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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Impression Review Of Admiral AGD4475TQ Gas Dryer

This is the matching dryer for the Admiral ATW4475VQ top-load washer which I have reviewed earlier here. This is a 6.5 cubic foot super-capacity gas dryer made in the Admiral brand, which is owned by Whirlpool.

The dryer looks quite similar to the washer. It has an all-steel, all-white body, with a powder-blue instrument panel on top with two dials. The interior of the dryer is also all-white (which can make your white socks go missing from time to time). The drum does not have a light, so you have to put this dryer in a lighted place. The door of the dryer is reversible, and can be set up to either open from left to right or right to left.

Home Depot charged me $60 to install the dryer in my home. Out of this $60, $40 is for various parts required in the installation (they are not supposed to use the old gas inlet pipes, vent pipes, etc., so you have to buy all new ones for Home Depot to install the dryer), $20 is for the actual hook-up. If you buy an electric dryer, it costs nothing to hook up.

Admiral AGD4475TQ Gas DryerFront view of the dryer. Note the powder-blue background of the instrument panel, just like on the matching washer.

The drum is quite roomy, as the super-capacity moniker would suggest. A full washer-load from the 3.2 cubic foot washer fits quite easily in the dryer. The rear of the drum has an inlet for the hot dry air, and outlet for the humid air to be vented to the outside of the house.

The big control knob on the left of the instrument panel has 4 separate quadrants. Three of them are time-controlled dry cycles. You can choose either high heat, low heat or no-heat (a fluff setting). Each of these cycles can go up to 30 minutes, with about 10 minutes of that set aside for a cool-down.

Admiral Dryer control knobThe knob on the left hand side of the instrument panel, with the 3 timed cycles and the one automatic drying cycle.

The fourth quadrant is for automatic drying (what the dryer calls "auto sense drying"). The dryer is supposed to sense the level of humidity in the exhaust air and adjust the drying time and temperature accordingly. The markings on this quadrant go from less dry all the way to very dry, and the user manual recommends using the "energy preferred" setting in the middle. The spring-loaded knob on the right hand side simply needs to be pushed in to start the dryer. It has no other purpose.

The dryer does its job pretty well. The three loads I dried all came out completely dry within about an hour each. Two of these loads were full washer loads, and the third was about three-quarters of a washer load. The top of the dryer gets toasty when it runs, but there is no appreciable noise from the rotation of the drum. I opened the dryer in the middle of a dry cycle, and was assaulted by billows of steam from the inside, as if I had opened a pressure cooker.

I dried one load at the energy-preferred setting, and at the end of the cycle, some of the heavier clothes in the load, and places like the elastic bands of sweat pants in the load, were a little damp. So, I used the timed dry on the high-heat setting for about 15 minutes to finish off the drying. The other two loads were dried using the automatic dryer setting of "very dry", and they came out completely dry. I have never tried the no-heat and low-heat settings of the dryer.

I do have some gripes about this dryer though. The first is the absence of a drum light to light up the interior of the dryer. The 15-year old dryer which this replaced had such a light. I have gotten so used to it that the first couple of times, I would walk into the laundry room without the light on, open the dryer, then realize I was not going to be able to see anything, walk back to the light switch and switch on the room light. It is an annoyance, for sure.

The second and more substantial gripe is the placement and design of the lint screen. My old dryer had a lint screen just below the door of the dryer. When I opened the dryer door to load it, I would clear the lint screen before loading it. I didn't have to remove the lint screen from the dryer to clean it up in most cases.

Admiral dryer lint screenA look at the enormous lint screen, after being pulled out from the dryer. Before every load, you are supposed to pull this out, clean it up and put it back in.

In the new dryer, the lint screen is located in the back of the dryer, not in the door. You get to the screen by pulling it out from inside the dryer through an opening on top of the dryer. It is a pretty large lint screen, and it fits quite tightly where it does. As you pull up the lint screen, there is a good possibility lint will fall of the screen back into the vent which is supposed to be protected from lint by the screen. Moreover, even if you get all the lint out, stuck to the lint screen without any of it falling off, the entire top of the dryer gets very dusty from all the lint and it has to be cleaned off every time. It is a royal pain in the neck.

Admiral dryer lint screen handleThe lint screen handle at the back of the top of the dryer. You can not be shy about pulling on this handle if you want to get the screen out for cleaning. I am glad the dryer is somewhat heavy, otherwise it might require two people to clean the lint screen, one to pull this handle, and the other hold the dryer in place while the first one is pulling on it! The knob above it is the one you push in to start the dryer.

Putting the lint screen back into the dryer is somewhat tricky too because of the tight fit, and more than once I have stopped half-way through thinking that it wasn't going in smoothly because I was doing something wrong. Turns out, I was doing nothing wrong. But some idiot at Whirlpool sure did something wrong, designing a dryer with a lint screen like this!

I would be happy to recommend this dryer to prospective buyers if not for the design of the lint screen. I am quite unhappy with the effort required to clean the lint filter before every load, and the effort required to then clean up the dryer and surrounding areas because of the inability to collect the lint cleanly off the filter without pulling it out, vibrating it, and causing lots of lint to fall all over the place. And any lint that falls into the vent, that does not come out through the vent outside the house is stuck somewhere in the vent line until you clean it out. The manual does encourage you to clean out the entire vent line every two years. It would be quite unnecessary if they had designed it correctly instead of cheaply.

Unfortunately, it looks like dryer-top lint screens are quite popular nowadays, and lots of low-end dryers have them. If you are in the market for a cheap, high-capacity dryer, you may not be able to avoid dryers with this bad lint screen design. In that case, this dryer is no worse than the other choices, and may in fact be the best choice, given that most dryers in this price range are the much smaller 5.8 cubic foot variety. The extra capacity makes it possible to dry larger loads and also dry smaller loads in less time than they would take in a smaller dryer. And the dryer does work well, drying a full load in about an hour or so. Given these considerations, I would give this dryer one thumb up rather than an unqualified two thumbs up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have the same washer and dryer. The blue is not the color of the control panel. That is a blue film that the manufacturer puts on to protect it from scratching during shipping.

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