Appliances

Is it time to get a new dryer? Here's how to know

If your dryer isn't doing so hot, here's when to replace it.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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New dryers are more energy-efficient.

Kenmore

There are people who always want the newest and coolest appliances and there are others who like to hang on to items they spent hard-earned cash on. If you're one of the latter, there's no shame in that. There are definitely times when you need to let go, though. Here are just a few signs that your dryer needs to be replaced.

It caught fire... once

Okay, your dryer only caught fire once -- and it was just a small blaze--so it should still be okay to use, right? Uh, no. That flare-up could have done a lot of damage to the insides of your dryer, such as melting the wire casings. Not only could starting up your dryer cause another fire, but it could also pose an electrocution risk. Don't even plug in a dryer that has fire damage until you get it looked at by a professional. (Some of you are going to say this is a no-brainer, but trust me. There are people who need to read this.)

It's older than Grandma

If you have endearing names for your dryer like Granny or Old Berta, then you should probably invest in a new one. This isn't ageism. There are plenty of reasons why an ancient dryer should get the heave-ho.

For one, your dryer could actually be costing you money. For example, if your dryer isn't Energy Star-certified you could be using 20 percent more energy than a newer, certified model.

Still not convinced that you need to let go and upgrade? Turn your dryer around and take the back off. Take a look at the wiring inside. Is the plastic coating around the wires dry and cracked or peeling? If so, you have two options. Either you get a repairman to rewire your entire dryer or you get a new one. An exposed wire could lead to your dryer catching fire or giving you a nasty shock.

According to Consumer Reports, a dryer's life expectancy is only around 13 years. So, Old Berta probably won't last much longer anyway and repairs will probably cost more than she's worth.

Don't worry about being wasteful or contributing to landfill growth by moving on. Your old appliance can be recycled without much effort on your part.

Need help choosing a new dryer? Check out our dryer reviews.