If you find moisture or standing water in your dryer, it can be baffling. Wetness is the exact thing the dryer is supposed to battle. What reasonable explanation could justify water in the dryer? What can be done to prevent it from happening again? We've done some research and have compiled the best information for you.
The appearance of water in a dryer can vary depending on the model. For the most part, water or condensation inside the dryer drum is indicative of some form of venting issue. On some ventless dryer models, it could be an issue with the condensation water collection system. The venting or water collection system components need to be checked for proper functioning and installation to resolve the issue.
Since we know the issue generally has something to do with venting or water collection, let's discuss some troubleshooting steps to diagnose your issue. We'll go over the common malfunctions as well as examine some other questions you might have. Keep reading!
How does water build-up in a dryer?
At times, it's hard to imagine how a dryer could actually hold water. If the washing machine does the proper job of spinning, most of the water gets forced out, right? Though a proper spin does ensure you're not overloading the dryer, an average load of clothes still holds about two to three gallons of water!
A properly functioning dryer draws in air through the vent, then raises the temperature in the drum. The hot, humid air then escapes through the vent to the outdoors. If a dryer isn't venting properly, all that water can build-up inside the drum or drain back in from the vent pipe after the drying cycle is complete.
Now that we know how important it is for your dryer to breathe, let's discuss how we can resolve the issue.
Venting incorrectly installed
If the venting duct has been incorrectly installed, this can cause many dryer issues. The dryer's vent duct should be as straight as possible, which can be difficult with the popular, flimsy, inexpensive ducts most frequently seen. These can do the job just fine if the kinks are kept out of it.
Check your dryer duct to ensure there aren't a large number of bends or twists, allowing build-up and obstruction. If this is your culprit, you'll find a large amount of condensation leaking from the external vent outside your home or in the dryer's drum.
To correct the issue, use metal, non-ribbed ducting. This type of dryer duct will not bend or allow build-up around the ribbing. If you can't get a non-ribbed duct due to space restrictions or difficult access, do get a metal, stiff duct.
Click here to see this dryer duct on Amazon.
Blockages in the vent or duct can cause a multitude of issues, including water in the dryer. If the vent has an obstruction, air circulation is compromised. The obstructions could even cause the condensation to be directed back into your dryer drum. Not only does this create a problem with water build-up, but you might also notice your clothes coming out still damp.
Check the outside vent first to ensure the obstruction isn't there. If you have an open vent, small animals, such as birds or squirrels, have been known to make their homes in these places. Should your vent be covered by a grate, an excessive amount of lint can build-up, blocking the humid air from escaping.
If the outside venting is clear, there might be something blocking the duct or exhaust directly on the dryer. There are many commercially produced vent cleaning kits for a dryer. These tools allow thorough cleaning of the vent duct. In some instances, the vent duct might need to be removed so the dryer's internal vent can be checked for obstruction. Thoroughly clean your dryer's exhaust system yearly to prevent issues.
Click here to see this dryer duct cleaning kit on Amazon.
Uninsulated Dryer Vent
If you live in a colder climate, an uninsulated dryer vent could cause water to collect in your dryer and ductwork. Leaving the dryer vent pipe or ductwork uninsulated in cold climates causes the air's humidity to turn back into water and collect there. In turn, this water gets blown back into the dryer drum.
To resolve this issue, insulate the entire length of the vent pipe or ductwork. Many dryer ducts are already insulated, so if you live in a cold climate, look for this option when purchasing venting components for your dryer.
Click here to see this insulation on Amazon.
Any damage or cracks to the dryer vent, ductwork, or outside exhaust vent can cause water to build-up in the dryer. Check all the components for wear and tear. The most common culprit for damage is the ductwork, as this is the flimsiest part of the venting system.
If you notice any tears or cracks, it's time to replace them. Also, pay close attention to the areas where the duct connects to the dryer and outside exhaust. Ensure all the attachment clamps are in working order and functioning as intended.
Click here to see these duct clamps on Amazon.
Blocked Water Collection System
If you own a ventless dryer or a dryer with a condensation collection system, water in the dryer can be a little more complicated. Ventless dryers don't need an exhaust and venting system like a traditional dryer. The air is heated and cooled by a heat exchanger, turning the moisture into water and collecting it in a container located inside the dryer. The appliance repeats the process until all the clothes are dry.
If your ventless dryer is holding water, try taking out the pump that moves the water into the collector and thoroughly cleaning it. There could be an obstruction keeping the water from being pumped. Check the water container itself to ensure no cracks or build-ups are preventing it from holding water. If all these components seem to be in good shape, ensure your dryer is level and all the parts are squeaky clean.
What happens if water gets in your dryer?
An excess of water in your dryer can cause a plethora of problems. Small amounts are fine, as a dryer is meant to handle dampness, but too much can cause mold or mildew to build-up in the venting or around the dryer.
Water damage is also a worry, as the drum isn't meant to hold standing water, so it is not water-tight. That water can leak onto your floors and cause damage there as well. It's best to tackle issues right away, even if you notice only a small amount of condensation.
Why are my clothes still damp after drying?
If your clothes are still damp after running them through a drying cycle, check your lint filter first. If the filter is overly full, it can restrict airflow. Ensure the load you're trying to dry isn't too large. Overloading the dryer can extend the drying time significantly.
Next, see if the dryer is heating. Does it feel warm and damp, or are the clothes cold and damp? If the dryer is cool inside, the dryer could have a faulty heating element. If you've checked the lint filter and your dryer is heating, it could be an issue with your venting. Ensure the vent and ductwork are free of obstruction to allow proper airflow.
Have you ever wondered if you can you dry a pillow in a dryer? Check out this post: Can You Dry A Pillow In The Dryer?
Is it worth repairing a dryer?
If your dryer is only a few years old, it is worth it to repair if those repairs cost less than a few hundred dollars. If you have an older model, much of the time, it is more cost-efficient to purchase a new dryer as parts can be sparse or pricey.
Before you give up on your aging dryer, however, try as many do-it-yourself repair steps as you're comfortable with. You'd be surprised at how much you can do on your own for a very low cost. Just remember to always unplug your dryer before making any repairs.
Water in a dryer can be an easy fix. Be vigilant and thorough, and you can save yourself a hefty repair bill. Check your vents and ductwork, and the culprit will likely be evident.
Are you trying to find extra space for your dryer? Check out this guide: Can You Keep A Tumble Dryer Or Freezer Under The Stairs?