Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

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understandingJH
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Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by understandingJH » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:07 pm

My Frigidaire washer and dryer set is about 12 years old. This was just a very basic set purchased for something like $500 for the set new (equiv. to about $700 today after inflation). I haven't had any known issues with them. However, today I'm beginning to be concerned the dyer poses a safety risk.

While the dryer was running, something feel behind it. The gap between the wall and the back of the dryer is wide enough for me to reach down and so I leaned on the dryer and reached for the object as far as I could. However, this attempt was abruptly cut short when the under side of my arm near my elbow touched the back of the dryer -- which turns out to be very very hot. The split-second contact has left the area red and portions have blistered despite running cold water over it and then ice afterwards for about 20 minutes.

I checked for lint in the exhaust from the dryer and it's pretty clean. Stretched the exhaust foiling straight and shined a flashlight down it. Looks clean enough. There is no accumulation of lint here to be a problem. The lint collector in the inside is regularly emptied. The internals of the dryer, where I can't see, I don't know what it looks like of course. On the back of the dryer there is a discolored arch where it has darkened (likely where some of the heating elements are). The area my arm touched was about an inch or two above this area. Is this normal for the back to get so hot to burn skin instantly on touch (which would require at least 180 F or so) and for there to be a dark arch burned on the back?:

Image

and the burn:

Image
Last edited by understandingJH on Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:43 pm, edited 9 times in total.

RudyS
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Re: When to replace washer and dryer?

Post by RudyS » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:19 pm

Check this out: http://answers.angieslist.com/The-back- ... 84180.aspx

Seems close to your situation, but not as bad. MIGHT be that some insulation (if there was any) between the heater element and the exterior of the dryer has deteriorated over the years.

adamthesmythe
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Re: When to replace washer and dryer?

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:20 pm

If it were me I would look inside to see what is going on. I wouldn't be surprised if the back was hot but I don't know what is normal. Discolored paint doesn't look normal.

As to when to replace- I would replace after it breaks and I can't easily fix it. Appliance parts and repair ideas are very easy to get using Mr. Google.

Why would you replace the washer if the dryer doesn't work? Is there an aesthetic issue?

When I sold a house recently after 30 years it still had the original, twice-repaired dryer.

understandingJH
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Re: When to replace washer and dryer?

Post by understandingJH » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:34 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:If it were me I would look inside to see what is going on. I wouldn't be surprised if the back was hot but I don't know what is normal. Discolored paint doesn't look normal.

As to when to replace- I would replace after it breaks and I can't easily fix it. Appliance parts and repair ideas are very easy to get using Mr. Google.

Why would you replace the washer if the dryer doesn't work? Is there an aesthetic issue?

When I sold a house recently after 30 years it still had the original, twice-repaired dryer.
Well if it was normal for the back to get that hot I would have expected there to be a "Warning -- HOT!" sign on the back of the unit. There is none. I suppose I don't need to replace the washer if the dryer is bad. I just wondered if the dryer is bad how much longer will the washer last? As an apartment renter, I don't normally buy appliances (washer and dryer are the only ones) and thus don't think about these things that much. Both units were about as cheap as could be purchased 12 years back.

Rupert
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by Rupert » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:45 am

Get rid of the dryer. Dryers are a major cause of residential house fires. They are nothing to mess around with. Definitely don't leave the house with the thing running. Being such a cheap model to begin with, it's not worth it to fix it. Just getting a repairman out to look at it will cost you $100 or more. Keep the washer unless you just strongly desire a matched set, which some people seem to. Just because the dryer breaks doesn't mean the washer will break anytime soon.

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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by BogleBoogie » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:12 am

Rupert wrote:Get rid of the dryer. Dryers are a major cause of residential house fires. They are nothing to mess around with. Definitely don't leave the house with the thing running. Being such a cheap model to begin with, it's not worth it to fix it. Just getting a repairman out to look at it will cost you $100 or more. Keep the washer unless you just strongly desire a matched set, which some people seem to. Just because the dryer breaks doesn't mean the washer will break anytime soon.
+1

Plymouth56
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by Plymouth56 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:18 am

I would check the venting on the dryer .
I see that you are using a flex type vent pipe that isn't the best for air movement.
Especially if it is becoming clogged with lint.

GuyInFL
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by GuyInFL » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:01 am

I bought a new front-load dryer at Sears recently for less than $350, so a service call might not be economical.

