Life gets busy and the last thing you may be thinking about is maintaining your appliances. But taking a bit of time to maintain your dryer plays a big role in keeping it working safely and at its best for years to come.
There are some simple ways to keep your dryer operating at its best. Here are The Big Three:
- Don’t overload the machine. It may surprise some people how detrimental consistently overloading your dryer can be. Not only does an overloaded dryer mean a longer drying cycle (which means more energy usage and more expense) but, due to the weight of an extremely large load, the drum could go out of alignment and become damaged. Overloading a dryer over time can even result in a failure to operate. Check your appliance instructions for your particular dryer model.
- Remember to clean the lint filter. This should be done after each use to maintain proper air flow. The moist air from the dryer is funneled through the lint trap, and if it is blocked with lint, the wet air stays in your clothes. This makes drying time much longer, adding to wear and tear on the machine. The lint filter can easily get clogged and cause the heating element to overheat or worse, it can cause a fire.
- Inspect and clean the duct/vent system. On the back of most dryers is a 4-inch diameter metal vent that expels the moist air. Because you can’t expel this air into your house, the air must be sent outside. The air is moved from the dryer to the exterior through a flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid duct. If the duct is blocked, your clothes will take longer to dry, and worse, it could start a fire.
Clogged ducts are responsible for thousands of house fires every year and often cause an average of about $10,000 worth of damage. The duct needs inspection (to ensure it isn’t torn) and cleaning (to remove lint and debris) once or twice a year.
How to Inspect and Clean the Dryer Exhaust Duct
- Check the duct work to determine whether or not your dryer has good airflow. With the dryer turned on, go to the outside of your house where the duct exhaust vents. Ideally, you should feel air blowing out of the vent. If there’s a blockage, you will feel little or no air. You will then need to clean the duct.
- Unplug the dryer from the wall. If you have a gas dryer, turn the supply valve off (very important).
- Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the duct. Lint will have collected in the duct in the back of the dryer. Loosen the debris with a flexible cleaning vent dryer brush. Then vacuum out with a vacuum attachment.
- Repeat the above to the vent outside. You may need to remove the cover.
- Then, check the duct hose for damage. If it has punctures or dents it should be replaced.
- Next, use a special brush made for cleaning dryer ducts: Feed it into the duct, vacuuming up chunks of lint as you move it back and forth.
- Reassemble and attach the duct to the dryer, ensuring that all joints in the duct are properly connected and held with clamps or foil tape.
- Consider attaching a safety alarm to the dryer vent. It will warn you when lint builds up.
- You may want to hire a professional to inspect and clean the duct, especially if it hasn’t been inspected for a long time
Consider Replacing Accordion Type Ducts
Accordion-style ducts can sag, causing lint to accumulate in low points and in the ridges. Replace the duct with one that’s made of rigid metal. Its walls are smooth, allowing the air to flow and reducing the buildup of lint. Use duct connectors and metal clamps or foil tape to join sections of duct. You may want to get a professional to do this especially if there are a lot of twists and turns.
Simple Tips to Shorten Drying Time
Put a clean, dry large towel in with the items you need dried quickly. The towel will absorb some of the moisture, making your items dry faster.
The less moisture there is in your laundry items, the faster it dries.
Or you could give the load a second run through in your washing machine spin cycle. This cycle takes just a few minutes. Simply by wringing more water out, your laundry items will be much drier than if they’d spent the same amount of time in the dryer.
- Inspect the dryer exhaust duct for crimps, obstructions, and unnecessary bends.
- Dip a clean cloth in white vinegar. Run the cloth around the inside of the dryer, including under the rubber gasket that seals the door. The vinegar deodorizes the dryer’s interior. Leave the door of the machine open until the smell dissipates.
- Keep the lint trap clear. Remove the lint screen and clean its housing cavity with a dryer lint brush. You may also use the crevice attachment on your vacuum cleaner for this task.
Every Three Months
- Wash the dryer lint filter with detergent to remove invisible chemical residues that can restrict airflow. This is particularly important if you use dryer sheets. These sheets leave a thin coating of waterproof product on your lint filter.
- Vacuum behind and underneath the dryer. Clean the back of your dryer. Moisture, dirt, and lint can accumulate quickly. Clean around the dryer every three months.
Every Year or More Often
Remove and clean out the entire exhaust duct line from dryer to exterior. For heavy usage or if you have pets, clean twice a year.
If you have a new machine, you’d be wise to schedule regular maintenance. If your machine is older, now is the best time to keep it in good repair.
When your appliance needs professional care, call the experts at C&W Appliance Service. Call us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form.