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Powdered detergents clogging septic lines?
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Post# 711591   10/26/2013 at 23:33 (1,181 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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This was a new one on me.

Friends built a house in the country about 15 years ago. It has a septic tank and a drainfield. Recently their youngest son (a second grader) ran inside announcing he'd discovered a "new spring." You guessed it -- it was a clogged sewer line that had popped its cork, so to speak.

The guy who came to pump out the septic tank told them there was nothing wrong with the tank, but showed them a filter in the line ahead of the tank that was completely clogged with a white substance he identified as powdered laundry detergent. He said that using a HE machine (which they've had since 2010) made it worse. He advised them to use only liquids and the problem would never recur.

I kept my mouth shut, but have grave doubts about all this. True, they've been heavy users of Tide HE powder, which is probably loaded with washing soda and zeolites, and they live in an area with fairly hard water (central Kentucky) but it's hard to believe that laundry detergent/minerals alone would cause a clog, when you consider all the other stuff going through there.

Also, the sewer guy also claimed that using a water hog washer would help, but that takes MORE detergent, not less. So wouldn't that cause more clogging? This implies he thinks its a flow problem, too.

Anyway, they've switched from Tide HE to (wait for it) XTRA liquid and homemade washing soda/borax/soap! Something tells me this isn't going to be any better on their septic lines, AND their clothes will not be getting too clean, either...

Post# 711592 , Reply# 1   10/27/2013 at 00:03 (1,181 days old) by sarahperdue (Alabama)        

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Did you say filter in the line ahead of the septic tank? Dumbfounded. But I know nothing of modern septic tanks. Mine was built in '38.

Post# 711593 , Reply# 2   10/27/2013 at 00:08 (1,181 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Um... if the filter is catching powdered detergent it's certainly going to clog the first time solids are flushed down a toilet.

Post# 711594 , Reply# 3   10/27/2013 at 00:20 (1,181 days old) by beekeyknee (Columbia, MO)        

beekeyknee's profile picture
XTRA liquid, homemade washing soda, borax and soap? Probably cold water too. Pee-u.

Post# 711596 , Reply# 4   10/27/2013 at 00:32 (1,181 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
I'm just saying

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Post# 711603 , Reply# 5   10/27/2013 at 02:01 (1,181 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Using "water hog washing machine would help":

Yes, because there would be more water to dilute powdered detergent.

"but it's hard to believe that laundry detergent/minerals alone would cause a clog"

Since the removal of phosphates powdered laundry detergents have often become full of solids that are either hard to dilute properly (especially in warm or cold water), and or aren't going to dissolve at all.

Sodium sulfate and Zeolites (a type of clay) do not dissolve. Washing soda really needs very warm to hot water to dissolve totally. Ditto for borax. This is even before having to deal with hard water minerals.

Most all laundry powders today contain precipitating water softeners. This means they are going to bind with hard water minerals and form solids that in theory should be drained away. But what happens when they drain away?

This problem isn't new and limited to septic tank systems. Many times plumbers must be called because pipes that routinely see water drained from washing machines have become caked up with not dissolved washing powders.

Feel bad they have had to use X-tra detergent. The stuff is really like coloured water than detergent. Maybe we can take up a liquid detergent collection!

Post# 711614 , Reply# 6   10/27/2013 at 06:09 (1,181 days old) by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

I live part time in a high rise condo on the 10th floor. We have been asked not to use powdered detergents only liquids. They have had numerous flooding problems from washing machines using powder. We have a laundry room with 4 washers and dryers and signs all over the room no powder only liquids. The plumbers and finally an engineer came to find out why the flooding and they stated it was the use of powder detergents. It was clogging the pipes. How and why I don't know. The building was erected in 1986 so its not that old. Since this "rule" was put into place the flooding has stopped pretty much. So I guess there is some evidence that this is what was causing the flooding. Each unit has washer and dryer hook-ups besides the laundry room.

Post# 711615 , Reply# 7   10/27/2013 at 06:13 (1,181 days old) by Washman (Butler, PA)        
Not sure sure on that one

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Live 21 years in the country SW of Indy with my parents. Had well water, hard well water too. Mom used Bold3 or other powder detergent all those years and the septic never clogged.
For 15+ years she had a dishwasher too that drained into the septic as well. Nary a problem.
THe only thing it needed was an additional finger to accomodate the 3 bedroom manufactured home that arrived in the spring of 1993.


