“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


The Dryer Mystery

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

dryerOne of the things we had to do before our Truth-In-Housing inspection was to replace the gas tube behind the dryer. The morning before the inspection, the Geek and I made our way to the hardware store and purchased the proper tubing, then returned home where the Geek replaced it. (Actually, it turned out that we could have kept what we had, but that's a long ugly story that just needs to be forgotten. Forget I said anything.)

After replacing the tubing, we checked all the connections with soap and water. There were no leaks, so we agreed that the Geek rocks and went merrily on our way. Later that day we passed the inspection with flying colors. No problem, right?


The following weekend I was doing laundry. After opening the dryer to pull out a load of clothes, I thought I smelled a faint smell of natural gas. I smelled behind the dryer where the Geek had replaced the tubing and there was no smell, so I pulled my clothes out and continued doing laundry.

That night I asked the Geek to check the connections again, just to be sure. They were all tight. I threw a blanket in the dryer just before bed that night. The next morning when I opened the dryer, it reeked horribly of natural gas. Obviously something was still wrong.

In an attempt to balance paranoia (we all know gas smells are not something to be trifled with) and common sense I decided not to do anymore laundry and to try to figure out what could be wrong. I went to my two favorite sources for home maintenance dilemmas. The "red book" as we call it (Better Homes and Gardens "Complete Guide to Home Repair, Maintenance & Improvement), and the internet. The only information could find, said that if you have painted recently the smell might get into your dryer and into your clothes. Well, we hadn't painted recently, and it smelled like gas, not paint, so I moved to the next step.

I called Sears and made and appointment for a dryer repairman to come take a look at it. He couldn't make it until Monday (this was Wednesday and we were quickly running out of clothes!), so I spent Thursday at my mothers house doing laundry.

Yesterday the repairman came with his assistant. They tightened and soap tested all the connections inside and out. They tried running the dryer (empty), but as Murphy's Law always dictates, the problem would not reproduce itself. Finally he told me that whenever the smell is in the clothes and not around the dryer it's some smell from the house that is getting into the dryer and making them smell like gas. He named paint and varnish from recently painted or refinished rooms or furniture as common offenders.


This was similar to what my other sources had told me, but he was saying that no matter what the smell is outside the dryer, it smells like gas inside. He even talked about a woman who had potpourri in her house that made the clothes smell like gas in the dryer. Before he left he saw a big bottle of Ortho Home Defense that I use to get rid of spiders in my basement. He decided this was the offending chemical and that as long as I use that my clothes will continue to smell like gas.

Excuse me?? I don't get this! How in the world can paint or varnish or bug spray or potpourri for goodness sake, magically turn into a gas smell when they get into the clothes in a dryer? If that is the case then no one could ever allow anything with a scent in their house because it would make their clothes smell like gas.

"Oh no, honey, did you spray room freshener again? The clothes smell like gas." Or...

"No, I'm sorry dear, but all you can have for dinner is dry bread. Why? Because if I cook, the clothes will smell like gas."

Is it just me or does this sound ridiculous?

So $65 later I still have no answer. I'm going to do some laundry today and see if it comes out smelling like gas. If it does, I don't know what to do other than get a new dryer and hope for the best. Or maybe I should get rid of all my candles, air fresheners, scented soaps, bug sprays, and any food that smells. Perhaps that is the solution to my problem.

Please, if anyone has any experience in this area, tell me. Am I crazy or is this guy a total quack? Because right now I'm just so confused!


At 9/20/2005 10:58 AM, Blogger -xtessa- wrote:

uhm... no experience about that with a dryer but we called a "technician" guy once from our gas company to inspect our apartment. he had this gadget that reads gas in the air or something, so maybe that's what you need...

better safe than sorry, i guess.

At 9/20/2005 11:48 PM, Blogger Blond Girl wrote:

I still say you should call the inspector back and ask him what his opinion is!

Oh, and did I detect SARCASM from YOU?!?! I am in shock!


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