Have you ever gone to your dryer when the cycle was done and your clothes were still damp? Well obviously it is because your dryer is not heating properly.
To understand why your clothes dryer is not heating properly, you may have to understand how the dryer operates. The most important thing a dryer needs to heat your clothes, and even more important that the heat itself is the airflow. If this airflow is restricted in any way, then your dryer will not heat to full capacity. So lets discuss why your …..
Dryer Is Not Heating Properly
Let us start when you push the start button. As soon as you do a motor starts to turn, this motor is attached to a belt that is wrapped around a drum that also starts to turn.After a few seconds you may hear a click. This will happen whether you have a gas or electric dryer. In a gas dryer the click you hear is the ceramic igniter turning on (if you could see through the dryer you would see it glow), shortly after you hear the gas start flowing and then there is a flame.
In an electric dryer you have a heating element turning on and getting hot, similar to an oven heating element. On the other side of the motor is the blower wheel, the dryer blower wheel moves the air throughout the dryer through the dryer vent and to the outside.
So to make it easy to understand, clothes dryers operate in the following ways
- When you start the drum starts to spin
- The motor turns which turns the drum and the blower wheel
- The igniter (in gas dryers clicks on) or the element glows.
- Heat is passed in and out of the drum.
See? Easy to understand…..
There could be several reasons your drying is not heating properly.
In order for your clothes to get dry the moist warm air in the drum coming from your clothes must be passed out of the dryer vent. If you find your clothes are still damp but warm after a dryer cycle the very first thing you should do is to look at the vent coming off your dryer. Usually this vent tube is clamped to a hole on the lower back of your dryer and you can pull it off. The other side should be connected to a tube which you can remove as well.
This WILL have lint in it. Now most of the time the lint is not thick enough to completely block the airflow, but it can restrict it enough to not let the warm moist air out and be REPLACED BY DRY HOT AIR. Warm moist air being replaced by dry hot air as the moist air is pushed out of the dryer, this is the key to dryer operation. Clean your vent hose! Do NOT use water to clean your vent hose, the lint will stick to the inside of your dryer and clump into a mass that will restrict that air flow.
Use a long pipe brush to maintain cleanliness. A good once or twice a year cleaning is generally all that is needed. Your vent hose is connected to your house vent leading to the outside of the house, you must check this stretch of area to make sure it is clear of any debris.
I once went to a client’s home and found a birds nest built at the end of their venting. It was during the winter and these particular birds seemed to have found a way to keep warm, but the nest was blocking 90% of the air coming out. The client had to dry her clothes about 3 times to get them completely dry, no fun for her. However she was not just an animal lover but an advocate and told me she would take care of the situation herself as she did not want the birds harmed. I was not going to touch that nest anyway.
The Dryer Blower Wheel
Have you ever seen a four blade fan with 3 blades or a 3 blade fan with 2 blades because one is broken off? Stand in front of that fan and you will notice that the air coming from the fan is much less intense. The same effect is had when one of the many blades on the dryer blower fan wheel is cracked or broken off. This will slow the moist air going out of the dryer that has to be replaced by the incoming dry air, therefore your clothes do not get dry.
In some dryers your blower wheel is visible, you can see the problem and call a technician. Generally this isn’t an issue you are going to fix by yourself as that wheel is hell to take off, no matter how easy YouTube videos make it look. Some mistakes people make on dryer installation.
There are people in such a rush to get their dryer before they have proper ventilation.
They will actually take their dryer vent tubing and just place it on the floor behind their dryer because they don’t have the vent tubing going to the outside. This is bad and you will walk into your laundry room and feel like you are in the Amazon forest. Imagine 120 degrees and 100 percent humidity, this can cause irreparable harm to the dryer and even the washing machine next to it.
Some people have tried to solve this problem by putting a sock over the end of the venting hose. If anyone knows one particular consequence of this you are probably face palming yourself right now….
Prevent a Dryer Fire
Cleaning your lint filter is the one thing that most everyone knows about and where does this lint come from? Lint comes from the clothing of course. Clothing fibers break away from the clothes during all the heat and tossing around from the drum. They eventually make their way to the vent because the fibers are lighter than air and carried out.
However they do get caught up in all kinds of airflow, especially when the exhaust vent is not completely clear and can end up in the dryer itself. Now back to the sock covering the tube … the lint has no place to go, so it sits there and backs up and backs up and … you know what I mean.
Eventually, all that lint ends up all inside the machine, under the drum, and all around the heater or gas igniter. A massive buildup of this lint WILL burn. Most times you will never notice, but when a technician opens up your machine, he will see black lint, meaning there was a fire or very close to one. Most dryer casing can contain any type of outbreak of fire, but there have been cases where houses have burned down.
Ninety nine percent of the time it is not the dryer’s fault but your own for not taking care of your dryer and keeping it clean. If a technician comes to your house and sees a sock over your dryer and you are talking about what a piece of crap of your dryer is, he will tell you why you have the problem and then do one of two things. Charge you double labor for the mistakes YOU made installing your dryer or just walk out of your house.
Take the first option, you did it, you should pay for the lesson..
How long should dryer vent hosing be?
The standard answer for this is 25 feet and any bend in your exhaust line counts as five feet. If your dryer vent runs up to the roof the vent should not be past the second floor if you live in a 3 story home, so you will be allowed one bend that happens to be right behind the machine. For roof venting, hire a cleaner once a year and inspect to make sure the vent traps close when the dryer is not in use so water is not getting inside the vent tubing.
By the way, the vent trap is there so things like bird nests cannot be built at the mouth of the exhaust. Water getting into vent tubing will prevent the warm moist air from getting out and you may as well have that sock at the end of your hose.
Is your dryer dangerous?
No it isn’t, not at all, just remember the tips I have given you in this article
- Clean your lint trap after or before each use
- Periodically check the vent hose coming out of your dryer for clumps of lint and clean
- Periodically check the vent line that runs out of the house for clumps of lint and make sure it is dry and clean
- Hire someone or check yourself if your vent line runs to your roof to make sure it is dry and clean
- If you see a lot of lint, and I mean a LOT around the back of your dryer on the floor or you smell something burning; hire a technician to inspect your dryer.
- Vent lines should never be more than 25 feet long, every bend counts has 5 feet
Finally if you are missing a sock and it is not at the end of your vent hose, I cannot help you with that … But it still could be a reason your clothes dryer is not heating