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freaky dryer problem
Old 02-18-2008, 08:52 PM   #1
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freaky dryer problem

We were drying clothes tonight. Opened the laundry room door at the end of a cycle to find water all over the floor, the walls, everything. Looked like a big balloon full of water had exlploded.

We discovered that the vent had become blocked outside. Freaky AND scary, since I've heard this can cause house fires.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:01 PM   #2
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Hmm...I'd think that amount of water would have to come from the washer, not a blocked dryer vent.

Good thing to do once a year though...yank out your dryer, disconnect the dryer hose, replace it if you bought one of those plastic ones instead of a metal foil one, and put a shop vac in reverse into the line. Leaf blower works pretty good too. Then vacuum out the back of the dryer connection and the slot where the lint screen goes.

Not only will you avoid a fire, your dryer will work better and it'll save you money.

Oh, by the way...if you use a humongous leaf blower and have a roof mounted vent, you can blow the vent stack off and have to go up on the roof and put it back on.

And your wife will still be giving you crap about that five years later.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Hmm...I'd think that amount of water would have to come from the washer, not a blocked dryer vent.
Well, that would have been my guess too, except we don't have a washer right now!

We ran the dryer after fixing the clogged vent and no water in the laundry room.

Who would have thought a blocked dryer vent could do this?

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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Good thing to do once a year though...yank out your dryer, disconnect the dryer hose, replace it if you bought one of those plastic ones instead of a metal foil one, and put a shop vac in reverse into the line. Leaf blower works pretty good too. Then vacuum out the back of the dryer connection and the slot where the lint screen goes.

Not only will you avoid a fire, your dryer will work better and it'll save you money.
Thanks for the tips!

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Oh, by the way...if you use a humongous leaf blower and have a roof mounted vent, you can blow the vent stack off and have to go up on the roof and put it back on.

And your wife will still be giving you crap about that five years later.
LOL, I'm the wifey. DH would definitely give me crap about it if I did that, for sure!
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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Well I *hope* you're the wifey. If your DH chose a screen name "simple girl", you'd have worse problems than a wet laundry room!

But the good news is now you have something to set your DH up for...but you'll have to make it look like its HIS idea

BTW, some of the outside vents have a built-in screen, intended to prevent vermin from entering through the vent. These things will trap a ton of lint and blowing OUT obviously doesnt work. Only way to clean them is to remove the whole assembly and wipe the lint off. While you have it off, replace it with one that has no screen but a flappy door that blows open when the dryer is running. Then most of your lint will just blow through.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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Well I *hope* you're the wifey. If your DH chose a screen name "simple girl", you'd have worse problems than a wet laundry room!

But the good news is now you have something to set your DH up for...but you'll have to make it look like its HIS idea


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BTW, some of the outside vents have a built-in screen, intended to prevent vermin from entering through the vent. These things will trap a ton of lint and blowing OUT obviously doesnt work. Only way to clean them is to remove the whole assembly and wipe the lint off. While you have it off, replace it with one that has no screen but a flappy door that blows open when the dryer is running. Then most of your lint will just blow through.
Interesting you say that. When DH went out to check it, he took off the plastic outer covering (sort of like a cage). Inside was the flappy door and it was shut (not sure why). It now flaps free. I'm going to have to look at it in the daylight tomorrow. A few days ago, I noticed the plastic outer covering had fallen off. So I popped it back on. I have a sneaking suspicion that I somehow put it on wrong and blocked the flappy door. Never said I was mechanically inclined! LOL
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:54 PM   #6
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And your wife will still be giving you crap about that five years later.
And she JUST NOT IN THE MOOD FOR THAT RIGHT NOW...
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:27 AM   #7
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We discovered that the vent had become blocked outside. Freaky AND scary, since I've heard this can cause house fires.
It can. Firefighters I knew at work said 25% of house fires start in the clothes dryer so I'm anal about keeping the lint filter & vent clean. DW tends to overlook it so I check when she's not looking.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:52 AM   #8
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I think I know why there was so much water: The duct has been blocked for a while and a pool of water had accumulated in the dryer duct. IOW, that water wasn't just from one load of laundry.

I say this because a few years ago I heard a gurgling noise coming from the crawlspace. It turned out that the dryer duct made a dip (u shaped path), and water had accumulated so that the exhaust had to pass through this pool -- kind of like a bong for dryers.

