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Re: 2 yr old GE Electrictric with poorheat

I checked the vent line which runs up one floor and through the crawl attic before exiting the roof. I don't see alot of lint at the lower end but could it be clogged in only 2 years? Should I run the dryer disconnected from the vent line to see if the heat improves or is it too late? To check the element where do I take the unit apart, what do I look for. Is it an easy DIY job?

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Vent lines that run through an attic are the worst. I still don't understand why builders install them in homes like this. To answer your question, "Yes" it is possible for the vent line to be clogged in only 2 years. When the dryer is running, the vent line is a mixture of lint, hot air, and moisture from your clothes. Over a period of time with restricted air flow, the vent line interior can become moist from condensation and lint will begin to collect and stick. In a configuration such as yours, you also have gravity working against you. Typically, what happens is the lint collects, can't be pushed out, and will fall down inside the vent line in the wall. Most manufacturers recommend inspecting your ventilation at least once per YEAR. Two years is an awful long time to go without inspecting your vent lines. Not to mention this can become a fire hazard and/or a habitat for rodents (mice love dryer lint to build nests). I would recommend once in the fall and once in the spring. It doesn't take long for accumulations of lint to form and clog your exhaust.

"Yes", I would recommend trying to run your dryer with the exhaust hose removed to see if it works better. This is the easiest way to determine if you have an internal clog or external clog, or no clog at all. I would not run your dryer on a permanent basis like this, however, as it will heat up your home and add unecessary humidity as well.

As far as the element is concerned, if the dryer IS heating, I wouldn't recommend checking the element just yet. Heat usually indicates the element is actually turning on. Elements don't usually get weak, they simply burn out. If you had NO HEAT, then I would suggest checking the heating element.

Do the simple vent test that I suggested and let me know what you find. Then, we'll take it from there.

PS Rule of Thumb: The SHORTER and STRAIGHTER the dryer vent exhaust, the BETTER.

Posted on Sep 04, 2008

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The general rule of thumb when it comes to dryer vents is the SHORTER and STRAIGHTER the run, the better the appliance will be at drying efficiciency. The more bends and rises you add to a vent line, the more resistance you add to the blower motor. If the blower motor cannot efficiently force all the lint and moisture out of the vent line it tends to accumulate and clog. This eventually leads to poor drying results and an appliance that will overheat the point of failure. Dryer vents that run into an attic or crawl space are generally the worst configurations. The blower fights gravity with attic installations and sags under a crawl space can create choke points that clog. The following link can give you some advice on the dryer vent installation recommendations:

Roughly...60 feet if the vent is just a straight. With each added turn, the maximum distance changes. If you need further assistance, please let me know.

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Your Thermal Cut-Out (TCO) is blown. It should read close to 0 ohms if good. In addition, it is highly recommended that you replace the Hi-Limit Thermostat along with the TCO. These parts are commonly sold as a set. Failure to do so can result in premature failure of both parts.

BEFORE you replace anything make sure you check your dryer ventilation for clogs. Cleaning the lint screen is not enough as no lint screen captures 100 percent of the lint. Some lint always manages to end up in the vent line. This includes the blower fan housing INSIDE the dryer. Most dryer heat related problems are caused by clogged ventilation, leading to an overheat condition. In an overheat condition, the TCO will blow.

Some things to consider:

1. Are you pushing the dryer too far up against the wall? This lead to crushed or kinked dryer vent hoses which will result in overheating. Leave about a foot space between the back of the dryer and the wall to prevent this.
2. Does your dryer vent line run through an attic or crawl space? These types of configurations are notorious for creating choke points where lint can clog. This is either due to gravity in an attic configuration. Or, sags and kinks in a crawl space configuration. Frequent inspection and cleaning may be required.
3. Is your vent line excessively long? This can cause lint to back up because there isn't enough force from the blower fan to push it all out of the vent exhaust. The rule of thumb is: The SHORTER and STRAIGHTER a vent line, the BETTER.

I'm not trying to lecture you on something that may not be a problem with your dryer. I merely put this advice out as a precautionary to prevent you from purchasing parts, only to have them go bad prematurely because you weren't advised of what may be causing the problem. The TCO blows for a REASON. The reason is generally caused by an overheat condition. You need to figure out why.

I hope you find this information helpful. Let me know if you require additional assistance.

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A great many heat related problems with dryers are attributed to poor ventilation. The following link explains:

Pay particular attention to the paragraph that discusses your dryer ducting. Cleaning the lint trap often is not enough to keep accumulations of lint from building up inside your dryer air blower housing and/or associated exhause ventilation. Use the advice I've given on how to quickly determine if you have a blockage internal to your dryer or external. Vent lines that run through an attic or under a crawl space are the worst, because they create resistance for the blower motor to work against. With an attic line, you have gravity working against you, because the blower has to force the air upward and out. In a crawl space, you have sags in the line working against you that create choke points for lint to accumulate. Also, it is recommended that you leave the dryer about a foot away from the wall so that you do not crush the vent hose. Make sure you use the semi-rigid metal type of ducting because it resists crushing, rodent infestation and is heat resistant.

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Cleaning the lint trap of the dryer may is not enough in some cases. I suspect you may have a problem with the vent ducting that extends from the the exhaust of the dryer to where it exits your home. The majority of dryer heat realted problems are due to poor ventilation and clogged vents. I dryer left in this condition will overheat to the point of failure. Not to mention, this creates a fire hazard and a habitat for rodents.

A simple test to determine if you have a dryer ventilation problems is to remove the vent hose from the back of the dryer and attempt to dry a load WITHOUT the vent hose attached. The air exiting the back of the dryer should be warm and forceful. If the clothes dry normally, then you need to inspect your vent ducting from where it enters the wall, to where it exits the home.

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