Dryer Maintenance Tips
Posted on July 12, 2011
Many cycles of dirt, detergent, water and heat pass through home dryers over a period of their usage. To ensure operating efficiency and effectiveness, it is imperative to perform proper maintenance routine. Home safety is also a prime reason for regular upkeep. Annually, nearly 10,000 residential fires are known to occur which are mainly caused by a clothes dryer or vent. Dryers are the third most common type of equipment involved in home fires, after stoves and fixed area heaters. Hence it is advisable, particularly for gas dryers, that the unit should be cleaned by a certified professional once each year.
Reasons for Maintenance
There are three basic reasons why dryer maintenance should not be overlooked. Since lint is a highly flammable substance, especially with gas dryers, improper maintenance could result in a home fire. Lint also prohibits dangerous carbon monoxide from escaping to the outdoors. Excessive lint buildup in the dryer’s exhaust pipe or inside the unit itself will result in decreased performance by not allowing air to circulate freely throughout the dryer.
Clean the lint filter after every load to ensure efficiency. Wipe down the exterior of the dryer, and keep the area clean and free of clutter and combustibles. Do not use the top of the dryer as a work area for stain or rust removal unless it is protected by a heavy plastic cover. The unit’s surface can be damaged or removed by chlorine bleach, ammonia, solvents or other chemicals often used in laundering and stain removal.
Vents and Hoses
The longer the distance the vent pipe needs to be run to the outside of the home, the more opportunities there are for lint to become trapped inside the pipe. For short runs, a lint brush designed for dryer cleaning works very well. The brush–a long flexible wire with a handle on one end and a round bristled head on the other–can be pushed through the line a few times to remove built-up lint.
Steps need to be taken to ensure that the dryer vent is not blocked and that the vent hose allows air to flow outside without obstruction. Unhook the clamps, the dryer vent hose or the ductwork from the back of the dryer and wall vent. Vacuum out both ends and inside the hose, then firmly re-attach the hose to the machine and wall vent. Use aluminum tape to re-attach ductwork joints.
Frequency of Maintenance
The no of times maintenance needs to be performed depends on how often the unit is used. On the lower side, the exhaust vent system should be cleaned at least once a year. Plastic vents and hoses should be replaced with rigid materials to ensure safety and efficiency. A clothes dryer although does not need a lot of maintenance, but regular checkup will ensure the appliance runs efficiently and safely throughout its working lifetime.