When you get it all working, make note of how fast the air comes out of the duct (if it's accessible), and you can use that as a way of determining when you need to check for accumulations. Also note the drying time needed.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:53 AM   #9
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There is a high limit thermostat near the burner/heater element (depending on whether it's gas/electric) that turns off the heat when an air flow blockage occurs (the flame/heat back up towards the source instead of getting sucked into the drum). It should prevent overheating that might lead to a fire. It also causes the clothes not to get dried in a reasonable amt of time as the dryer is air tumbling mostly. It is a good idea to vacuum out the lint that accumulates over time inside the guts, especially near the burner. You might find some loose change as well!
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:31 AM   #10
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Ronin is right. My dryer all of a sudden would not 'hot' dry. DW was all over me about fixing it. I looked at it ... and could not figure it out. So I call the friendly Maytag repair man... He comes in ...shakes his head and says my dryer vent hose is blocked. He blows it out and hands me the bill. Blocking the vent hose stops the heating element from turning on (theoretically). OTOH, my buddy had part of his 2nd floor (where the washer and dryer were) and part of his roof burn from, they suspect, the dryer hose vent catching fire. He had smoke damage in his whole house. They had to move out and clean everything (and I mean everything) in the house. It took the better part of 1/2 year. hmmm wonder what his home insurance looks like.
Morale to the story is to keep the dryer vent hose clean.
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:05 PM   #11
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Any other reasons a dryer could be dragging out dry-time? I thought it might be a stuffed vent- but i just went back there , cleared out the vent, vacc'd it up and the tube is clear...I was hoping it was full - but it's not and so it must be something else?

It's taking close to 1.5 -2+ hours to dry a load! aaack...
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:11 PM   #12
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Have you checked for lint in the dryer itself? There can be a lot there. Use a flashlight, reach in with your hands, don't be shy. Attach flexible hose to your vacuum cleaner.

Next, figure out what's realistic. I'll measure our dryer's run time next time it runs, but I think when everything's OK, it still takes at least an hour.

Yahoo! Answers - How long should it take to dry an average sized load of laundry?
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:14 PM   #13
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Any other reasons a dryer could be dragging out dry-time? I thought it might be a stuffed vent- but i just went back there , cleared out the vent, vacc'd it up and the tube is clear...I was hoping it was full - but it's not and so it must be something else?

It's taking close to 1.5 -2+ hours to dry a load! aaack...
Electric or gas

Might be that you are not getting any heat... A few years after I bought mine, the burner quit working... cost me a ton to have someone come out and change one part... but, I did (do) not know what it would be an just paid the price..
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:33 PM   #14
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Any other reasons a dryer could be dragging out dry-time? I thought it might be a stuffed vent- but i just went back there , cleared out the vent, vacc'd it up and the tube is clear...I was hoping it was full - but it's not and so it must be something else?

It's taking close to 1.5 -2+ hours to dry a load! aaack...
Why yes there is. Last Friday a tenant called to say she had plugged 4 sets of quarters into the Maytag electric dryer and her clothes were still damp. When i went in there was little airflow out the vent. Problem was the plastic blower wheel had stripped out where it mates with the motor shft. Cost me $27 for a new impellor at my favorite appliance store. The dryer dumped water when i tipped it back to remove the front side cover. Usually there is a pretty fair racket with the blower wheel wobbling around in the shroud, but this was fairly quiet.

Oh, and if there is inadequate airflow from a bad impellor, the high limit switch will shut down the heating element , as was earlier discussed. Start the dryer and put your hand on the vent right away, or open the dryer door after 10 seconds to see if there is any heat and remove bad heating element from your list of problem areas.
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:35 PM   #15
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If your clothes are getting hot, then its a blockage somewhere or the blower fan is shot.
Recheck for obvious lint, and if that doesnt turn anything up, disconnect the dryer hose and run it to see if you get hot air out of the end of the hose.

If you do, its a blockage in the vent pipe. If you dont, its a blockage inside the dryer or the blower that moves air through the dryer is broken.

Average housecall for a major appliance repair with a moderate cost part is $150-200. Since you can get a working used dryer for less than that, or a decent new one for not a lot more, its generally a good idea to not repair if the unit is nothing special and/or more than 5 years old.
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:47 PM   #16
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And your wife will still be giving you crap about that five years later.
They never forget. First rule of wife club.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:21 PM   #17
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Thats okay, I've got her right where I want her.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:25 PM   #18
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It seems as if you guys are cleaning a lot of lint. Is it possible to find lint-free clothes, or is this a winter thing?

We take the back off and vacuum our dryer annually for a total of a small handful out of everything-- the lint-trap housing, the dryer ducting, and the external exhaust ducting. A neighbor hadn't cleaned hers in at least five years and I got a basketball of lint. So, the right number for disassembling & cleaning is probably somewhere between 1-2 years.

Here's a fun casualty drill for you electric dryer owners. I don't care to discuss how I learned this but lemme say that I troubleshot the heck out of the dryer before I arrived at the solution.

Electric dryers have a motor that runs on 120v and heater coils that run on 240v. The circuit breaker has two legs, one on each 120v feed to the circuit breaker panel. If one of the circuit breaker's two legs trips, then the dryer will continue to run (it's getting 120v) but it won't heat (it's not getting 240v).

So if the dryer's running fine and blowing like a big dog, then before exploring the heater coils or checking the timer circuitry try shutting off the breaker and turning it back on.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:45 PM   #19
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"It seems as if you guys are cleaning a lot of lint. Is it possible to find lint-free clothes, or is this a winter thing?"

Hahahahahaha - that is exactly what I was thinking.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:48 PM   #20
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I think most of the lint is produced from sock disintegration.

But for those of us who rarely wear them, there ya go...
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