Five Reasons Your Dryer Could be Leaking
The last thing we’d expect to find in an appliance that’s designed to dry is water. But while a leaking dryer is a nuisance, it’s actually more common than you might realize. It’s also responsible for more problems than you can count. Mold, mildew, water damage… basically, if there’s a type of problem you’d really rather avoid in your home, a leaking dryer could cause them. Fortunately, there aren’t that many possible explanations for water in a dryer, which makes working out what’s causing the issue that much easier. Even better, most of the problems can be fixed simply enough, even without professional help. Just make sure that whatever the problem is and whatever the solution is, you get it sorted, fast. While mold and mildew might be a nuisance, they’re nothing compared to a house fire… which is exactly what can happen if lint becomes trapped around the leak. Overheated dryers are behind around 15,000 house fires in the US per year, a figure that could be dramatically slashed if leaks were dealt with sooner rather than later. If you have a problem with water in your dryer, here are five of the most common reasons your dryer could be leaking.
1. Blocked Vent
One of the most common causes of dryer leaks is a blocked vent. As geappliances.com writes, when a dryer is used, hot, humid air passes from the dryer through the exhaust vent hose to the outside. Which is fine. The problem is, air isn’t the only thing that’s making the journey. Stray lint, dust, fabric, and other microscopic particles travel with it. Over time, the debris can start to build up in the exhaust vent. As the debris begins to accumulate in ever thicker levels, it can stop the flow of air. With no means of escape, the hot, moist air gets trapped inside the vent tube. As the warm air cools, it can condense and result in a water leak. To stop the problem from developing and to keep the dryer working as it should, take the advice of Wikihow and get in the habit of cleaning out your dryer vents at least once a year. To clean the vents, start by turning off the power and unscrewing the dryer duct to get access. Once that’s done, clear out any lint clogs with an extendable brush, a vacuum extension, or a leaf blower. Once all the lint has been removed, reassemble and reconnect the dryer.
If you live in a colder climate, condensation is likely to be one of the main problems you face with your dryer. If the dryer vent pipe isn’t properly ventilated, warm air traveling from the dryer through the vent to the outside can easily turn into water when it hits the cold pipe outside. The end result? Condensation and dripping water. Fortunately, the problem is easy enough to rectify by insulating the pipe and improving the seal on the outside pipe to keep the air warm until it’s left the building. To insulate the pipe, start by tracking the entire length of the exhaust pipe. If any part of the pipe is covered, you’ll need to cut through the drywall to expose the pipe. Cover the entire pipe in around 3 inches of fiberglass insulation before securing the insulation with HVAC duct tape. Once the pipe is insulated, seal the exhaust opening with caulking or foam insulation. It’s also worth considering adding a vacuum seal to stop any cold air from entering the pipe when the dryer is off.
3. Broken Vent Flapper
As ductsquads.com notes, a common problem that can cause water in dryers is a broken vent flapper. The vent opening on the exterior of the building connects to the dryer and allows hot air from the machine to be released. The flapper is the cover that protects the opening. When things are working as they should, the flapper opens when air from the dryer is expelled and shuts again afterward. Occasionally, however, the flapper can get stuck in an open position, letting frost, rain, and snow into the vent. As the excess water starts to travel inside and gather weight, the vent pipe can start to crack under the pressure and begin to leak. If you suspect a broken vent flapper is to blame for water gathering in your dryer, you’ll need to physically inspect the flapper to check if it’s opening and closing as it should. If it’s not, it’ll need to be replaced.
4. Vent Exhausts Into the Attic or Garage
As doityourself.com writes, one of the most common causes of dryer leaks is vents that exhaust into the attic or garage. Ideally, all dryer vents should be ventilated either directly outdoors or through the roof. When a vent releases air into the attic or garage instead, it can lead to all kinds of problems. Firstly, the other part of the vent pipe will usually be more difficult to access than it would be outside. Any problems can therefore go unnoticed. On top of that, moisture problems can develop more easily. Rather than being released outdoors, any hot air exhausted by the dryer will be vented into an enclosed space. The end result will be a lot of hot, humid air with nowhere to go. Over time, this can lead the dryer vent to develop leaks. As it can also cause mold, mildew, and moisture to accumulate in the room itself, you might want to consider overhauling the piping system.
5. Faulty Water Collection System
This isn’t going to be a problem that affects all makes and models of dryers, but if your dryer uses a condensation water collection system to pump the water away, you could be looking at the source of your leak. These kinds of collection systems have a small hole positioned just behind a condenser through which water drains into a small container. A motor then forces the water into the condensate tank. If water starts gathering in the dryer, it could be a sign that something is stopping the system from working as it should. To check for problems, take out the pump and clean the hoses using a bottle brush. Once you’ve done that, check that the condensate tank doesn’t have any cracks. Check the seals on the back plate and reseal if necessary.