Clothes Dryer Taking Longer.....

I have a Kenmore electric dryer. It was starting to take a long time to dry a load of clothes. After searching Google groups for answers, I spent a torturous afternoon cleaning the 4 inch vent (from middle of the house with two 90 degree turns). I never did get the flexible vent brush all the way through but I do believe I finally crushed all the lint together from each side. Then when I jammed rags around an electric leaf blower nozzle and blew out the clogs they left an ejecta trail 20 feet into the yard. At this point the exhaust vent honestly seems pretty clear. When I go outside the airflow feels practically as strong as it does straight out of the dryer.
It is working a whole lot better but still doesn't work as well as it used to. It seems to get hot enough. But the timer advances before the clothes are dry. If not for this I think you could put a full load into it and come back to find dry clothes.
Thankfully, Sears has exploded drawings available:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?M25D12DDC
And the legend:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?V58D21DDC
In reading through the dryer troubleshooting section of repairclinic.com I see a reference to the timer only advancing when the unit reaches the proper temperature (seems hot enough to me) AND the moisture sensor tells it that the clothes are drying.
When I look at the exploded drawing, item 34 (very top of the drawing, center of the page) is called 'electrode sensor'. Does anyone know if this is a moisture sensor and, if so, do you think it could be worn out? Dirty? Time to cough up the cash for a service call?
I do know that the timer did not used to advance this way. It might have run a long time if you were drying something big and heavy but when it stopped the load would be dry.
If I'm on the wrong track here, thanks in advance for any ideas that might help me get this machine working well again.
    Tom
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Tom McQuinn wrote:

    It is hard to make out the components without the key relating to the numbers, but from your description I would look to see if there were two heating elements paralleled. One of them opening up might very well give you the results you describe.
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yes to one of two elements failing.
another issue is how dry is the washer spinning them out? if they come out of the washer too wet drying will take forever.
Yesterday I fixed a friends moms electric dryer, never workied on a electric one before. geez in comparison with gas its a empty box
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from the photo drawing looks like just one element
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Tom McQuinn wrote:

That sensor electrode is basically two metal bars, when wet and therefore conductive laundry rubs against them the control senses this and retards the timer to allow more drying time. If the contact bars have become dirty so that there is an insulating film over them then the dryer could cycle too quickly. It's also possible for there to be a bad connection in the wiring from the sensor electrodes or a bad control, but simply cleaning the electrodes is an easy thing to try.
It's a fairly "creative" war to sense the moisture content of the laundry, but it works reasonably well. I think only some of the very newest dryers actually have "real" sensors to measure the moisture content of the exhaust air.
Pete C.
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Look for more lint clogs inside the dryer. Most often they exist after the lint filter but before the vent output pipe. Usually need to take the front off the dryer to access the inside air path. Given what you found in the external vent, its a safe bet you have a restriction inside the dryer as well.
Reduced airflow will cause increased drying times. Clean it all out now before the (non resettable) thermal fuse blows and you have to replace it at extra cost.

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PipeDown wrote:

Wilco. Just took about a gallon of very moist, dense lint out of this area. In fact, it was keeping the lint screen from fully locking down. There's a load of towels drying as a test right now.
hallerb - I got a look at the heating element and it looks like a single element, just as you saw in the drawing.
Pete C. - I wanted to smack myself when I saw how simple the 'moisture sensor' was. Once I understood what I was looking for all I had to do was stick my head through the door to see them. The contact bars show no sign of corrosion but I will certainly explore this further if the latest clean out doesn't cure the problem.
I went on line and reserved a couple of appliance repair books from the library when I started this. I may not need them with this kind of help!
    Tom
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As Pete C mentioned, dirt is a common problem with these sensors. The usual "dirt" is a waxy buildup from using dryer sheets. If you use them, need to wipe off the sensors with something like alcohol every three months or so.
Tom G.
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wrote:

Quit messing around and just buy a NEW dryer, fer pete's sake.
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:)
JR
Whirlpool stockholder
  Click to see the full signature.
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Jim Redelfs wrote:

I want to apologize to the group for my wife's impersonation of JR in the previous post. She has agreed to never do it again in exchange for a new house. <vbg>
    Tom
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If you need more help with the vent cleaning, go to http://CleanYourOwnDryerVent.com Alisa
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Did you check both fuses? You may only be getting 110V. This will allow the dryer to run but at a lower temp.

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john lawrence beat me to the punch... i have two 110 flip style circuit breakers for my dryer. i will occasionally have the same lack of drying and it is always that the switch doen't trip fully and runs on 110. sop is to switch both off fully and back on. this always happens when the kids overload the dryer. good luck

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One pole and neutral run the motor and timer at 110V and both poles (w/o neutral) make the 220V to run the heating element. If the breaher that dosen't have the motor across it trips, the motor will run but the heat won't fire. If the other breaker trips, it will stop alltogether.
More seriously, there should be a 220V dual breaker with a tie bar in that location not two 110V breakers. It creates a shock hazard when someone trips the breaker with the motor and leaves the other one hot. Touch the heater terminal and the grounded chassis (while you think it is off) and someone is doing CPR (well, duh, you shoulda unplugged it ayway).
At least try to get a tie bar to connect the 110V breakers if possible

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