A dryer should exhaust the hot air and moisture through the vent so that the unit doesn’t have excessive condensation. However, you might observe an unusually high moisture buildup inside the appliance. Naturally, you’ll wonder about how to stop condensation in your dryer.
Here are 10 ways to stop condensation in your dryer:
- Clean the entire duct.
- Keep the lint filter clean.
- Vacuum the lint trap often.
- Clean the outdoor vent cap.
- Reduce the duct’s length.
- Change the duct’s alignment.
- Use a heavy-duty metal duct.
- Insulate the duct in cold areas.
- Consider a dryer booster fan.
- Replace screws with foil tape.
A dryer encountering excessive condensation will be inefficient, and your clothes can take much longer or multiple cycles to dry. Also, excess condensation can increase the relative humidity in your home.
In this article, I’ll go over the different ways you can stop condensation in your dryer, and you can choose the most appropriate solution for you.
1. Clean the Entire Duct
A clogged vent and blockages in the duct are among the most common reasons for excessive condensation in dryers. Thus, you should clean the dryer vent and duct, inside and out.
GE recommends cleaning the vent at least once a year. Samsung recommends once or twice a year, but you should clean the entire duct as frequently as necessary. Ideally, you should decide on a cleaning routine based on how often you use the dryer and the loads it deals with regularly.
Also, you can have a separate cleaning frequency for the vent and the duct. If you clean the vent on the dryer once every three months, you can choose to clean the entire duct once a year.
However, such discretions depend entirely on the loads and dryer efficiency. Plus, you have to consider the duct type, length, and alignment. Besides, cleaning the vent and duct is imperative if you have a condensation problem in your dryer.
There are three ways to clean the dryer vent and duct:
- Exhaust vent brush
- Vacuum cleaner
- Leaf blower
Here are the steps to clean a dryer’s vent and duct:
- Turn off the power, unplug the dryer, and move the appliance to access the rear vent.
- Disassemble and remove the duct or vent hose from the dryer’s port.
- Use an exhaust vent brush to clean the outlet of the dryer. You can use a vacuum, too.
- Clean the angular hose or elbow that connects the duct to the vent on the dryer.
- You can use the vent brush or vacuum cleaner for the elbow.
- Go outside and clean the vent cap or cover at the end of the duct.
- Remove the outdoor vent cap and clean the duct from the outside.
- You can hook the vent brush with a portable drill and automate the cleaning process.
- Set up the vent brush with extensions if your duct is long and winding inside your house.
- Use the portable drill in reverse as you steer the vent brush through the dryer’s duct.
- Go inside, get the vacuum or a leaf blower, and flush out all the debris through the duct.
- Reassemble all the components and ensure everything is sealed and aligned perfectly.
If you do not have a duct or exhaust cleaning brush, I recommend this Smart House Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit, available on Amazon.com. This nylon brush is more flexible and durable than plastic.
The kit also includes 23 bendable rods that you can use to extend the brush up to 30 ft (~9 m). These extensions have threaded ends and screws to fasten them. However, you can use some electrical or duct tape to reinforce the seal. The kit also includes a drill bit or attachment.
Watch this video if you will clean your dryer’s vent and duct for the first time:
2. Keep the Lint Filter Clean
Almost every dryer manufacturer recommends emptying the lint filter or screen after each load. Ideally, you should follow this recommendation. However, practically, you can empty the dryer’s lint filter once after all the loads in a session. And that may include multiple cycles.
Irrespective of the routine emptying of the lint filter, you must clean this screen thoroughly as and when necessary. This frequency could be quarterly for many users or monthly for large families. However, I won’t recommend waiting for six months before you wash and rinse the lint filter.
Here’s how you can clean the dryer’s lint filter:
- Take out the lint filter or screen from the dryer.
- Use some warm water and regular soap to clean the filter.
- Get a soft-bristled brush to remove all the lint trapped on the screen.
- Rinse the lint filter thoroughly and repeat the process if necessary.
- Allow the filter or screen to air dry completely before putting it back in the dryer.
This cleaning method isn’t the same as emptying the lint screen after every load. Also, the thorough cleaning routine I’ve explained here should get rid of not only lint but all debris, such as residual traces of fabric softeners, etc.
3. Vacuum the Lint Trap Often
The lint trap is where the filter or screen is. Unlike the filter, you don’t need to clean the lint trap after every load. However, you must vacuum clean it as and when necessary.
Generally, the lint trap and filter are readily accessible on most dryers. But the exact position or alignment may vary, so check where the lint filter housing is on your model. Also, see if there’s any lint buildup inside the dryer, such as the door gaskets.
Normally, removing the filter and vacuuming the lint trap should clean all residual debris. But if you find some rigid lint and other particles, get a dry brush to loosen all the gunk gently. Then, you can vacuum the lint trap for an impeccably clean finish. Restore the filter after you’re done.
4. Clean the Outdoor Vent Cap
The first step in this guide already addresses this problem. However, you may have a relatively clean duct and vent with no major obstructions, so a tedious cleaning exercise is unnecessary. But a clogged or blocked outdoor vent cap will cause excessive condensation in your dryer.
Dryer vent covers are necessary to keep birds and critters out of the duct. Also, louvered vent covers or those with flaps can prevent the outdoor air from flowing into the ductwork. However, these vent covers don’t take long to get blocked with lint and other debris. Thus, you need to clean the outdoor vent cap as and when necessary.
