Using technology to fix my dumb dryer?


(Mike) #1

There’s a little story first before I get to my question…

It seems my dryer has issues telling when the clothes are dry if I put it on any of the moisture sensing settings, but it does not usually finish drying the clothes if I use the maximum amount of time that I can set (I believe it’s 90 minutes).

I already have a webCoRE piston and an Energy monitor plug setup to know when the dryer is running (it’s a gas dryer). One of the things I check for in my piston is how long the dryer ran. Well, last night I tossed a load of clothes in the dryer and went to bed. This morning the dryer was still running seven hours later.

So the question is, do a get the dryer repair guy out there, or do I just add some code to my piston which says something like?

IF dryer has been running more than X hours then turn off the plug that provides AC power to the dryer.

I know all of this is possible…but before I go down that path I just want to make sure that there won’t be some adverse effects to me cutting the AC power to the dryer like that while it is running.


(Ron Talley) #2

Did the same thing as I felt that the Dryer (Gas) was running way too long! I started off just killing the power after 90 minutes. That didn’t help the clothes drying but it did bring awareness that something was wrong.

I had 3 issues:

  1. Kids were over stuffing the dryer.
  2. Dryer vent hose running from the laundry room to the front of the house was clogged partially.
  3. Wasn’t enough gas to feed the dryer properly (pipe diameter too small for the distance traveled from distribution manifold).

Number 1 and 2 were easy fixes. Number 3 required abandoning the 1/2" gas line that ran from a 5 output manifold and replacing it with a 3/4" gas line branched before the manifold.

Use to take every bit of 1 hour to dry normal loads and sometimes 2 hours to dry things like jeans or heavy loads. Now it takes anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to dry all loads.


#3

I would first tune the dryer itself before I started just cutting power. In my personal opinion, home automation should only be applied to devices which are already running at spec. :sunglasses:

As @rontalley mentioned, two of the most common reasons why clothes don’t dry in the expected time are:

A) overloading the dryer. Most dryers work best when the drum is about half-full at the start. That leaves plenty of room for the clothes to tumble and also for condensation to be removed.

B) lint blockage. It’s really important to identify and correct this one, because it’s the most common reason for dryer fires. On most dryer designs there are three or four different places where a lint blockage can occur. So you need to check the whole pathway. Here’s a good quick article on that that will apply to any dryer:

C) heating element malfunction. This happens, especially with older dryers, but people are more likely to notice that it’s happening because unlike the first two issues, the clothes won’t feel warm.

The following article is longer and more technical, but goes into the various heating element parts that might be failing. If you’ve already done the steps in the previous article, you may want to call a dryer repair service for these next steps rather than checking it yourself. But if you’re comfortable with a multimeter and doing minor appliance repairs yourself, this is a good checklist. It’s also a good look at the concepts even if you are going to call a professional. :sunglasses:


(C L Sanchez 1877) #4

I would personally do both. Your dryer definitely needs service. Being a gas dryer (which I love btw) makes the safety issue that more important. But having a Piston running that monitors the dryer and can alert you that something is amiss is a great idea. I probably would not shut it off though as I see no harm in over running it. If the clothes are still damp, I would want the tumbling at least.

I have also contemplated adding a moisture/humidity sensor in my exhaust line. The idea is determine when the clothes are done. We find the moisture sensor built in is not very reliable so we always run 40 minutes. I suspect they are done sooner.

Finally, I have a very long exhaust run, something like 40-ft. I have to use an inline duct booster fan (dryer application specific).
http://www.fantech.net/products/fans--accessories/circular-duct-fans/fans-for-circular-ducts-with-ac-motors/db/dbf-4xlt-dryer-exhaust-fan/

The fan communicates with an LED indicator that I have wall mounted near the laundry room light switch. I would love to interface this wiring into a ST compatible relay. I could then have ST monitor the on/off status of the fan (which a simple plug can do) but I can also capture the error signals (3rd wire). If I determine the duct booster fan is not working, then I would want my dryer to be shut off so I don’t clog the line with lint.