This DIY Mama Repaired Her Own Clothes Dryer

Have I mentioned that we bought a house this summer? Well, we did! First-time homeowners and all that, and we’ve been fairly lucky to avoid major repairs so far. Of course, we notice some flaws that are going to need to be addressed, but nothing that surprises us. Except for the laundry situation.

If you follow my writing, you’ll know that I’m a self-professed laundry geek. As long as the machine works as it’s meant to, and I have a way to dry my clothes, I’m happy. The rest of it is all on me - testing water hardness, choosing detergent, selecting additives to treat stains. When we moved in, we had two dryers but neither had an electrical plug attached. Of course, life moves on and I went with it. I hung our clothes, towels, and our cloth diapers outside. This worked well for six weeks or so, even though I did get caught in the rain a few times. But for the last two or three weeks, it’s been raining nonstop and I haven’t been able to dry my laundry. I’ve taken my washed clothes to the laundromat to dry them out of desperation.

This is how old I got while I was waiting for my laundry to dry. via World Washing Machines

Enough was enough, I decided. So this mama took matters into her own hands. NOTE: Do not get between a mama of two under two and her clean laundry. Life is already a struggle bus in this house, I really don’t need to be fighting upstream to get clean, dry clothes.

Since neither of the two dryers downstairs had an electrical cord/plug attached, the first step to seeing if they were even going to work was attaching one. The outlet on our wall had been upgraded to a four-prong outlet, and the cord left in our basement for the dryers was a three-prong plug. Slowly, the pieces began to come together. Likely, the previous owner had the outlet upgraded to the modern standard for large appliances (4-prong). When the cord for the dryer didn’t fit, they yanked the cord from the dryer so we wouldn’t notice the mismatch.

With a little guidance from the father figure in my life - my ridiculously talented father-in-law, Kevin - I was able to figure out what kind of cord I needed to purchase. Thanks to Amazon, I had the proper four-prong plug in my hand within 36 hours. Now I had to figure out how to attach it. Using a bit of common sense and the experience I gained helping my own family install electrical outlets and switches, I deduced the red wire on the cord connected to the red wire on the terminal, the black wire to the black terminal, and the white wire to the white terminal. With a few video calls to Kevin to confirm my findings, I was ready to attach the cord, and stoked to do it.

And then my daughter needed to breastfeed, so my husband did the actual work of attaching the cord. So anticlimactic.

No worries, I'm breastfeeding the world's best computer programmer. via Money Crashers

After my daughter went down for her nap, I tested the dryer. Success! It tumbled perfectly. Except one small thing - it wouldn’t heat. Right then and there, I realized what had happened. The previous owner knew that the dryer’s heating element had given up the ghost. After they modernized the outlet, they knew that replacing the plug would reveal that the dryer didn’t function properly. So, they made it impossible to test the dryer during inspection. Really. Great.

At this point, it was personal. I decided to name the dryer Chastity, for reasons I can’t reveal here because my mother-in-law reads my work. A few YouTube videos later, I was ready to remove the heating element and check it for wear and tear. You guys. The heating element was so fried it was black and brittle. The appliance repair guy I bought a replacement element from said, and I quote, “I’m glad you didn’t burn down your house.”

I definitely don't need to burn down my house. via Homequicks

With a new heating element and fuse in hand, I grabbed my power drill and went to work. Within five minutes, I had fully repaired the dryer to working order. Over the last few days, I’ve been able to catch up on all my laundry. And this DIY Mama feels like she can do ANYTHING. Outta my way, there’s no stopping me now!


Have you ever had to figure out something that seemed kind of impossible to do yourself? How has being a mama bear made you a badass? Let me know how you feel on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.

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