Post# 711647 , Reply# 8   10/27/2013 at 09:45 (1,181 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        
Garbage Disposal?

mrb627's profile picture
Do they have one?


Post# 711655 , Reply# 9   10/27/2013 at 10:36 (1,181 days old) by donprohel (I live in Denmark, but I am Italian)        

When I was living in Rome, in a furnished flat (well, sounds better than it was) suddenly I discovered that the drain pipes were all lined by a sort of thick layer of a strange thick greyish grime.

When I connected my washing machine, which was a water-hog top loader, the pressure and quantity of the drain water caused that grime to detach from the pipes and clog them.

I found in the flat a bottle of liquid "Bolt 2 in 1 with softener": the stuff had a sort of powder in suspension (looked like clay or chalk) which was exactly the same that clogged the drain pipes.

Powders, on the other side, often contain zeolites, which do not dissolve in water and hence might potentially clog the drain pipes

Post# 711659 , Reply# 10   10/27/2013 at 10:55 (1,181 days old) by wayupnorth (Maine - Vacationland )        
Septic Systems

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18 years ago I had an engineered septic system installed that pumps uphill about 300 feet. By law, everything using water in the house has to go thru the septic because I am in a shoreland zone. The installer gave me a pamphlet with do's and dont's to keep the system at maximum efficiency and minimal problems. 1-NO garbage disposal. 2-only liguid detergent, 3-Only white, 1 ply toilet paper, 4-NO baby wipes down the toilet, 5-have pump station pumped out and inspected every 7-10 years. Other than a stuck float valve, the system has worked perfectly all these years following that advice.

Post# 711660 , Reply# 11   10/27/2013 at 10:58 (1,180 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Approx 9-years-old septic system here.  I've always used powders but the past couple years maybe 85% powder, 15% liquid.  No apparent trouble related to clogging thus far.  Wastewater service inspects 3 times per year.

Post# 711672 , Reply# 12   10/27/2013 at 12:13 (1,180 days old) by DigAPony ( New Jersey)        
laundry detergents have often become full of solids

I gather this means adding supplemental STTP wouldn't quite solve the problem either as the offending solids are still there..

Post# 711673 , Reply# 13   10/27/2013 at 12:18 (1,180 days old) by dirtybuck (Springfield, MO)        

I remember my dad calling a psuedo Roto Rooter type company to come and unclog the drain pipe to the washer once in the mide-60's and again in the early 70's. I remember what "fun" it was to climb on top of the washer (Frigidaire), and when the water got to the top of the drain pipe, either lift the lid or pull out the knob to the timer. However, there were those occasions when we didn't make it in time and water spewed out of the pipe and all over the floor.

Anyway, the plumber told us the instigator to the problem was high sudsing powders. He told my dad to switch to a low sudser and we more than likely wouldn't have the problem again. We made teh change and everything was fine. This lasted for a year or so until my dad noticed that Dash and All were a bit more pricey than Tide, Cold Power and Cheer. He switched back to those brands, which again warranted another call to unclog the drain.

Post# 711678 , Reply# 14   10/27/2013 at 12:32 (1,180 days old) by DirectDriveDave (Long Island, NY)        
I feel it has to be something else.

House here has used powdered detergents for 23 years, that's also the age of the house itself. No blocked septic lines.

Post# 711682 , Reply# 15   10/27/2013 at 12:42 (1,180 days old) by YoGiTuNeS (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
newer septic systems are changing all the time....just had a neighbor who had a tank installed....and they have these lids that uncamp and pop up, and theres a so called filter/strainer that gets emptied about every three months...

odd as it may be....this could be the new wave of things to do in maintenance of septics.....

it has always been told that an autoamtic washer is a Septic tanks worst nightmare....

my house is only ten years old, with a newer style septic and field bed configuration.....even the Cleanout Crew asked if we have re-routed the washer to another source!....think about it, I have 4 Flers pumping into it!.....

