Tip & How-To about Dryers
This advice is for problems with a dryer that runs and heats, but takes entirely too long to dry.
MOST dryer heat related problems are due to poor ventilation. As your clothes dry, warm moist air is exhausted out the dryer exhaust vent ducting. If you have any kinks, excessive bends, sags, or excessively long ducting runs, this can create choke points for lint to accumulate. Once the lint accumulates, it begins to collect moisture. As it collects moisture, it will act as a sponge and collect more lint until the dryer becomes completely clogged. Left in a clogged state, the dryer begins to overheat and dries less efficiently. You may notice longer dry times or an excessively hot dryer. Eventually the dryer heating circuits will fail which will require the replacement of failed components ($). This can also become a fire hazard if the lint becomes so backed up that it begins to collect on, or near, the heating element.
If you have not checked the dryer ventilation any time recently, now may be a good time to do so. I recommend checking it about once per season to ensure it is not obstructed. Make sure you are also using the SEMI-RIGID METAL type ducting. It resists crushing, kinking, resists heat better, and resists rodent infestation.
NOTE: If you are using plactic ducting, get rid of it. It collapses easy, rips and mice will chew right through it. Mice are notorious for building nests inside dryers. Give them a warm place with bedding material and they will make it a home.
Make sure the exhaust vent is at least 12 inches off the ground. This will deter mice and others pests (like snakes or birds) from entering the dryer exhaust from the outside. If you place a cover on the vent, make sure it is of the louvered variety. Do not use screens. They will collect lint and clog easily. Keep in mind, along with cleaning your lint trap after each load, you need to check the outside vent periodically to ensure it is not obstructed.
An easy test to determine if you have an exhaust problem is to remove the dryer vent hose from the back of the dryer. Turn the dryer on and attempt to dry a load of clothes as you normally would. The air leaving the back of the dryer should be forceful and warm (about 140 degrees). If the air flow is weak, you need to check the dryer interior. In particular, the blower fan housing. If the air flow is normal, and your clothes dry as they should, reattach the hose and run the dryer again. This time, check the exhaust vent where it exits your home. Again, the air flow should be forceful and warm. If not, you have a clog somewhere in the ventilation ducting which will require cleaning.
Check the ENTIRE run of the exhaust ducting. Make sure it is not kinked or crushed anywhere which can cut off air flow. Exhaust vent ducting that runs through attics and under crawl spaces are the worst. In an attic, air flow is forced in an upward direction in which gravity will always win. Lint will accumulate in the tubing and cause the dryer to work less effficiently. You will need to remove the dryer and clean the ducting periodically. Crawl spaces have similiar problems. If installed properly, the ducting should be suspended from the joists and not lying on the ground. However, over time lint can accumulate and cause sags. These areas will accumulate lint and eventually choke off the airflow. Again, it is recommended that you clean the ducting thoroughly each season. Leaving the ducting on the ground isn't the answer either as this gives ready access for rodents to chew through it.
In addition, many home owners unknowingly will push the dryer against the wall and crush the hose behind it. This will also clog the vent and make the dryer inefficient. Leave about a 1 foot space behind the dryer for proper ventilation and ensure the vent hose does not get crushed. Semi-rigid hose will prevent this from happening.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to dryer exhaust ventilation is the SHORTER and STRAIGHTER the run, the better. The longer the distance and the addition of more bends creates resistance and makes a dryer less efficient.
IMPORTANT: Exhausting a dryer freely into your home WITHOUT ducting (i.e., into an attic, crawl spce, or in a laundry room) is NOT recommended either. Dryer vent exhaust contains moisture. This added moisture, coupled with the warm air from the heating circuits will add humidity to your home and creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew. DO NOT run an unvented dryer in your home like this. It can become a health concern.
If you have any questions, please let me know. I have seen these problems many times. I hope this information is helpful.
Posted by Jeff... on