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How a Tumble Dryer Works

Much like a combination of a washing machine and a hairdryer, a tumble dryer rotates wet laundry inside a drum while blowing hot air through it to dry it. The resulting damp hot air is piped outside or vented into the room.

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Video Transcript:

Hi, Im Matt from eSpares and in this video, I'm going to show you how a tumble dryer works.

There are two main types of dryer- there's a vented dryer, where the warm, moist air is vented directly outside through a hole in the wall or through an open window, and a condenser dryer like this one, where the water from the clothes is collected or drained away. Either way, you're going to have a central drum, where you put the wet clothes, and that drum is spun around by a belt, which is attached to a motor, either directly or on a tension pulley like this one. Now you can see me replace the belt on this dryer, it's one of the most commonly replaced spare parts in a tumble dryer.

If you follow me round, you'll see that the motor is also driving this fan which is pushing hot air up oven the element. Now we can see from this replacement element, it looks very much like a toaster, it's just heating the air up, there's a thermostat there to regulate the temperature.

We've got some videos on the eSpares website where you can see us replacing thermostats and elements.

So the hot air is then blown into the drum, the moisture is drawn out of the tumbling clothes, the air flow will go through a lint filter like this to catch the fluff. It will then go down and into the body of the machine where, if you've got a vented dryer, that warm, moist air will just be vented away with a hose like this, but on this condenser, it's fed down and into this heat exchanger.

Now, a heat exchanger is essentially a radiator, so that warm, moist air is cooled and the moisture is condensed out. You can hopefully see this secondary fan here- that draws cool, ambient air across the heat exchanger and helps to condense out that water. That water flows into the base of the machine here and the warm, dry air is circulated back up to the element and into the drum.

Now the final part of the picture is getting rid of that condensed water, on some machines, it will just drip down into a reservoir that sits beneath the heat exchanger. On this one there is a pump, where the water is pumped up to this reservoir here, where it's a little bit more convenient to empty it. You may also have the choice of draining the water externally just by adding in a hose like this.

Spare parts for all makes and models of tumble dryer are available at and our videos, where we show you how to fit those spare parts, are available on the site and on the eSpares YouTube channel.

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