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Watty
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by Watty » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:07 am

BogleBoogie wrote:
Rupert wrote:Get rid of the dryer. Dryers are a major cause of residential house fires. They are nothing to mess around with. Definitely don't leave the house with the thing running. Being such a cheap model to begin with, it's not worth it to fix it. Just getting a repairman out to look at it will cost you $100 or more. Keep the washer unless you just strongly desire a matched set, which some people seem to. Just because the dryer breaks doesn't mean the washer will break anytime soon.
+1
+1

Checking for the clogged lint was the first thing I would have done but since that was not the problem there is something else going on.

I would not use the dryer now since it could be a fire hazard. If you do use it and there is a fire the insurance company may baulk at paying any claim because you knew there was a problem with it.

With it being 12 years old replacing the washer or not is not an obvious decision since you may be able to get a discount on a set and the deliverely and setup may cost less by doing them at the same time. It would also be more convient than having to get the washer delivered and seup two or three years from now.

If you are on a tight budget(been there done that :D ) then by all means keep the old washer.

If you do keep the washing machine then replace the hoses if they are still the ones that you got when the washing machine was new. They get old and can leak.

zip605
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by zip605 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:00 am

Dryers need a component to regulate the amount of heat used to dry the clothes. Knits vs cotton vs other have different temp requirements and a way to select the desire temp. I suspect something in this circuit has gone bad. If you are not a handy DIY person, get someone out there to check your dryer, or purchase a new one. I concur with the above, don't go away with the dryer running and do keep an eye on it until you resolve this problem. If a gas dryer, you should be able to hear the gas burner cycle on and off to regulate the temp. If electric heat, I don't know if you would hear the relay click on and off. In any case, the dryer is getting way too hot on the back panel.
zip605

mouses
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by mouses » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:26 am

I would not use the dryer any more and I would unplug it.

I can't see replacing the washer, as it seems to still be running well. If you get a new dryer in approximately the same color as the washer, that would meet my personal standard for appearance, although my standard is pretty low :-)

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LadyGeek
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:41 am

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (washer and dryer).
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:59 pm

I don't see any gas line entering the back on your dryer picture, so I assume this is an electric dryer. It is not uncommon for electric dryers to discolor over a decade of service, but they shouldn't be getting hot enough to burn skin (and I'd recommend to see a doctor for that burn since it is blistering). Two common causes for this on an electric dryer is the temperature regulator has gone bad or the airflow is inadequate. The later is of more concern, because some airflow issues would also affect a new dryer.

With respects to air flow, you've checked the flex hose and lint trap, but what about the vent pipe to the outside? That pipe could have decades of lint in it (from you and all the previous renters). If your laundry area is on the exterior wall, the vent pipe should be short and easy for you to clean with a vacuum cleaner. If not, you should insist on your landlord cleaning it. Unfortunately, that would only mean your unit gets cleaned and all the other units in your building will still have potentially lint-clogged vent pipes, so there is still the potential for dryer fires in the other units.

Also, if the laundry "room" is actually more like a laundry closet, is the door properly ventilated to let air in? For laundry closets, there needs to be a vent in the door near the front of the dryer, otherwise the dryer will have difficulty taking in enough air.

You can also get an infrared thermometer to measure just exactly how hot each area of the dryer is getting. Infrared thermometers are only $20 or so online and are handy to have for other uses, such as checking the temperature of the air coming out of your HVAC vents to make sure the AC and/or heater are working correctly.

As for the washer, depending on the model, the most likely issues with a 12 year old washer would be a drain hose leak (easy to replace the drain hose on most models), a drain pump leak (complexity of DIY replacement varies), the control panel gives out, or the motor gives out. Only the later two would be expensive repairs. I replaced my washer's drain hose for $15 in parts and the drain pump for $35 in parts. Parts would have been even cheaper online, but I wanted to fix the washer the same day so I bought the parts at a local appliance parts store.

If your washer's drain system is easily serviceable, you could even replace the drain hose and pump now, just to guard against future leaks. Likewise, replace the hoses from the water outlets to the back of the washer if you haven't done that in the last 12 years.

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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by littlebird » Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:18 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:With respects to air flow, you've checked the flex hose and lint trap, but what about the vent pipe to the outside? That pipe could have decades of lint in it (from you and all the previous renters). If your laundry area is on the exterior wall, the vent pipe should be short and easy for you to clean with a vacuum cleaner. If not, you should insist on your landlord cleaning it. Unfortunately, that would only mean your unit gets cleaned and all the other units in your building will still have potentially lint-clogged vent pipes, so there is still the potential for dryer fires in the other units.
Yes! A relative noticed a slight bulge in the siding on his 40+ year old house. He removed the siding and was startled to find the dryer exhaust duct in there, bulging open at the seam with years of accumulated lint that was not making it to the outside. There had been no complaint about clothes not drying properly.

