You probably haven’t given much thought to clothes dryer maintenance, especially during the busy summer months. But this is exactly the time when your dryer needs a little TLC as this time of year often means double duty. People are out and about doing more, hence there’s a lot more laundry. This is a good time to begin a regular maintenance routine. You may already keep your lint filter clean — that’s no secret — but perhaps you don’t realize that there’s more needed to keep your dryer doing its job. Follow these easy maintenance tips and you’ll find that your dryer performance will improve and you’ll increase your machine’s lifespan.
- Cleaning your lint filter remains the most important tip, yet it’s easy to forget. If you can, create the habit of cleaning the lint out after every load. Lint can build up quickly, especially with all those beach and pool towels, preventing the proper flow of hot air and potentially causing a dryer fire. Be sure to also inspect the slot where the filter fits and remove any loose lint. You can use your hand, a brush, or the crevice tool of your vacuum cleaner. Also, clean the lint filter with light soap and water at least twice a year to remove residue from soap and fabric softener. Keeping the lint filter clean will help you avoid the majority of dryer vent problems.
- Make sure your dryer is on the level! If it is unbalanced, it will vibrate, which causes the motor to work harder. This could potentially damage internal wiring and/or start a fire. It also causes loud, annoying noise!
- Clean the flexible exhaust duct between your dryer and the wall. Do this at least once a year. If clothes are not drying within a normal timeframe, a plugged up exhaust is often the culprit. Unplug the dryer, pull it out from the wall, disconnect the duct and remove lint build up with a vacuum or cloth.
- Clean behind and underneath the dryer, as lint can also build up in those spots.
- If the flexible part of your exhaust duct (between the dryer and wall) is made of plastic or foil, replace it with aluminum or steel. It’s worth the modest investment. Plastic or foil dryer ducts can sag and allow lint to build up. They are also more prone to kinking or crushing, which can reduce or block the flow of air. Metal ducts of aluminum or steel don’t sag, resist kinking and crushing and reduce the risk of fire.
- While your dryer is running, check the flap on the outside of your house to ensure it opens and closes properly.
- Check the door seal for damage. If it is loose, worn or hardened, replace it. A damaged door seal allows the warm air to escape and forces the unit to work harder, which can shorten its life span.
By performing these simple tips for maintaining your clothes dryer, you will extend its life, avoid potential hazards to your home and prevent unnecessary and costly equipment failure. You may also want to consider purchasing a home warranty which can help you with preventive maintenance checkups and help you reduce the cost associated with unexpected breakdowns and repairs. Now, all you have to do is get outside and enjoy that beautiful summer weather!
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.