LG Combo Washer Dryer Lint Build-Up

xand83May 14, 2011

So, we just experienced the real Achilles heel of the LG washer dryer combo units. I must say, for two people and a dog, these units are a fantastic laundry solution. We live in DC, in a small condo, and needed a compact unit that didn't require a vent. Funny thing is, we had a normal stacked (and vented!) washer/dryer, but it was in the kitchen eating up valuable kitchen real estate. We ordered a 24" LG WM3455HS in early September 2010. 8 months later it completely stopped drying clothes.

The culprit:

Now, the first 8 months were heaven. Yeah, it takes 3.5 hours from start to finish, but clothes come out super clean and very dry (albeit a tad wrinkly). Really, it was love. And for $1,500, one should be in love, right?

Right around mid-April of this year the unit stopped drying periodically. A full cycle that would take 3.5 hours before was finished in 30 minutes. No error codes or anything, just completely wet clothes, like it had skipped the dry cycle completely. Turning the dial for timed drying of 2 hours fixed this issue, but only temporarily. It would require this 2 hour manual selection multiple times before long.

I did some googling at that point and saw others, with older models, suffering the same problem. It turns out that lint slowly accumulates in some internal plastic duct. It has to be professionally removed as LG does not make this part available via an access port. There is a "drain pump filter" on the front side that, one is led to believe, collects excess lint, but it does not. Actually, there is rarely anything in that filter. The real lint accumulates in the bowls of the machine. And it looks like this:

What is on the counter is what the repair guy pulled out with his hand. The rest you can see in the sink. Sorry for the blurry photo, but I was trying not to gag. When it was all balled up for the trash, it was bigger than a softball. After a 1-hour tech visit, it is back to drying like a champ.

The technician said that this is very common and he gets calls on these units regularly. He listens to the complaint, opens up the unit, and goes straight for that duct. I asked if this was common on all combo units and he noted that it's common only for the smaller ones (24"), not the larger combo units, in his experience. He was in & out in under an hour.

This is not really a complaint, but I guess a type of PSA for those interested in these units. Perfect for tight spaces, great performance, but there is a ridiculous design flaw with these machines. Being that this unit will be out of warranty in just 3.5 months, the next lint-removal will likely be out of my pocket. A pretty frustrating flaw in a machine that costs so much. So, be warned, there are definitely trade-offs!

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willinak

Great write-up, and thanks for taking the time do a good job!

I had one of these (actually the larger model) on order, but since it hadn't shipped yet, I cancelled! Whew, that was a close one. It's really too bad that the engineering dept. didn't complete the job, because the concept is so cool.

We have a similar situation, ie a "laundry closet", but do have both a vent and 220v, so I think we'll opt for either a Bosch, Asko, or Miele stacked pair. We were so looking forward to having a place to have a clothes basket.

Again,
Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 5:30PM
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xand83

Glad you found it helpful, Willinak. I would definitely opt for a stacked pair, if possible. We had normal stacked units, but they were in the kitchen and we wanted to swap it out for the refrigerator to open up the kitchen. We got that wish, but had to settle for an all-in-one washer/dryer on the flip-side. It's not a bad trade-off until that lint trap fills up! But really, find some other place for your hamper. You'll be much happier in the long run! :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 12:59PM
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suziyq5686

Thanks so much for posting this! We have had a similar problem with our unit and are glad to see its not just us. Also being from DC, could you reccommend a repairman? I am wary of just calling any old person because of the uniqueness of Asko products!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 5:17PM
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xand83

Sure thing. We have used Anytime Appliance for two cleanings at this point. They are in Kensington, MD.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 10:21PM
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whirlpool_trainee

Hm, one should think the Tub Clean cycle should take care of that. At least European washer/dryers have special cycles to flush lint from the unit.

I'd say have them come out again before the warranty is out and make them clean it again. Take a close look at how it's done and do it yourself the next time - if possible.

FWIW, I pulled a similar amount of hair from a Bosch non-vented dryer recently. The owners have a Cocker Spaniel that sheds tons of hair and I don't think they ever though of taking the dryer apart - which takes minutes only.

Alex

Here is a link that might be useful: Bosch dryer cleaning

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 11:40AM
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xand83

Alex,

Thanks for the tip. We haven't run the tub clean feature b/c the manual only mentioned it in conjuction with mildew & residue in the tub, which this is not. We haven't much of an issue with any smells.

Per the manual, "Run the TUB CLEAN cycle regularly to remove
detergent buildup and other residue.
This washer has a special cycle, TUB CLEAN, to
remove inside buildup of detergent residue which
can occur in the wash tub or drum and lead to
mildew or musty smell."

However, I am going to do this on a monthly basis from now on. It sure couldn't hurt! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 12:08PM
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whirlpool_trainee

Yeah, you are probably quite right about tub clean not being *the* solution as the air duct is not a part of the tub as such. You can probably go to searspartsdirect.com and have a look at a parts diagram for your unit. As I said, check out how the tech does it and then do it yourself next time. It's a dryer after all and they need cleaning. Usually it's the duct that vents outside - here it's an internal one...

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 2:17PM
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kathielo

FWIW. I had a similar problem with my clothes taking much too long to dry. our laundry room is in the center of the house, vents to the basement and then to an outside wall. I was told the duct is much too long and the lint collects in there and does not dry atequately causing the dryer to think the clothes are still wet thus continuing to run on the automatic dry cycle until it senses dryness. Sometimes overdrying the clothes in the process. We had to have an external blower attached to our duct line to help blow the lint to the outside keeping the duct lint buildup to a minimum. No problems now. Currently i am looking for a new W/D but one stipulation is that the installer can hook up that blower directly to the dryer so that when I push the start button the blower comes on.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:35AM
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xand83

Hi Katheo. Thanks for the tip. But these machines don't have a vent. They are ventless and condense dry the clothing.

