Tumble Dryer Timer Too Fast? Here’s why & what to do

The way tumble dryers work is to supply heat into the drum and onto and through your laundry for a set amount of time. If the timer on your dryer is faulty it can be problematic for getting your laundry dry.

In this article we take a look at tumble dryer timers and identify possible problems and fixes for faulty timers.

Which Type Of Timer Does Your Dryer Have?

There are two different types of timer fitted to tumble dryers and yours will have one or the other. The two types of timers are;

  1. Digital Timer
    Tumble dryers with an LED panel with the time displayed in the panel are equipped with digital timers.
  2. Mechanical Timer
    If your tumble dryer has a dial to add to the drying time, it is fitted with a mechanical timer.

Both of these different timers have their own unique sets of faults and problems and we’ll look into these separately.

Tumble Dryer Digital Timer Running Too Fast

Once you’ve established that your dryer is fitted with a digital timer, you can identify the reason that the timer is running too fast and fix it using this guide.

Digital Timer Fault Probable CauseSolution
Moisture Sensor DirtyClean The Moisture Sensor
The Timer Needs ResettingReset The Timer
Defective Control BoardReplace The Control Board

Let’s take a closer look at these faults on a tumble dryer’s digital timer;

Moisture Sensor Dirty

Almost all modern tumble dryers have moisture sensors which detect the moisture level in the drum to determine when the laundry is dry. This information is sent to the control board which then shuts off the power to the dryer.

The problem is that over time, the moisture sensor (which is typically a thin metal strip) gets dirty and cannot detect the level of moisture any more. This is more likely to become a problem if you use fabric softener in your wash or dryer sheets in the dryer.

This is because the dryer sheets or fabric softener leave traces of a waxy substance behind which coats the moisture sensor and prevents it doing what it’s supposed to.

You will need to clean the moisture sensor using a soft cloth dipped in distilled white vinegar. The moisture sensors on tumble dryers are typically located behind the lint filter in front of the door of the appliance.

You should gently clean the moisture sensor with nothing more abrasive than a soft cloth and white vinegar as you do not want to damage the sensor at all.

The Timer Needs Resetting

If the moisture sensor is clean with no obstructions, the problem is most likely to be that the timer needs to be reset. This is often caused by a software glitch and is quite common.

Resetting the timer involves either pressing the dedicated reset button or more often than not, the only way to reset the timer is to disconnect the appliance from the power supply for 10 to 15 minutes.

For specific instructions on how to reset the timer on your dryer, consult the user manual.

Defective Control Board

If you have cleaned the moisture sensor and reset the timer and you’re still getting the same issue, it’s most likely that the control board is defective. If this is the case, it can be replaced by a competent DIYer or you should get a technician to do it for you.

Replacing the control board involves removing the top panel of the appliance as well as removing the control panel before removing the control board.

You should exercise caution when handling the control panel as they tend to get damaged quite easily and this is why we would strongly recommend getting a qualified technician to perform this task for you.

Vented Tumble Dryer

Tumble Dryer Mechanical Timer Running Too Fast

If your tumble dryer has a dial and you’re sure it has a mechanical timer the problem could be caused by the following;

Probable CauseSolution
Loose SpringLubricate The Spring Or Replace The Dial
Defective SpringReplace The Timer (complete with spring)
Defective Control BoardReplace The Control Board

Let’s take a closer look at these issues;

Loose Spring

The timer dial works off of a spring which is tightened as you increase the time on the dial. As the timer uncoils the spring it is counting down the time until the point where it is fully uncoiled which means the time has been completed.

If the spring has become loose (which happens over time), it won’t provide enough tension to the dial which will result in the timer ending too fast.

If this is the case, the best solution is to replace the complete dial and spring mechanism. However, before resorting to such extreme measures, you could try spraying some WD40 into the small hole behind the dial. Then turn the dial a couple of times to ensure all of the spring has been oiled.

That could be all that’s needed to resolve this issue, if not you will need to replace the dial and spring.

Defective Spring

Unfortunately, over time the spring in the dial corrodes and eventually breaks. At first, the only sign that there’s a problem is that the timer runs too fast.

This will be due to the corroded spring which isn’t giving the correct amount of tension needed for the timer to work accurately. This is a good warning sign that the spring is about to break. So you best get a replacement dial and spring before you’re left with a dryer with no timer at all.

It’s a relatively easy task to replace the dial and spring but you will need to get the correct alignment of the timer shaft. This can be quite tricky and we’d recommend taking a photo of the alignment of the old shaft before removing it.

You’ll also need to ensure you buy the correct dial and spring for your particular model. These range in price from around £20 to £70 depending on the make and model of your appliance.

If you’re not confident in your abilities, you should get a technician to replace the dial and timer for you. Or, if the appliance is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer.

Faulty Control Board

Even though your dryer has a mechanical timer, it could still be affected by a defective control board. If there is a fault with the control board it can cause the timer to run too fast or too slow.

If the control board proves to be defective, it will need to be replaced. And as we said earlier, this can be done by a DIYer but is probably best left to an expert.

This is because you will need to partially dismantle your dryer to access the control board and also remove the control panel which can easily get damaged.

Tumble Dryer

What About A Timer That Doesn’t Stop?

In some cases, the timer is set for 60 minutes and left to run. After 60 minutes the dryer is still running and will not stop until you pull the plug on it.

This is not only frustrating, it could be a potential fire hazard as well. 

This is a sure sign that the timer is faulty and will almost certainly need to be replaced. However, you should try resetting the appliance first by either pressing the dedicated reset button or performing a hard reset by disconnecting the appliance from the power supply for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then reconnect the power and try to run the dryer again, this is sometimes all that’s needed to get the appliance up and running properly again.

If not, you’ll need to replace the timer and dial and/or the control board.

Problem Solved

So there you have it, the best way to solve the problem of a tumble dryer’s timer running too fast. We have given you the most likely causes and solutions no matter which type of timer is fitted to your appliance.

We hope this has been of some help to you and you have been able to resolve your problem. If you have any more questions please feel free to post them in the comments section below.

SEE ALSO: Can You Overdry Clothes In The Tumble Dryer? (& how to avoid it)

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it normal for a dryer to take 2 hours?

No, it’s not normal for a dryer to take 2 hours. Both gas and electric tumble dryers should take no longer than 45 to 60 minutes to complete a drying cycle. If yours is taking twice as long, there is something wrong with it.

Why is the timer on my tumble dryer running too fast?

If the timer on your digital tumble dryer is running too fast it is most likely to be caused by a dirty moisture sensor, the timer needs resetting or the control board is faulty. If you own a mechanically timed dryer it could be the spring is loose or defective and needs replacing or the control board is defective.

How do I reset my tumble dryer’s timer?

To reset the timer on your tumble dryer you should press the reset button if it has one. In the absence of a reset button, you should disconnect the power supply for 10 to 15 minutes to clear any software glitches.

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