Last updated on February 2nd, 2017
If laundry on a drying cycle comes out of a washer dryer hot and steamy there is a problem with the condensing process. Condenser washer dryers pass the steam through a plastic chamber on the back of the outer drum. During the drying cycle a steady trickle of cold water runs into the top of this chamber. When steam hits the cold water it condenses back into water. The water runs into the bottom of the outer drum and is pumped down the drain as normal.
Clearly the heating element is working OK if the laundry is hot and there is steam in the drum when you open the door. The hot steam generated by drying just isn’t being dealt with. This is likely to be for one of two reasons –
No cold water is running into the condenser chamber
There’s a dedicated valve with a flow restrictor supplying water into the condenser chamber. If the main fill valve was faulty the washing machine would fail on the wash cycle first so the main water valve or plumbing isn’t a suspect (unless there’s very low water pressure maybe). It’s easy to see the dedicated condenser water valve (solenoid). It is attached to a small hose leading to a large plastic compartment at the back of the outer drum. If you know what you are doing you can check that the solenoid hasn’t gone open circuit. Water valves have a very high resistance and could appear open circuit depending on what type of test meter is used. If I remember correctly they are often around 200 Ohms. If you have an appropriate test meter compare the resistance with the other valves. They should be very similar.
The water flow into the condenser chamber is usually only a trickle. This is not a fault. For the steam to be condensed into water there should be some water constantly running into the chamber on the drying cycle.
The condensed water can’t run into the main drum to be pumped away
Another fault is when water is trickling in, but a blockage at the bottom of the condenser chamber is stopping it from running into the main drum to be pumped away. Faults with the main pump would produce the same symptoms – but they would also cause faults in the wash cycle. It might be possible to observe that water is slowly rising up inside the bottom of this chamber. Water should run straight through into the outer drum.
Poorly designed condenser chambers can accumulate fluff inside or can accumulate gunge blocking the path from the chamber to inside the main drum.
This article was inspired by a question which I answered on my Washerhelp forums. You might be interested in seeing the conversation here
Clothes Coming Out Of Washer Dryer Hot And Steamy, Still Wet (goes to washing machine forums).