The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 October 2007

The dreaded Dryer Ooze

I first saw it last week: transparent, not-too-viscous liquid, a little puddle on top of the dryer. I wiped it up, washed the pertinent wipe, assumed I'd spilled some detergent or something, and that was that.

And I didn't do any laundry for six days after that, so when I happened to pass by the dryer yesterday, and saw a bigger puddle of the stuff, I had reason to fret.

From what I know about dryers, which isn't much, I reasoned that there weren't any nasty liquids in the mechanism itself, with the possible exception of lubricant for the motor itself, and the law of gravity would tend to prevent it from rising to the top of the machine.

So it had to be coming from somewhere else. I looked up at the ceiling, but saw nothing of note. There's a wooden cabinet hanging just over the laundry apparatus; I popped open one door, and bingo.

Last winter, I had had quite enough of shoveling off the driveway, which is very long and very steep, and I bought a twenty-pound bag of calcium chloride, leavened with a few other cheap salts, for the specific purpose of removing the white stuff. I used about eight pounds, folded up the bag, and set it on the bottom shelf of that cabinet — on its side, because it wouldn't fit vertically.

Now if you remember your high-school or college chemistry, as I should have but didn't, calcium chloride is majorly hygroscopic: it attracts water the way celebrities attract paparazzi. This has been, you'll recall, the rainiest year in Oklahoma City history. So you've got high humidity, a relatively porous container, and a salt that craves water. The combination of the three, after repeated cycles of wet and dry, eventually brought measurable quantities of water into the bag of salt, and the salt dissolved in the water, and the solution dripped out of the bag and through the door of the cabinet and onto the top of the dryer.

I'm going to move something a trifle safer up there — say, a gasoline can.

Posted at 8:59 AM to Surlywood

..and flares, don't forget the road flares.

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 9:09 AM on 21 October 2007

Ah, yes. Years ago after an icy winter, my mate bought a bag of that kind of stuff and put it in the garage against the next subsequent icy winter -- which we haven't had.

Did I mention Georgia's in the midst of a drought? I'm sure our one little bag of CaCl isn't solely responsible...

Posted by: McGehee at 9:13 AM on 21 October 2007

No matter. Once the Goracle gets wind of this, you will be vilified as a, well, villain.

And just to prove I haven't forgotten everything: it's CaCl2.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:07 AM on 21 October 2007

...or keep it in small, plastic, draining, open-top containers throughout the house as a dehumidifier, probably a lot cheaper than the trademark "Damp-Rid" stuff. When reduced to goop, flush it down the terlet, where the water re-enters the system and gets treated.

Do not eat. Keep out of reach of children, pets, and global warming deniers. Etc.

Posted by: Matt at 12:10 PM on 21 October 2007

I don't really have a humidity problem in the house — unless the windows are open during a major sweat session, it seldom rises above 55 percent — but this seems like a fairly sane idea. (And it might have been cheaper than the actual dehumidifier that was purchased for my office at 42nd and Treadmill.)

Posted by: CGHill at 12:22 PM on 21 October 2007