I have been in homes where only the kitchen sink and toilets are routed to one tank....and tubs, sinks, dishwasher, and washer are routed to a gray water tank...and this was by code, at least for that area!

I still don't get why a disposer is not allowed in a septic setup!....this oe puzzles me....

Post# 711694 , Reply# 16   10/27/2013 at 14:39 (1,180 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        
Sodium sulfate and Zeolites do not dissolve...

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Actually sodium sulfate is quite soluble in water. However it is a temperature dependent solubility, with the solubility increasing 10-fold between 32F and 90F (0C to 33C). However, since the temperature of the ground outside of permafrost areas is generally at least 50F, I'm not sure this is a factor in septic tank solubility. Since sodium sulfates only role in laundry detergents is as a bulking agent, the use of concentrated or HE powders may reduce or eliminate them as a factor anyway.

Zeolites are another matter. They are indeed a form of dirt (aluminum silicate) and do not become soluble at any normal household temperatures. They are easily suspended in water, however, and really should only become an issue once they settle out in the septic tank by gravity, necessitating somewhat more frequent tank servicing. How many boxes of laundry detergent do you use per year, and what is the solid capacity volume of the tank? May not be noticeable in the home tank. However it has been noted in the literature as a matter of concern for municipal waste water treatment systems, where the zeolites can increase the amount of sludge the treatment plants have to handle.

Washing soda, or sodium carbonate, is very soluble in water. It is actually more soluble in water at 95F, than, say, at 130F. However the difference is negligible for home laundry since the stuff can be soluble to the tune of one pat sodium carbonate to two parts water, a level not expected to be seen in any washer with normal amounts used. However washing soda can and will form insoluble precipitates with hard water minerals, forming the familiar limestone like scale in washers and perhaps pipes as well. And of course that precipitate may wind up as part of the septic tank sludge that must be pumped out after a number of years. Again, how many boxes of laundry powder does one use in, say, five years, compared to the capacity of the septic tank?

Post# 711786 , Reply# 17   10/28/2013 at 01:11 (1,180 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        
I think I read a few years back,

toploader55's profile picture
That STPP helped break down zeolites.

Anyone else hear that ?

Post# 711790 , Reply# 18   10/28/2013 at 02:04 (1,180 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        
Thanks everyone, for the comments

supersuds's profile picture
Launderess, your links are always required reading. I like the idea of taking up a detergent collection, too.

Malcolm, there is no garbage disposal involved.

I'm in the camp of people who've never had any septic tank problems despite years, decades in fact, of powdered detergent usage. But I have no filter. According to the link below, some systems require them (on the outlet, not the inlet, so I misunderstood that part) and some don't. The filters are designed to be easy to clean with a garden hose. The expectation is that they WILL need to be cleaned. I'm thinking if my friends have gone all this time without having the filter cleaned they probably don't even have a problem; it's functioning the way it was designed.


Post# 711791 , Reply# 19   10/28/2013 at 02:12 (1,180 days old) by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Also, from what Rich (sudsmaster) and Launderess posted, it doesn't seem so unlikely that filter-clogging hard water deposits could develop. I suspect my friends do a lot of washing in cold water, though I haven't interrogated them about it. They've become quite the greenies in the past few years, and their towels always look dingy, as catty as it sounds to say that. So it's possible the washing soda isn't getting dissolved in the first place.

Post# 711806 , Reply# 20   10/28/2013 at 03:42 (1,180 days old) by stan (Napa CA)        
Don't understand

stan's profile picture
If they have been buying Tide HE, why switch to cheap liquid, or the homemade soap mix ?
Why not try liquid All (free n clear) or some such... Most liquid detergents say that they are septic safe?

Use some hot water, for white loads, and clean the screen once in a while, with CLR or something ?
Might be a good idea to empty the hot water tank to get some of the hard water build up out of it too.

Don't know what the addition of STPP would do to a septic tank? Launderers, or Sudsmasterter would though!

Post# 711809 , Reply# 21   10/28/2013 at 05:00 (1,180 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

mark_wpduet's profile picture
I wonder what it could be.........some people with septic tanks reports clogs using powdered detergent, while others don't.