Most homes have something like this Discount Parts Direct Outdoor Dryer Air Vent Cover (available on Amazon.com). This louvered cover has three flaps that can clog easily. Also, lint and debris buildup will keep the flaps open while blocking the exhaust from the dryer’s vent.
Caps like this Blutoget Louvered Exhaust Dryer Vent Cover (available on Amazon.com) with a pest guard screen are an even greater problem. Not only do the flaps get clogged but also the pest guard. So, you have to clean this type of vent cap more frequently than others, or else you’ll have condensation in the dryer.
A better alternative is a cover like the Deflecto Wide Mouth Galvanized Vent (available on Amazon.com).
This galvanized vent cap has a wide outlet with only one damper or flap, and the outdoor cap faces downward. Thus, you don’t need to worry about birds or excessive airflow into the duct due to positive air pressure in the system.
The Deflecto dryer vent cap is metal, so you can use tiny magnets to keep the flap or damper closed when the vent isn’t exhausting hot air and moisture. In effect, you have a failsafe pest guard to keep critters out, and outdoor air won’t flow into the ductwork.
5. Reduce the Duct’s Length
Dryers shouldn’t have a long duct. Most companies stipulate a maximum of 25 feet (~7.62 m), but that isn’t an ideal or practical length. As a rule of thumb, the shorter the duct, the fewer the chances of excessive condensation in your dryer.
A long duct doesn’t facilitate efficient or effective exhaust of the hot air and moisture. Instead, it allows moisture buildup in the system. You may even have water pooling at different places within the duct, especially at the elbows and sagged portions. This water buildup will cause moisture to back up towards the dryer, causing excessive condensation.
Therefore, you should reduce the ductwork to the least possible length.
Ideally, you should have the duct from the dryer vent run to the nearest wall and out. This kind of length and alignment has the maximum impact on stopping condensation in a dryer.
Here’s a nice example of a short dryer duct:
6. Change the Duct’s Alignment
Like the length, a duct’s alignment significantly impacts condensation within the system.
Ideally, a duct should run horizontally from the dryer’s vent to the exterior wall, but houses have all kinds of alignment. Your duct may run even away from the dryer through an interior wall and up to the attic or in other quaint alignments through utility areas, rooms, and other spaces.
A complicated duct alignment has several elbows. These angles increase condensation in the duct. One 90° turn of a vent hose is the equivalent of 5 feet (~1.5 m) in length. So, if you have two such angles or elbows, you’ve already used 10 feet (3 m) of the max 25 feet (~7.62 m).
Also, a duct system will be more vulnerable to leveling problems without impeccable planning, support, and installation. Sagging ducts will have water buildup, and all the other remedies to stop condensation in your dryer might fail.
Hence, change the duct’s alignment to ensure fewer or the least bends and turns. Most installations require at least one elbow at the dryer vent. But try to avoid more elbows if it’s at all possible in your house. Also, a vertical climb or descent isn’t ideal for dryer ducts.
Here’s an example of what may happen in a long and poorly aligned duct with many elbows:
7. Use a Heavy-Duty Metal Duct
Many local building codes don’t permit the use of vinyl or plastic hoses for a dryer vent and duct. The primary concern is safety because a plastic hose loaded with trapped lint is a fire hazard when a dryer’s vent exhausts hot air.
Also, vinyl or plastic hoses are flexible, and they can sag and deform in due course. So, the hose will have water buildup at the sagging and kinked parts. In effect, you may have excess condensation in the dryer. Thus, you should use a heavy-duty metal duct for your dryer.
You may use tin or aluminum foil to connect the duct to the dryer’s vent. However, the rest of the duct should be semi-rigid or heavy-duty metal. Choose between aluminum and galvanized steel.
8. Insulate the Duct in Cold Areas
You don’t need to insulate a dryer’s duct, except for the part running through an unheated space in your house.
Even if a duct runs through a relatively cold area, insulation isn’t always necessary. However, insulation can stop unexpected condensation in the duct and dryer, especially in the winter.
Thus, consider insulating the duct in a cold attic and other unheated spaces. You don’t need to insulate the vent on the dryer or the hose connecting the appliance to the duct.
9. Consider a Dryer Booster Fan
A dryer booster fan is unnecessary for short ducts. However, you may need one if your duct is close to 25 feet (~7.62 m) or longer.
A typical exhaust fan isn’t suitable for a dryer due to the hot exhaust and the likelihood of lint buildup. Besides, the motor is in line with the airflow, and standard exhaust fans can’t do much when you have a duct longer than 25 feet (~7.62 m) with multiple elbows at 90° or other angles.
This Tjernlund Dryer Booster Fan (available on Amazon.com) is a fitting option.
The fan motor is outside the airflow, so it won’t get clogged with lint. This booster fan is also compatible with 4 inches (~10 cm) ducts that most dryers have. Also, the model has a fire protection thermal switch.
10. Replace Screws With Foil Tape
Last but not least, replace any screws you may have on the ductwork with aluminum foil tape. A screw may retain some moisture and have a minor lint buildup. Also, screws may create some air gaps, which can facilitate more condensation due to temperature fluctuations inside the duct.
Professional installers use hose clamps and foil tape, not screws. Even if you have to support the duct at different places, clamping systems are better than drilling a hole into the metal pipe.
The secret to stopping condensation in your dryer is to ensure that the appliance can vent the hot exhaust air and moisture without any obstructions whatsoever. You may need more than one of the preventive measures I’ve discussed here to make your dryer’s ecosystem failsafe.