I can get the freshly-washed clothes out of the washing machine, put them in the drier, do things to the controls on the front panel, and the machine springs into life and dries the clothes for the prescribed amount of time, and then turns itself off. It's clever enough to do the last ten minutes or so at a reduced heat in order to minimise creasing. It can take a whole washload of clothes and manages to finish drying them before the washing machine has finished with the next load. I like my old drier, it's a nice machine, it's simple and reliable and there's very little inside to go wrong.
But we got it about fifteen years ago, second-hand, and it was old then, and it's finally found a way to break down.
Now, I put the clothes in the drier, do things to the controls on the front panel, and the machine springs into life and dries the clothes ... indefinitely. The clock/dial thing doesn't turn, and (so far as this machine's tiny brain is concerned) the prescribed amount of time never elapses. If I suddenly have to go out, or I forget about the machine, it might run for hours and hours. I can stop it running by opening the door, but the clothes are still really hot and they crease easily, and if the door swings closed after I've unloaded the machine, it springs back into life drying nothing at all, and I have to turn it off by pulling the plug out. There are serious implications here for safety and energy use.
I'm going to get a new tumble-drier, one that has a timer that works, that actually knows when to turn itself off. I've had a bit of a look around and they now do ones which can work out when the clothes are dry enough and which can turn themselves off earlier if they feel like it. I'd like, too, to retain the ability to dry as much clothing in one go as the washing machine will wash.
I'm looking at the Hotpoint VTD20. What do people think?