I don't have a septic tank - I'm on city water.....but I always use powder. I couldn't imagine using liquid. I don't like it.

But speaking of plumbing, this has sort of reminded me of something that happens with my plumbing.......

Sometimes, if you flush the toilet, the bathtub or sink in that same bathroom will make a gurgling I run a bunch of water down the drains in both sink and bathtub, and it stops for a few weeks......then you hear the sound again, so I repeat.......the drains drain really fast. Nothing is clogged. I have never understood why the drains gurgle sometimes in the bathroom after the toilet has been flushed. I hope I haven't got a buildup in my pipes from using powered detergent.

Post# 711810 , Reply# 22   10/28/2013 at 05:00 (1,180 days old) by washer111 ()        

Since STPP is Phosphate, I would merely expect (maybe) some algal growth in the septics, or a very green lawn around where the leech-drain "lives." And if you encourage plant growth like that, then I'd be wary of encouraging tree-roots (and the like) into the system... 


Of course, with tree-roots living in the leech-drain, you'd probably have a hard time flushing the toilet without it, well, overflowing!

Post# 711812 , Reply# 23   10/28/2013 at 05:20 (1,180 days old) by NYCWriter (New York, New York)        
I think the point is ...

... that with the introduction of phosphate-free detergents, the powdered stuff isn't dissolving properly.

Washing in less-than-hot water appears also to be exacerbating the problem.

Post# 711817 , Reply# 24   10/28/2013 at 06:33 (1,180 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
but laundry detergent

mark_wpduet's profile picture
has been phosphate free for a LONG time.

Hasn't it?

Post# 711837 , Reply# 25   10/28/2013 at 08:26 (1,180 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture may have a blocked air vent somewhere....even the roof.....

I was having these issues too, but only at certain times....I thought to climb on the roof and figured on running a garden hose down there with gushing water to clear anything out(maybe a bird or bee nest), only to find that during shipment of the house there were these plugs in the vents, for whatever reason, once removed, all these issues stopped....

I have 4 vents coming out of the roof, and each one had a plug in it.....who would have thought....something to check out!

Post# 711862 , Reply# 26   10/28/2013 at 11:05 (1,179 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
I don't recall ever hearing that STPP could break down zeolites... and I'm pretty sure I never claimed it!

Zeolites are basically aluminum silicate. They have lots of nooks and crannies on an atomic level that can capture and hold hard water mineral atoms. In this way they function to make hard water softer. I'm not aware that sodium tripolyphosphate can break down silicates, aluminum or otherwise.

After thinking about it a bit, I figure that any screen in a septic tank must be at the top, before the lines to the drain field. To keep "floaters" from clogging the drain field lines, I suppose. I'm just guessing, but putting the filter between the house and the tank would make far less sense.

Post# 711898 , Reply# 27   10/28/2013 at 14:38 (1,179 days old) by DigAPony ( New Jersey)        
bathtub or sink in that same bathroom will make a gurgling

As Yogitunes suggested, it sounds like a venting issue and/or partially blocked adjacent waste lines .

Every so often I drag the garden hose into the house, remove the strainer and blast out the shower drain. Even with new 2'' PVC piping I find lots of crud can, and does, accumulate in shower/tub drains over time for obvious reasons.

Especially if the venting, size, or pitch of the waste lines isn't ideal.

Whenever I'm on the roof with the hose cleaning the gutters I will blast some water down the vent pipes as well for good measure.

Post# 711910 , Reply# 28   10/28/2013 at 15:36 (1,179 days old) by dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

We are on city sewer now, but at our old house, which was built in 2000, we used our share of powder (laundry and dishwasher) for 12 years, and never had a problem 9 years was with a top load washer, and about 3 with a front loader. Believe it or not, the septic tank was NEVER pumped/cleaned. Still working fine to this day.

Post# 711954 , Reply# 29   10/28/2013 at 19:16 (1,179 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
My roof

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Is WAY too steep or I would. I once got on my roof to clean the dryer vent and had a panic attack because the pitch is THAT STEEP, but until you're actually ON the roof, you don't realize how steep it is....after I got down safely, I said I would never do that again....

