycle. There are essentially two tumble dryer programs which are;
- Time Controlled
If you just want to finish drying clothes that are almost dry, use a time controlled program.
- Humidity Controlled
Humidity controlled programs are automatic and are best used when the laundry is fresh out of the washing machine. Humidity controlled programs won’t work for almost dry clothes or slightly damp clothes.
Bent Drain Hose
If your tumble dryer is plumbed in and has a drainage hose, check to see whether this has become bent. If it has become bent, this can prevent the water from draining away.
If the water cannot drain away correctly, the dryer will stop mid-cycle.
Damaged Drive Belt
The drive belt connects the drum to the motor and is responsible for turning the drum. If it becomes damaged or loose, it could slip which could cause the machine to cut out.
Room Temperature Too High (or humidity levels too high)
Tumble dryers have safe operating temperatures which range between 5-35 C if the room temperature is too low the appliance might not operate at all.
If the room is too hot or too humid the air cannot flow correctly which could cause the dryer to cut out.
If the lint filter is clogged, the dryer could overheat. If it overheats, it will cut out. This is a safety feature built-in to your dryer.
If it overheats regularly but doesn’t appear to be hot, it could be the thermal fuse which has a fault. This will need to be checked by an engineer.
Condenser tumble dryers use a pump to move water from the tank to the reservoir. If the pump fails, the reservoir can’t fill up which will automatically shut the appliance down.
You can check the pump by pouring some water into the tank when there are no clothes in the drum. Then switch the dryer on and if the water is moved to the reservoir, the pump is working correctly.
If not, you’ll need to call an engineer.
All types of tumble dryers are made from various electrical components. Including many wires, sensors, switches and capacitors. Not to mention the motor, control panel and thermal fuse.
Any of these components could develop a fault which could cause your dryer to cut out mid-cycle. We recommend contacting the manufacturer if the appliance is still under warranty or an electrical repairer if not.
Frequently Asked Questions
There could be any number of reasons why your dryer is not running a full cycle. But the most common reason is a clogged lint filter or clogged vent hose. If you have a condenser dryer, check the water tank as a full water tank is another common reason for the appliance cutting out mid-cycle.
The most common reason for a dryer stopping early is either the lint filter is clogged or the humidity sensor needs cleaning.
If your tumble dryer keeps stopping mid-cycle it is probably caused by one of the following; the lint filter is clogged, the water tank is full, the humidity sensor needs cleaning or the drum is overloaded/underloaded.
To clean the moisture sensor in a tumble dryer, you just need to wipe it with a soft lint-free cloth soaked in white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Ensure the sensor is completely dry before using the dryer again.
It is quite normal for your clothes to feel damp while they are still warm soon after removing them from the dryer. If, however, your clothes are still damp after the dryer finishes its cycle, it is usually caused by either; the lint filter being clogged, the water tank being full or the moisture sensor needing to be cleaned.