The Mystery is Solved but the Problem Isn't
April 20, 2019 6:32 AM   Subscribe

For a year or so my clothes and bedding were getting small quarter inch tears in them. I finally found the source of the problem. The clothes were getting hung up on the torn grating inside the dryer. help me find a way tp patch this without having to replace the grating or take the back off the dryer. DIY, I don't want to hire someone to fix this.
posted by Xurando to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Before improvising, I’d seek a replacement through an appliance parts vendor. You could also try bending the sharp tabs out / away so that fabric is less likely to catch.
posted by jon1270 at 6:53 AM on April 20, 2019

The grating needs to be replaced. Either take the dryer apart yourself and install a replacement, or hire someone to do it. How much money will you spend in fixing/replacing torn items vs. time/energy spent in properly fixing the problem.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:53 AM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

I would slap a few layers of duct tape over it. (Probably not the best way to fix the problem, admittedly)
posted by Fig at 6:54 AM on April 20, 2019

I feel like the adhesive on the duct tape would just melt and then you’d have tape adhesive getting everywhere. The grate looks like it has rusted and is broken which in my mind means that the whole thing could be getting brittle. And this is the vent for your dryer so obstructing it to an extent to cover that broken area could make your dryer run extra hot? Who knows.

How about a file? Get in there with a metal file and curve over the edges? Just work on making them less sharp. But I’ve heard of friends doing dryer repair from YouTube so maybe it’s less daunting than you think. At least try to find out if this piece can be removed from the front or back and see if you can get a new grate for your machine. Maybe you can hire a friend to help you if there’s a video or instructional about how to do this.
posted by amanda at 7:02 AM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

This grate is where the hot air comes out of the combustion chamber. I would not advise putting anything meltable or flammable over it. It should not be blocked - reducing airflow will make things even hotter. If a piece of clothing gets caught in that larger hole during a cycle it could possibly catch fire even if the high-temperature safety sensors are working.

Please get it fixed properly.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:09 AM on April 20, 2019 [12 favorites]

Definitely don't put duct tape over it! It's open for a reason.

Dryers are probably the easiest home appliance to fix. You just need space to take it apart (you often have to remove several panels to get to what you need) and some simple tools. Many of the brands use the same components and have done so for years, so the parts are generally readily available (either from a local appliance parts company or online).

But if you don't want to try it yourself, you're better off just getting it fixed. Dryers also one of the few appliances that can burn your house down if stuff gets in the wrong spot.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:20 AM on April 20, 2019

Sorry for thread sitting but...., I'm looking for a short term solution. If and when the dryer needs repair (and it will), I will have the grate replaced. Until then I want to avoid the $100 minimum just for showing up. I'm leaning towards filing.
posted by Xurando at 7:23 AM on April 20, 2019

This seems like a perfect application for Sugru - it is supposed to be heat resistant to over 300 degrees which I think is twice as hot as you get in the dryer.
posted by mzurer at 7:43 AM on April 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Seconding mzurer’s Sugru suggestion. I used it to close up a gap in my dryer that kept catching clothes and making a mess of them. I can’t tell how large that hole is (or what that grate is), but you might just apply it as little bumpers on the sharp points, maybe sandwiching it with the adjacent metal to minimize the risk of it getting sucked/blown/falling into that vent. I used white Sugru and never had any color transfer issues. But yeah, replacing that part would be ideal.
posted by jroybal at 8:00 AM on April 20, 2019

I'd strip down some copper wire and weave over the holes after filing or bending back any pointy bits. Or hit the store and try to find some sort of big hole wire strainer to cut up and make patch sized things, then put mix up some 2 part epoxy to dab around the broken section (not blocking the holes) and use that to hold the patch in place.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:18 AM on April 20, 2019

As others have advised, do not apply anything that will act to block the vent, including sugru.

Short of replacing the grate, about the only short-term fix is to bend back the pointy bits away from the drum. Filing them smooth won't hurt. However, that still leaves a gaping hole in the grate which some piece of clothing is eventually going to stuff itself into, which could create a fire hazard, or cause the dryer to overheat.

Looking at your photo, it appears there's a smaller hole forming on the lower left side of the grate, too. Fix that as well.

But definitely get a real repair done asap. Dryers are amazingly easy DIY fixes. FWIW, the inlet grate (the piece in question) is usually a fixed part of a larger duct assembly that leads from the heating unit and mounts to the back of the drum.

I suggest going to Sears Parts Direct, plugging-in your model number and find the schematic for your dryer. That will help you see how to do the fix yourself.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:33 AM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

I suggest putting small globs of epoxy over of the sharp bits. JB Weld can take heat over 500°F.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:41 AM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Bend the little sharp bits back on themselves in toward the vent, away from the clothes with a plier. Make sure the
posted by MountainDaisy at 9:14 AM on April 20, 2019

If there's a half inch of clearance behind the mesh: Pop rivet through the existing holes. Nonflammable and mostly flush.
posted by enfa at 9:18 AM on April 20, 2019

You could buy maybe five sets of very short stainless steel bolts and matching acorn nuts, and put them through the vent holes with the acorn nuts facing out into the dryer in such a way that they kept the clothes from touching the damaged part of the vent.
posted by jamjam at 9:21 AM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

HVAC foil tape; looks like you need only cover 4 rows of holes; I'd leave the lower 2 rows uncovered. If you feel like it, poke some holes in the tape.
posted by at at 5:49 AM on April 21, 2019

Buy a roll of stainless steel wire and sew/knit a mesh screen through the remaining holes, over the opening. No adhesive or plastics, it can cover up at least 2/3 of the area, and will still let air through.
posted by flimflam at 4:04 PM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

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