I didn't realize how vent pipes even work.....or that you could just squirt water down them

The garden hose is a good idea. I might try it...INSIDE..

It doesn't happen all of the time though.....weird.

At least I know now what it possibly could be.

Post# 711987 , Reply# 30   10/28/2013 at 22:24 (1,179 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
But the thing does occur in enough homeowners to be dismissed as an old wives tale.

Wonder if water pressure has anything to with powdered detergents clogging up plumbing and or septic tanks.

Know persons that live in an apartment complex on Staten Island and their laundry room is "liquids" only. Know this because was going to donate some of my powdered detergent stash and it was politely refused for that reason.

IIRC back in the days when soap was wash day queen, it caused all sorts of problems with plumbing.

Post# 712013 , Reply# 31   10/29/2013 at 01:34 (1,179 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Well, I could see soap scum causing plumbing issues.

Also lime scale from powders that rely only on washing soda as a water softener in hard water areas.

But I still can't figure how powders would have any effect on a septic yank.

Post# 712019 , Reply# 32   10/29/2013 at 02:00 (1,179 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Everything one reads keeps coming back to undissloved solids

launderess's profile picture
In laundry powders as possible culprits in mucked up septic systems.

The following makes reference to "clay" in laundry detergent powders which one can only assume are Zeolites.


Post# 712096 , Reply# 33   10/29/2013 at 13:23 (1,178 days old) by donprohel (I live in Denmark, but I am Italian)        
"Clay" in laundry detergents

A few years ago, if I remember correctly, in Italy a detergent (I cannot remember whether it was liquid or powder) was advertised as "2 in 1 with fabric conditioner" and the advertising stated that it contained "sweet clay" ("argilla dolce", don't ask me what on earth it might ever be) which was described as a fabric softener.

Maybe some other Italian member remembers that detergent

Post# 712101 , Reply# 34   10/29/2013 at 14:08 (1,178 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

mrboilwash's profile picture
Bentonite is sometimes used in 2in1 detergents, sweet clay might be a marketing term for it.
But I doubt that this was the culprit.

Why would someone switch from Tide to Xtra ?
I wonder if there might be just a smallish chance that the Tide HE box was only used for "display" purposes and maybe got frequently refilled with Sun powder or something similar BOL that relys only on washing soda as a water softener.
Tide should have a whole bunch of chemicals to deal with water hardness and even if it "could" cause problems in a septic tank I can`t imagine a clogged drain pipe because of the use of powered Tide.

Never heard of powders causing those problems on this side of the pond, but BOL detergents with only washing soda for water softening have dissapeared decades ago when phosphates became popular.

This post was last edited 10/29/2013 at 14:25
Post# 712125 , Reply# 35   10/29/2013 at 15:45 (1,178 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Tide Powder And For That Matter The Cheer One Has Used

launderess's profile picture
Both seem to leave a chalky residue in the SS sink one drains washers into. Indeed the Cheer powder badly dulled/discolored the aluminum tub of my minty Hoover TT. Was not well pleased.

Post# 712129 , Reply# 36   10/29/2013 at 16:34 (1,178 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

mrboilwash's profile picture
Launderess, do you mean a residue that could not be removed by flushing the tub with water ?
Sounds like you`re not talking about zeolites.

Post# 712134 , Reply# 37   10/29/2013 at 17:35 (1,178 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
Dulling/discoloration cannot be removed by flushing, wiping, polishing thus far.

Not sure what chemicals in P&G's powder detergents caused the dulling but the Zeolites probably did not. However am sure their over use in such products along with soda ash and god only knows what else, is the reason why wash water from said powders is rather "chalky" and leaves a powder reside on the SS wash sink. Can wipe away that mess or scrub the sink with Bon Ami, but does make one wonder what is left in the wash.

Post# 712191 , Reply# 38   10/30/2013 at 05:13 (1,178 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

mrboilwash's profile picture
I could imagine dulling/discoloration of aluminium when a product`s pH is way too high, but don`t know for sure.

I don`t like Zeolites as well, they are one of the reasons why I finally switched to liquids. Did not want to inhale that nasty dust anymore when cleaning the dryer`s lint screen. In particular compact (concentated) powders like Megaperls are still loaded (up to 30%) with the stuff.

