Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dryer problem solved!

Well, I recently discoverd a problem I was not able to solve using Google. So, I'm typing it up in the hopes it will be indexed and might help someone else.


Two months ago when I moved, I purchased a new Electrolux front-load gas dryer. The first time I used it, I ruined most of the first load of clothes. There was some kind of sticky black residue on the exhaust vent inside the dryer drum. Several plush items had stuck to the vent ripping the soft part of the fabric. I assumed that maybe there had been some sort of sticker over the vent, and that it had melted. Electrolux kindly sent a repair person out who replaced the vent - problem solved. Not.

Shortly thereafter, the black residue returned. I then noticed that a pair of my sons fireproof pajamas had melted. So, I thought perhaps the melted fabric had gotten stuck to the vent. Nothing I tried (Goo Gone, etc.) would remove the residue, but when it got hot it was getting just sticky enough to keep ruining softer clothing items. I went down to Home Depot and purchased a hot air gun (I needed one anyway) and a heavy duty scraping knife. After about 30 minutes of heated labor, I got most of the residue off. When it came away, the dried bits were like hard, black plastic. Problem solved. Oops, not.

Since that time, I've been drying clothes on a cooler temperature, and the clothes seem to be coming out okay. However, the black stuff seems to be slowly coming back. Luckily, using the cooler temperature has meant I'm not ruining clothes anymore. So, today I sat down with Google to see if I could solve my problem. Something else being melted (gum, crayons, candy, starburst, etc.)? Nope. Something in my gas line? Probably not, but not a lot of information available here other than anecdotal information that gas usually burns clean. And, my gas stove and gas furnace don't seem to be having any issues. Hmm, weird.

While I was doing this online sleuthing, I was also doing some laundry. With kids, it seems like I'm always doing laundry. Anyway, I had just finished drying a load of towels and discovered the smoking gun - a half melted dryer sheet. So, for years I have used Kirkland brand (Costco) dryer sheets. I've never had a problem with them. Well, it turns out the new dryer is melting them. Not all of them, or I would have noticed that they're not in the laundry basket when I'm folding clothes. But, some of them are definitely melting. And, when they melt, they've been leaving a hard black plastic residude on the vent inside the drum.

Problem solved.

12 comments:

News Blog said...

Nice Post
Steven Spurrier

Anonymous said...

We are having a very similar problem but I think, in our case, the cause is different. I haven't been using dryer sheets so that can't be it. We think that it started when a metallic Lindt candy wrapper melted to the vent grate. Since then, fleece clothing gets imprints from the grate and sometimes gets hardened pieces of what must be melted fleece, stuck to it. We think the metallic candy wrapper had taken the coating off the grill and made it so fleece would stick to it and melt. I'm going to try painting it with a heat-resistant paint and see if that solves the problem. Otherwise, I'll try drying at a lower temp - I hadn't thought to do that before. What a pain this has been!

Ted Malone said...

Well, the saga has continued. It appears that the dryer sheet was the cause of the stickiness, but not the cause of the overheating.

First, I had Electrolux change out the vent. Although only a small amount it visible inside the drum of the dryer, it's actually a very large piece that extends most of the height of the dryer in the back. I did this, and the problem came back a month later. Clothes kept getting burnt, and I wasn't ever using a temperature higher than Medium.

So, I called a repair man again for warranty service. Electrolux sent me the same vent, and I was afraid the problem would keep repeating itself. As luck would have it, my service guy told me that he heard from another service guy that this problem was happening to a couple of his customers(!). After some further research at wherever dryer repair guys hang out, the story unfolded some more.

It turns out that the inlet vent in most dryers is louvered to mix in some outside air with the air being heated by the gas (~ 500 degrees F). In an effort to be more efficient, Electrolux removed these louvers and have not been able to lower the heat enough in their gas dryers to keep from burning clothes. Furthermore, it turns out there is a *new part* which if you're in-the-know you can order. It is the same part, but with the louvers back.

My customer service person didn't offer up this new part, but my repair guy was able to get them to send it out, and he installed it last week. I'm hoping that this new louvered inlet vent will solve things permanently.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this information. Electrolux customer service has a $250 "good will" for damaged clothes. Over that you can submit a claim to their liability department.

Also, Electrolux has agreed that the fix for this problem is quite involved and have agreed to replace my dryer (its 3 months old).

The new Electrolux machines off of the line has the "new" louvered parts for the venting system.

thanks again for you help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ted. You did indeed help me. I have been having the same problem with my brand NEW dryer for a week or two. My daughter's fleece blankets were ruined when they came out the dryer and I saw the black stuff stuck on the vent. I thought that I must have had them on too high a heat setting, so I lowered the temp. SInce then, fleece clothing STILL has been ruined and then I noticed the stuff STILL on the vent in the back of the dryer. I have been scraping it off with a BBQ brush and a razor. After reading your post, I remembered that when we opened the brand new dryer, there was a sample of Bounce dryer sheets in the box! I don't remember them ever coming out and now I know what the problem is! Thanks Ted!

Anonymous said...

Recently purchased the electrolux gas, having some faith that surely a problem this serious was now resolved in the curent production model. Wondered if yours was ever resolevd to your satisfaction, and how you feel about th units after a bit more time.

Anonymous said...

I am seriously considering the purchase (1-3-2012)of a new Electrolux dryer Model# EWMGD70JSS and wondering if your problems have been resolved. These are a top of the line unit and I hope they have stood behind their product, unlike LG and the washer I purchased last year.

Michele Wolosyn said...

Thank you very much for this blog. We acquired an Electrolux washer and dryer when we bought our house. I noticed that some of our clothes started having honeycomb-looking burn marks on them. After finding your blog, I called an authorized service person. He came out yesterday and was unsure about why it was doing it but had come across this problem a couple times in the past. He said that he could change out the vent but that I would need to keep in mind that it may do it all over again. I printed out part of your blog and showed it to him. He laughed because it was so similar to what he'd seen in the past and now with my dryer. He said he didn't know of any kit but that he'd call me with the price of replacing the vent.

Lo and behold, he called today to tell me that there is IN FACT a kit that can be put in to replace and fix what is causing the problems. He actually seemed kind of excited with this news! LOL The part will be ordered but will unfortunately take 7-10 days to get to him but we'll get it fixed after that. The cost is going to be I believe about $279. Much better than the cost of replacing the dryer!

Thanks for your blog!

sdtplus5 said...

We are having the same issue, with the dryer burning clothing. I called Electrolux myself and she wouldnt even take my model and serial number. I asked about their concern for the fire hazard that this posed she just kept saying I;m sorry your having a problem. Oh yeah the parts to repair cost over $500 dollars. I couldnt get any help from the company at all.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a part number for the kit that is supposed to fix this problem or a service bulletin about it? I am having the same problem and am hoping the kit would solve the issue. Thanks for all your comments!

Michelle Phy said...

Ted, Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog. You have saved my summer! I still have had to go back and forth with Electrolux and they are giving me the parts at their cost rather than retail. I'm responsible for the repairman but it is 2013 and the dryer is from 2008/2009. I'm just scared that our home will burn down if this happens again. What a horrible company that they haven't officially recalled this unit with the thought that lives could be lost!

JWest said...

Ted, We have been burning more and more clothing... really happy to find out that we are not the only ones with honeycomb burn marks. We have maintenance on the dryer, so having the repair kit part number would be a great help. Thanks so much for posting this.

JOhn W.