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How to Keep Your Condenser Dryer Running Efficiently

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I stay on top of maintaining my dryer and I like giving advice to others on how to take care of theirs.

This is my condenser dryer.

This is my condenser dryer.

Maintaining Your Condenser Dryer Will Extend Its Life

I have been using a ventless condenser dryer for over a decade now. For those homes which do not have access to the outside for venting a tumble dryer, a condenser dryer makes perfect sense.

These dryers do take a bit more regular maintenance than vented tumble dryers, but with regular care, they can be kept running smoothly and efficiently. Without this care, you will find that your clothes take longer to dry, wasting electricity and time.

I will show you, from practical experience, how to maintain your condenser dryer and keep it running efficiently for years.

The settings and control on my dryer.

The settings and control on my dryer.

What Is the Difference Between a Condenser Dryer and a Vented Dryer?

  • Condenser Dryer: When drying clothes, the hot moist air is diverted into a condensing chamber. When this hot, moist air hits the metal condensing unit the steam turns into water. This water is collected in a plastic tank which needs to be emptied manually. Some condensing dryers can be plumbed so that this water goes to a drain. Placement: A condenser dryer can be placed anywhere.
  • Vented Dryer: A vented tumble dryer blows hot damp air out via a venting pipe, ideally outdoors through an open window or an outside wall using a venting tube. If not properly vented they will cause condensation within a room. Placement: A vented dryer must be situated near an outside wall for venting purposes.

Condenser Dry Cleaning Schedule

After every load:

  • Empty the water collection chamber.
  • Clear the lint from the lint trap.

Once a month:

  • Pull the condensation unit out and wash it out thoroughly.
  • Thoroughly clean the slot where the lint trap sits.

How to Clean the Lint Trap

The condenser dryers that I have seen have the lint trap situated just inside the door. This is cleared by pulling the trap out and scraping any lint off.

After removing the lint filter and the condensing unit, use a flat dusting brush to push any lint which is sitting in this area out the bottom. The lint can then easily be hoovered up.

Use the hose and a flat attachment on the hoover then to clean the lint trap area and clear any residual lint.

How to Clean the Condenser Unit

Over time, lint will build up in the condenser unit, decreasing airflow through the unit and decreasing drying efficiency.

I have found that the best way to clean the condenser unit is to take it outside. I direct a strong flow of water through the unit and wash out any lint which may be sitting inside. Direct the water into the unit via all sides as the lint can get trapped in every little corner.

This cleaning can be done in the kitchen sink, but it's a bit trickier and many times the condensing unit is too large to sit in the sink and get under the tap.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Do you have any helpful hints for doing laundry?

Georgina on February 20, 2018:

Hi, my clothes seem to have a funny smell after drying them. What do you think it could be please? And also how would I clean the collection tank please? X

Mona on September 11, 2017:

Lately my dryer has been leaving the cloths smelling a bit weird. And I've been cleaning it but nth changed. I discovered today that the water collection tank has a greasy film linning it ( similar to the one that happens in the washing machines softener drawer ) since it has a very tiny opening I cldnt clean it very well. Any suggestions to what can be used to get that film off?

carol. on February 26, 2015:

Thank you for your tumble drier is hot but seems like forever to dry the clothes. I will try what you have suggested and let you know how I get on.

Nan (author) from London, UK on December 24, 2014:

I would suggest following the steps outlined here.

Make sure the condenser unit is clean. My experience has been that more often than not if this is clogged with lint, the dryer will not dry efficiently.

Make sure the lint trap has been thoroughly cleaned.

Make sure the water reservoir has been emptied.

DCRF on December 23, 2014:

I have an LG washer/dryer combo.

It is washing (and spinning) fine but the dryer cycle (condensor dryer) is filling with water leaving the clothes dripping wet.

I am now hang drying until I can diagnose and fix the problem.

Any ideas?

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on June 12, 2013:

I've found in the past that using fabric softener sheets creates a film on the lint filter, too, so for that reason (among others) I don't use those anymore. Your explanations and step-by-steps are excellent! I'm not sure I even knew there was such a thing as a condenser dryer, but now I even understand how they work. Perfect!

Nan (author) from London, UK on April 13, 2013:

@anonymous: I'm very glad I could be of help to you here.

anonymous on April 12, 2013:

Dear NanLT,

I thought I was losing my mind when my condenser dryer stopped working properly and could not work out what was wrong; my husband told me I had overfilled it. I was trying to think of a final solution when I did a Google search and came across your article. I grabbed a screw driver and pried open the bottom compartment to discover the condensing unit was clogged up with gunk. I washed it out, as per your advice, and it is now working better than the day we got it.

Thank you and Blessed Be.

Nan (author) from London, UK on January 09, 2011:

@anonymous: Excellent! I am so glad you were able to find this useful.

anonymous on January 09, 2011:

WOW!! that information was brill, i have just bought a condenser dryer for £27 off the car boot tried it but it was smelly and not very hot, i did what u told me with the condenser and it smells nice and is at its hottest now when set!! wot a bargain and thank you. helen mansfield,u.k x

Nan (author) from London, UK on July 29, 2009:

[in reply to Svein Medhus] Interesting. Still, I have found that my clothes dry faster and come out of the dryer softer than using nothing at all. And it's certainly more ecologically friendly than using dryer sheets.

anonymous on July 29, 2009:

Dryer balls save no energy. I have out them to the test.

Samantha Lynn from Missouri on July 14, 2009:

I didn't even know these existed!

bdkz on July 14, 2009:

Excellent information!

anonymous on July 14, 2009:

Very interesting!

Robin S from USA on July 14, 2009:

Interesting. I've never seen these.