However I have read somewhere (Henkel I think) that there have been concerns about clogging sewer lines before phosphate free detergents went on the market in late 1980`s. Apparently extensive tests have ruled that out.

I think it`s not the Zeolites to blame for clogged pipes but the super lowgrade powders sometimes still found in the States that only rely on one cheap precipitaing water softener.

Post# 712227 , Reply# 39   10/30/2013 at 09:58 (1,178 days old) by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
I can see it

iheartmaytag's profile picture
The Zeolite (clay particles) don't do alot of expansion while in the washer doing their job in the the limited environment and lesser water levels, but once they hit the septic environment I can imagine they will swell to their full capacity and reek havoc where they land.

Post# 712696 , Reply# 40   11/1/2013 at 22:45 (1,175 days old) by abcomatic (Bradford, Illinois)        
question about dryer vents

Some of you have dryers that vent through the roof? Really? What's wrong with through the wall or the window in the basement?

Post# 712736 , Reply# 41   11/2/2013 at 05:50 (1,175 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
Kind of OFF topic

mark_wpduet's profile picture
but mine vents through the roof!! and I HATE it!

The laundry room is in the center of the house so it's not possible to vent anywhere but the roof.

Over the years, I've cleaned the vent routinely with an electric leaf blower and even a brush running from the laundry room UP to the vent that exits the roof. It would only take a few months for quite a bit of lint to accumulate in the run before it would need to be cleaned. I could always tell by drying times.

About 8 months ago, I cleaned the vent line really well....My dryer is very easy for me to get behind, so I've been using a mesh paint strainer put into the vent behind the dryer that connects to the wall (sort of like lining the vent with a trash bag, only it's a paint strainer), then connecting it to the back of the dryer - and I clean it about every two weeks. It has kept ALL lint from getting into the vent line and the clothes are drying fast.

I got this idea from a lady and her husband who had been doing this for years in their condo on Gardenweb laundry forum and she said it kept their run really clean.... and at first I was so afraid of it being a fire hazard..I even mentioned that to her....but the clothes dry really fast and the entire run is completely lint free after 8 having to get behind the dryer every 2 weeks is kind of a pain.. it takes be about 10 minutes to clean and put it back on...........but it's much better than cleaning the entire vent run......It's just good to know I won't ever have to do that again....It's amazing how much lint escapes the dryer lint screen

When the dryer is running the back of the dryer doesn't feel over heated, I've examined everything and don't see it as an issue as long as I regularly clean it. No one else does laundry but me.

Post# 712772 , Reply# 42   11/2/2013 at 12:41 (1,174 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Unlike real clay minerals, zeolites have a rigid three dimensional structure and do not swell in the presence of water or shrink in its absence.

Post# 712773 , Reply# 43   11/2/2013 at 12:47 (1,174 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Once lived in a two story rental house, built in the 20's. The kitchen on the 1st floor had a vent by the stove. I wanted a dryer, so I moved the stove over (which being modern had no vent) and ran a metal duct from the dryer to the stove vent. It worked great. Never seemed to clog the chimney, either, but that may be because the chimney was at least 8" diameter. I would check the clean out at the bottom of the chimney tube from time to time, but never got much lint down there, either. I would also check with a mirror and flashlight to look up the chimney pipe, and never saw much lint stuck to the walls.

After 12 years I moved out to a mid century (well, '41) home with a standard horizontal 4" diameter steel duct running about 15 feet from dryer to outside wall down in the crawl. It does require brushing out every couple of years. I keep an eye on the dryer vent louvers... when they don't seem to be as horizontal as usual, and/or the dryer itself seems to take longer and its cabinet gets warmer than usual, I know it's time to brush out the lint buildup. One of these days I'm gonna insulate the outside of the duct in the crawl to reduce condensation inside it, which in turn will reduce lint buildup. The kitchen vent in the previous house ran in the middle of the structure, so it probably didn't have that kind of condensation issue.

Post# 712880 , Reply# 44   11/2/2013 at 21:57 (1,174 days old) by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        

iheartmaytag's profile picture
I just looked at my box of Tide He Powder. It says "Safe for septic Tanks".

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