And, actually, a ventless dryer might be a good choice for you. I would just recommend one that has a removable lint trap from the front :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 9:43AM
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scotkight

Two people, three cats and a dog here with a LG w/d combo for the past couple years. I run the tub wash cycle about once a month and have not had any real issues with lint buildup.

I did pull the hose itself to see if anything was trapped and found some, but it wasn't a huge amount. Took about 15 minutes to disassemble and pull, VERY easy job.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 8:25PM
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xand83

Scotkight: Disassembling our machine is not easy due where it is located. I have no doubt I could do it if i had to, but something like that should not be required of the consumer. Also, do you have one of the 24" models or one of the larger ones? Just curious.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 9:37PM
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manitobasky

I'm going to assume that it would be hard for you to do yourself because you would have to pull it from the closet? You should be pulling the unit out to clean the inlet filters and check your hoses at least once a year. This. Really isn't any different from a normal vented dryer that has to be taken art to get to the internal duct work for cleaning.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 11:00AM
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scotkight

I have the larger one. The internal hoses seem to be pretty similar though, in terms of size and shape.

If you watch it do a tub clean, the water level goes quite high. This causes most of the lint that collects on the rubber to be released and flushed down the drain. If left in it probably gets sucked through the air return and eventually gets stuck elsewhere.

Unfortunately you are incorrect in terms of what should and shouldn't be done. Imagine having a vented unit stuck in a closet. You (or a maintenance person) still have to pull the thing out, disconnect the vent and clean the ventline as well as pull off panels and clean the inside and lines of the vented units. Of course in those many people ignore it and a small number of people have their units catch on fire...

In the condenser units they just stop drying. I would rather have that than either having it waste enormous amounts of power or burst into flame (however unlikely that is).

Even stuck in there, one yearly cleaning would probably take about an hour to pull it out take the panels off, pull the hose, put the panels back and slide it back in. First time will be slower of course, but past that no worries.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 11:12AM
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xand83

Well, I've purchased plenty of the Clorox tub cleaner to use for the next year. I hope it helps!

I would argue that most people don't take apart their washer inlet filters on a yearly basis or clean out internal lint from inside their dryers yearly. The recommended maintenance for my machine only mentions the inlet filters if an error code comes up. I have always had professionals come to blow out the dryer duct (on past machines) while they were doing the HVAC ducts, but they never took the whole dryer apart.

And, FWIW, our repair guy noted that he has never had to clean the internal duct on the larger machines, just the 24" models. And he has worked on quite a few combo units in the DC area. Granted, that's his experience and totally anecdotal.

Oh well, we are coming up on 18 months with our machine and it has had 2 cleanings at this point. I'll probably be getting the service manual soon so I can take care of them by myself in the future. Again, like I mentioned in my first post, I'm not complaining, but sticking an accessible filter access panel on the front of machine was a tad disingenuous, especially since it is useless. Of course lint is going to build up in the thing, it has no dryer duct, but give the consumer some relatively easy way to remove the build-up without having to disassemble the machine.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 12:23PM
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scotkight

On a regular machine you should be cleaning the vent line at a minimum. This requires either pulling the machine to disconnect the vent and put in a special cleaning brush (10-20ft long) or to disassemble the bottom of the dryer to get to the vent a different way. They should also ensure that lint is not escaping and collecting in the base.

True, many people don't do this but it is something that should be done. The amount of lint that builds up in there is amazing.

I definitely think the tubcleaning will help you out though. Condensing driers are common around the world and there is nothing special in these vs many others and the system works just fine.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:19PM
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jstagaman

For anyone that has an LG Combo, the site below shows step-by-step instructions on how to remove built up lint from the condenser assembly. (Not my site).

My Equator 3600 CEE died last week after 13 years of use (and it was really a pain to access the condenser to remove lint from that one!). I have an LG on the way:.

Here is a link that might be useful: LG Combo Lint removal

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 3:21AM
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xand83

Thanks, staggie! That is immensely helpful. I've completed the same procedure twice on my own and it's not too bad.

I would add that it helps me to remove the machine's back panel (4 screws) and to shine a flashlight at that air chamber/duct while fishing for lint. It helps to show where the blockage is and how far down I have the wire hanger.

If not for one difficult screw, that whole duct could come out and be washed in the sink (no lint fishing needed). But I would need to be Gumby to get at that screw. If anyone has a trick for hard-to-access screws, let me know!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 6:24AM
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KatieKellert

staggie, YOU ARE A LIFESAVER. I read about this process elsewhere, but that link was WONDERFUL. Thank you!!!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:32AM
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OneTallYogi

I've battled this machine for 8 years now (but it's still working which is amazing since it's an LG!), and I regularly have to clean out the air condenser assembly (about 2x a year) On my last forage into the depths of this machine, there was no lint monster to extract, but the machine was still not drying. Air must not be circulating, I thought. I didn't take photos of the details (shame on me), but there was a substantial amount of additional lint build up in what I am assuming is the air return to the drum, highlighted in the red dashed area in the photo attached. You can access it simply by unscrewing the black thingy. The machine dried better than ever! Also check the sensor just inside the air condenser assembly, and clean it with rubbing alcohol if dirty or accumulated with lint. Oh, and I've found the "Lint Lizard" (as seen on TV!) attached to a wet/dry vacuum to be a great way to clean the air condenser assembly without having to fuss with a bent hanger. Good luck all fellow ventless sufferers.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 5:09PM
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bgus

That difficult screw in the back that is hard to get is pretty easy with a socket wrench.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 6:54PM
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