Not Bad Luck… Bad Design

We’ve been in our house for nearly seven years. The house has been a wonderful blessing to our family. A few years into our time here we invested in (or were we gifted? I can’t remember) a brand new washer and dryer set. Namely because our old dryer just wasn’t doing well. It would routinely take two-hours to dry a load of clothes.

The new washer did really well, but to be honest, we were never impressed with the new dryer. Sure, it looks good and had a great Consumer Reports rating. But, it was still taking 75-90 minutes minimum to dry a load.  We just figured we had bad luck when it came to our dryers…Well, it went from okay to worse in the last year. The 75-90 minutes became 90-120 minutes, but what was really bad was the smell. It was evident that the heating element was just too hot! It smelled like something was about to catch fire.

Nervous that we may just burn down the house we changed our heat-setting to medium for all loads (which only increased the amount of time it took to do a load). But even on medium we eventually began to smell that burning smell again.

Finally, about a week ago I had my mechanically-minded friend Walt over to help me figure out exactly what was wrong. I had done the general things that had come to mind (like vacuuming out the hose-vent-thing, etc.). I knew it was time to get into the machine and see what was happening. Walt and I took the backing off. WOW! The entire inside was full of lint (even on top of the drum was about one inch of dry lint). The venting (which I had vacuumed out probably six months prior) was pretty full as well (with wet lint… nasty!). After cleaning out everything and putting it back together we went to check the venting outside the house to make sure the venting to the outside was not the issue.

The stuff next to the heating element was almost charcoal.

BAM! We found the problem, but exactly where in the approximate 25 foot stretch of venting was the blockage? We had to go CSI on the matter and went under the house. The only time I ever go in the crawl space is to get my Christmas boxes out in December and return them a month later. Well, it was Christmas in June and we found the presents! It came in the form of discovering the UPHILL route our dryer vent-air must take to get out of the house. Who designed this system? Not only does the vent angle up at about a 3% grade, when it gets to the foundation on the back side of our house it makes a 90 degree upward turn to go that last foot before making another 90 degree turn to go out of the house (again, who designed this system).

I figured there must be some sopping wet lint blocking the vent somewhere. Well, what we discovered was that it wasn’t about the lint, it was the approximate four gallon flood we were about to encounter when we took the venting pipes apart. Our venting was essentially a pea trap.

My guess is that our old dryer had the same issue and that the water has been trapped for years, perhaps there was a little clearance when we bought the house, but it has likely been blocked for years!

With all the water out and the house not burned down, we are now experiencing dryer loads that, on average, are taking less than 45 minutes!  I can’t wait to see the savings on our electric bill!  We’re thankful to Walt, thankful for God’s protection and thankful that it’s now fun to do laundry again (okay, that last part was a stretch).




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