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  How A Washer Dryer Works

This article will outline the drying functions of the combination washer dryer. The wash functions are as explained in The Washing Machine General Principles.

A washer dryer that is a little different from a washing machine There are two types of drying systems used;

  • The vented dryer
  • The condensing dryer

Both types share the following common features:

  • A blower motor to circulate air through the machine.
  • Heating elements to supply hot air.
  • Thermostats and safety devices for temperature control.
  • A timing device to set the drying time.
The condensing dryer system works by re-circulating air in a closed system. The blower motor sends air over or through a heater and into the drum and through the tumbling clothes. The warm moist air is then sucked up a condensing housing where it meets a fine spray of cold water provided by an extra outlet on the inlet valve. The steam is flashed off and cold, dry air returns to the blower motor. The drain pump will operate periodically to remove water collecting below the drum. The final few minutes of the cycle are run with the heat off to cool the clothes and to reduce creasing.

The vented washer dryer does not re-circulate the air. It draws fresh air and passes it through the clothes as with the condensing machine, but vents the warm air out of the machine.

Neither system is as efficient as a stand alone tumble dryer, because of the size of the drum. This is considerably smaller than that of a tumble dryer, and as a consequence laundry, especially large items cannot "fly" in the warm air very well. This also why the drying load is generally limited to approximately half that of the wash load.

This outline is not intended as a repair guide. Beyond basis maintenance, we recommend professional assistance. If you're determined to repair it, UNPLUG IT FIRST!

  Common Washer Dryer Problems

Most washer dryer problems will generally be the same as or similar to the main problems that you get with washing machines because, as a washing machine, there is actually littel difference in the basic premise of both washing machine and washer dryer.

Where a washer dryer differs is in that it will have a drying section including a dryer heating element, additional thermostats to control that, a fan motor to drive the air and normally what is referred to as a condensate chamber.

When the tumble dryer section fails to operate the top problems are either tripped thermostats as they operate in the same manner as a normal tumble dryer and will cut out or indeed burn out if the door is opened before the cool down phase is completed. And, the condensate chamber becomes blocked with fluff or lint which restricts airflow.

If you have an issue with the tumble dryer side of your your washer dryer and want to attempt to repair it yourself, these places are where to begin looking for problems as they are the most common points where you get issues.

Fair warning though, on most washer dryers the condensate chamber is normally not the easiest thing to get to and clean so we would normally recommend that you get an experienced appliance engineer to look at it. For more advice you can use the washing machine machine forum.

Hi,My Zannussi ZWD1270W Dryer is not functioning properly. I had already ordered a replacement part "Green solenoid" on the inlet valve since an E10 error code was appearing. It started to work fine then after a week I noticed the dryer would run for approx. 20 mins and it would beep as if the cycle is completed but it wouldn't dry the close.Any advice is much appreciated.Thanks
Kenneth Watt
Hi Barry, Ask in the forums where the engineers will see your question but you will need a model number to get any help.
barry tasker
i have a bosch washerdryer when we put clothes on drying they come out very hot and wet could you tell me what wrong with machine thanks
Noreen Afifi
Hi,Many thanks to your lovely information on this website.I have found it really invaluable.My problem is,i have a Frigidaire washer drier.And the drier doesn't dry efficiently,and there is a burning smell when i use it.Where i live now, is a village.and has no engineers at all.I don't want to send it to unqualified technicians, that could ruin the machine completely.Please advise how can i repair this problem.In the past(before i move to my new place) the same problem occurred and was fixed by installing a new water pump.could that be the problem? how can i tell if the water pump is damaged?I know that the washing machine drains the water well when it is spinning.Another problem is that,there is a very strange a dry rough sound when it finishes spinning and is slowing down.Thanking you in advance.Please send to me a wishes to all.bye

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