How to Fix a Broken Clothes Dryer: The Tale of Lola & Me

Whirlpool Duet DryerLola and I are close personal friends. She’s my stalwart clothes dryer. We spend many hours together, week in and week out. We’ve long-term buds, friends since 2005. We’ve had a healthy relationship lo these many years. Until recently…I think I have a broken clothes dryer!

A few weeks ago Lola seemed, down, a little off. I thought she was feeling neglected since my husband Mike and I have been away a fair bit. As I loaded her up with wet towels, I encouraged her to have a positive mental attitude.

“Come on, Lola,” I said. “I know I’ve been neglecting you, but a woman’s got to have a little fun. And Nashville was loads of fun!”

I swear I heard Lola grumble under her breath. And when her timer went off 55 minutes later? The towels were still damp, quite unlike my Lola. Seriously, do I have a broken clothes dryer?!

“Lola, what’s the problem? Are you still sulking?”

Lola’s control panel blinked off.

As I folded those less-than-fluffy towels, I wondered if Lola had a more serious problem. Maybe even life threatening. Replacing a friend like Lola isn’t easy. A lot of dryers are, well, not true long-term friends. They come, and in a few years, they fade away. I didn’t want to think about. So I didn’t.

Until last night.

Last night I was drying the last of several loads of clothing. Lola buzzed, as usual, to let me know I could fold the last batch, but when I opened her door? Still-wet clothes greeted my warm hand. I snatched my hand back.

“Lola? LOLA?”

She didn’t reply. It was like she had checked out, maybe even breathed her last.

Without many (ok, any) option, I hung the clothes to dry and went to bed, hoping that Lola would make a miraculous recovery over night. Because sometimes friends get sick and they need a little space to rest and recover.

Whirlpool Duet dryer vent pipeThis morning I ran a load of laundry. Just a small load. And as soon as Marvin the washer buzzed, I tossed that small load into Lola and fired her up. She started as usual, but when I felt her exhaust vent? It was stone cold.

I rushed upstairs and consulted my gal Google. Up popped many bits of helpful information about Lola and her family of Whirlpool Duet dryers. I scanned the topics “What to do when your Whirlpool Duet doesn’t dry your clothes?” and read the four top posts as well as watched two YouTube videos looking for ways to restore Lola’s hot body.

Clever dryer, I discovered that she could run a self-diagnostic test. So I followed my YouTube instructor and tested to see what ailed her. Nothing! No codes appeared on her readout screen.

That’s when I tackled her jammed lower storage door, the one that’s been stuck since 2010, give or take. YouTube showed me that if I couldn’t get that door open then a trained professional wouldn’t be able to access her innards. Wielding 1 long screwdriver in one hand, a BBQ fork with wicked prongs in the other and with my missing-but-now-replace xenon flashlight clenched between my teethh, I worked on the drawer. After a good 10 minutes of poking, pushing and pulling, Lola’s drawer popped open! Never mind that I gouged a chunk out of my arm in the process. Good friends are worth one smallish hunk of skin, right?

Whirlpool Duet dryer storage drawer

I pondered my options as I bandaged my arm. And I realized that I needed help. Professional help. . .No YouTube DYI video for me and Lola. She (and my skin) are worth calling in a professional!

I thumbed through my appliance files, looking for the name of the handy dandy repair folks who I use in those rare instances when an appliance friend of mine takes ill. And…I couldn’t find a repair receipt! I figure my husband sneaked in, took the receipt, scanned it, then tossed it in the trash. He loves to scan shit that I then  can’t access (because, duh, he has the files on his computer, not on mine too) when I’m in a time crunch like today.

Desperate, I signed on to Angie’s List, searched and found Anytime Service Expert Appliance Repair.

I dialed the phone, heart sinking at the thought of strangers looking at Lola, but resolved to do the right thing by her (and my wet laundry). A woman named Jen answered the phone.

I gave her the 411 on Lola.

She replied, “Ok, is this Darlene? Do you still live at …?”

I gasped. My long-term repair folks!

Jen, sensing the seriousness of the situation, arranged for a trained professional to look at Lola immediately. Today! He arrived within the hour, a black briefcase in either hand and a confident smile on his face. I ushered him into the basement, to Lola’s room, and left them together. (Hint: give your trained professional a little alone time with his patient.)

Within minutes he popped into the kitchen, “The machine needs a thermistor and a thermo fuse. Including parts and labor it will cost $299 to replace both. I have the parts on my truck and I can do it now if you want me to.”

I didn’t hesitate, “Done!”

30 minutes start to finish.

Anytime Service Appliance Repair

Lola is fired up and drying my jeans as I type. Thank goodness, I no longer have a broken clothes dryer.


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