Earlier this week our dryer stopped producing heat en route to Rencounter Bay, Newfoundland. The drum would tumble, but there was no heat. Once we’d anchored, we rigged a clothesline in the engine room to take advantage of the heat to dry the large load of clothes while we investigated the failure.
We opened up the control panel to look for issues. The power was fine—the dryer is getting split phase 240V.
From the front panel we can check the timer and one of the resistors, but we can’t check the heater element, the thermal fuse or the two dryer thermostats. For that we have to open up the back of the dryer. The dryer is very built in, however, and access to the back looked challenging without sliding the entire unit out. It turns out that Nordhavn (thank you!) had installed an access panel in the back of the closet that the dryer stands against that provided access to the back of the dryer.
Spitfire, continuing his quest to investigate every locker and opening on the boat, was inside immediately after we’d removed the panel. He reported that the hose clamp on the exhaust hose might not be tight enough. :)
Removing the panel didn’t give quite enough room to remove the back of the dryer and access the wiring, so we had to remove the trim and screws securing the dryer in place, plus the bottom panel in front of the washer. We then could shift the dryer forward and tilt it away from the closet access panel enough to remove the panel at the back of the dryer to access the wiring for continued testing.
We learned that the dryer has a thermal fuse, pictured at the top of this post, that had tripped. When we jumped this fuse, the dryer produced heat again. The thermal fuse is a safety feature required for US dryers to prevent the dryer from overheating. We believe the likely cause of the fuse tripping was that external dryer vent had plugged with a layer of lint that had become soaked in the current wet environment in Newfoundland.
Unfortunately the fuse is not resettable and we don’t have spare. This isn’t great, but at least the dryer itself likely has no serious issue and should be in good working order once we get a new fuse. We’ll also get a spare fuse, and two internal thermostats that we learned about in investigating the issue. Other good news is that we actually can access and service some parts of the dryer without removing it completely. And the third piece of good news is that the clothes dried in the engine room only marginally longer than in the dryer, so we have a good backup with double the capacity. We’re going to order some retractable clothes lines to install in the engine room for future use.
We also have a backup to the washing machine—a handwringer that we used for laundry on the previous boat—but having no dryer is much better than having to resort to washing laundry by hand. So we feel kind of lucky there.