Compared to other appliances, dryers are relatively simple machines. However, the convenience of a dryer comes with inherent risks. Nearly 3000 house fires are caused by dryers annually. To protect your investment and your home, it is important to keep your dryer well-maintained and working properly. The following dryer maintenance guide will equip you with the information you need to keep your dryer running smoothly. If you need help with dryer repair or maintenance, It Is Fixed Appliance Repair offers same day service calls in Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta area.
Everyday maintenance doesn’t have to be done every day but should be done before you use your dryer, or between uses.
Follow the Dryer Load Size Guide
It can be tempting to stuff as many clothes as possible in your washing machine and dryer with the thought that the more you wash, the quicker you can be done with laundry. Overloading your machines can cause your washer to leak, shake, or not clean your clothes. If your dryer is overloaded it may not spin, or it may burn your clothes, or it might take longer to dry your clothes. The most efficient way to wash and dry your clothes is to follow the load size guide based on your model.
Clean the Dryer Lint Screen
As your clothes tumble in the dryer, tiny fibers strip from the cloth. The lint screen catches these fibers, keeping them from adhering to your clothes. More importantly, the lint screen keeps cloth fibers from clogging up your dryer’s components. Lint is very flammable. In fact, many people use it to make inexpensive fire starters.
To prevent fires and keep your dryer operating efficiently, clean the lint screen every time you use the dryer. If there is only a little lint on the screen, it may be difficult to pull off. Use a dry cloth to wipe away the lint.
Only Put Clean Clothes in the Dryer
To prevent fire and explosions, never put clothes in the dryer that have been soiled with oils or combustible liquid like gasoline and kerosene. These substances can spontaneously ignite when heated.
Putting dirty clothes in your dryer can negatively impact its function. The lint screen can not filter out the fine-grained dirt and debris that can clog your vent or the mechanical components of your dryer. To prevent damage, only put freshly washed clothes in the dryer.
Use the Correct Electrical Outlet
The standard electrical outlet in the United States operates at 120V. Appliances such as electric ovens and dryers require more voltage to operate efficiently. Your home should have dedicated 240V outlets available for your dryer. If you use a standard outlet, your dryer may not heat properly, or it may not function at all. If you need to move your dryer to a different location, a licensed electrician will need to install a 240V outlet at that location.
Gas dryers may not need a 240V connection. Refer to your owner’s manual for more information.
Use The Correct Dryer Exhaust System
Your dryer generates heat to dry your clothes. The hot, damp air from inside the dryer is pushed through a duct to vent outside your home. The exhaust system includes the vent hose, ducts, and connectors inside and outside your home.
Never use plastic or vinyl in your exhaust system.
Vinyl hoses are too flexible. The hose may compress or fold, which restricts airflow. Restricted airflow diminishes the efficiency of your dryer. It also forces lint back into the dryer and may cause the heater or motor to fail prematurely. Additionally, lint buildup anywhere in the vent system is a serious fire hazard.
Plastic should not be used in any part of the dryer vent system because it cannot withstand the high heat the dryer outputs. Plastic components may melt or catch on fire.
For safe venting:
Use metal components. Flexible corrugated metal hoses are acceptable, but aluminum elbow bend ducts are more effective and less likely to clog or bend.
Use exhaust ducts that are at least four inches in diameter. Smaller hoses do not allow adequate airflow.
Allow at least four inches of clearance between the wall and the dryer.
Install a Smoke and C02 Detector Near Your Dryer
This is especially important if you have a gas-powered dryer. A smoke and CO2 detector may not prevent damage to your appliances, but it can save your home and family in case of a gas leak or fire.
Wash the Dryer Lint Screen
Fibers can build up inside the mesh of your lint screen that is not easily removed. Good airflow is necessary for the health of your dryer, so it is important for the filter to stay clear of clogs. Remove the lint screen and wash it thoroughly in warm, soapy water. Tap excess water from the screen and allow it to air dry. Ensure the lint screen is completely dry before returning it to the dryer.
Inspect and Clean the Lint Screen Compartment
Remove the lint screen from your dryer. Using a flashlight, inspect the compartment where the lint screen is housed. If you see evidence of lint buildup, clean it out with your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment.
Clean Inside the Dryer
Cleaning the dryer drum will help remove lint, dirt, and oils, and keep your laundry smelling fresh. If your dryer does not have a musty smell, you can wipe it out with a clean cloth dampened with white vinegar. If the dryer smells of mold or mildew, use a solution of 3/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Dampen a cloth with the bleach solution and wipe inside the dryer drum.
Leave the dryer door open and allow it to dry completely before running a cycle.
Every Six Months
Inspect the Internal Duct System
The internal duct system is a tube or hose that connects your dryer to the external heat duct in the wall. It may be a flexible corrugated hose or a rigid aluminum tube. Disconnect the heat vent. Using a flashlight, inspect the tube or hose for evidence of lint buildup, musty odors, rust, or corrosion. If there is a lot of buildup or other signs of wear, the vent should be replaced.
Inspect the External Duct System
The external duct system carries hot, moist air from your dryer and vents it safely outside your home. It prevents waste heat from the dryer from heating your home, and helps keep the dryer systems cool and operating smoothly. If the ducts are clogged, your dryer may not dry effectively or at all. If your dryer is less efficient, the ducts may need to be cleaned. Otherwise, they should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
Using a flashlight, check for lint buildup or clogs from the port inside and outside your home. Ensure the outside vent cover moves freely, allowing air to flow. If you see evidence of clogs, lint buildup, or smell something strange in the exhaust duct, contact a professional service to clean vent system.
If you need help with dryer maintenance or dryer repair, contact It Is Fixed Appliance Repair. Our trained technicians are on call seven days a week in the Atlanta and Metro Atlanta area. Contact us today for a same day* service call.