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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:57 pm

understandingJH:

About two years ago the lint in a dryer in our high-rise building caught fire and we had to evacuate the building. The dryer fire badly damaged the owner's apartment before the fire was extinguished.

I suggest you not use the dryer until the problem is fixed.

I hope your burn heals quickly.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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whodidntante
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by whodidntante » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:07 pm

Clean the dryer vent or have a pro do it. If you've never done it, you will be amazed at what comes out. And your dryer will work much better.

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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:09 pm

littlebird wrote:
Mudpuppy wrote:With respects to air flow, you've checked the flex hose and lint trap, but what about the vent pipe to the outside? That pipe could have decades of lint in it (from you and all the previous renters). If your laundry area is on the exterior wall, the vent pipe should be short and easy for you to clean with a vacuum cleaner. If not, you should insist on your landlord cleaning it. Unfortunately, that would only mean your unit gets cleaned and all the other units in your building will still have potentially lint-clogged vent pipes, so there is still the potential for dryer fires in the other units.
Yes! A relative noticed a slight bulge in the siding on his 40+ year old house. He removed the siding and was startled to find the dryer exhaust duct in there, bulging open at the seam with years of accumulated lint that was not making it to the outside. There had been no complaint about clothes not drying properly.
Glad he noticed it before it started a fire. So many people don't think about this pipe when they have interior laundry rooms and it can be a major fire risk. It also wastes energy since it takes longer for the clothing to dry. The longer vents need specialized tools to clean them out and I can't recall any of the apartments I lived at ever doing this, not even the one that had the laundry room in the middle of the unit with a very long vent pipe to the outside.

One of my house hunting checklist items was to see how close the dryer was to the outside wall and what sort of vent pipe was in place. The house I ended up buying has the dryer right on the exterior wall, so the vent pipe is short enough to clean by hand if I needed to. The vacuum is of course quicker for major cleanings, but I do occasionally just hand-remove lint when I'm outside doing yard work.

Swansea
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by Swansea » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:11 pm

I always use "air craft" hoses for my washers. The braided steel is more durable.

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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by BIGal » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:34 pm

I would stop using it immediately. If your breakers are labeled and you can identify the one for the dryer, I would flip it to off. From the picture I can see there is lint built up on the inlet vent and the outlet vent is the flexible hose type. I would not use the flexible vent because they do catch lint and can restrict air flow. Even if you determine that the venting was clogged there is a good chance that it may have cause the inside of the dryer to get so hot that components are damaged and may be dangerous. You should consider yourself very lucky that you found this problem before it started a fire.

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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by 123 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:52 pm

Have you checked for an accumulation of lint INSIDE the dryer, between the easily accessed lint filter and the exhaust output? There are youtube videos on how to open up the dryer. On mine I just popped off the front panel below the front door of the dryer. There can be a tremendous amount of lint that accumulates within the dryer because it's moist in there while in operation. If your exhaust line looked clean it might be because of stuff stuck in the dryer itself. Once you open it up you can probably just pull the matted lint out by hand and vacuum out the nooks and crannies. Once you see the inside of the dryer you'll probably be surprised by how simple a device it is. A lot of lint get through the easily accessible lint filter, that's why it gets to the exhaust duct.
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FraggleRock
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Replace - ventless

Post by FraggleRock » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:41 pm

Replace with a ventless dryer.
AKA Condensing Heat Pump.
All the cool kids will be doing this as the Energy Star requirements become stiffer.
Europeans have been using them for years.

ncbill
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Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

Post by ncbill » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:41 am

For future reference, hot spots like that also occur when the heating element is enclosed in a sheet metal box (with an opening up top where it connects to the drum) and the sheet metal cracks.

Had a hot spot on the inside of a dryer because of this, so when the heating element needed replacement I also replaced the box.

It's not related to lint accumulation at all.

EDIT: since the discoloration is in an arch shape, you likely have a dryer where the heating elements are wrapped around the drum.

There may be a heat shield between those and the back of the dryer. If so, I'll bet it's cracked and needs to be replaced.

While you're in there, clean out all the lint as well. Just be careful - the metal innards normally have sharp edges.

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