A clothes dryer is one of the amazing inventions that simplify the laundry process. Despite bringing convenience to our doorstep, this appliance can be extremely dangerous depending on the way you take care of it. Just like any other appliance, the clothes dryer requires your effort to run efficiently and prevent possible fire hazards.According to 2010 National Fire Protection Association (NFSA) report, an estimated 16,800 fire cases involving clothes dryers occurred in the U.S.
This resulted in more than 50 civilian deaths and damage to property worth millions of dollars. Today, thousands of residential fires across the United States and Canada occur as a result of poor or lack of maintenance practices on clothes dryers.It is, therefore, important to carry out a few tasks to avoid possible fire hazards and also ensure that your dryer runs efficiently.
Some people may find clothes dryer repairs to be intimidating, but the truth of the matter is that maintaining clothes dryer is one of the simplest tasks. If you feel like it is too demanding, you can as well call a professional to do the work for you.
There is no monster in there that will grab your hand, just get rid of a few screws and clean your dryer. With that said, let me take you through some maintenance tips that are crucial to both the performance of your dryer and the safety of your house as well.
Regularly Check The Drum Belt
It is a good practice to check your belt on a regular basis, especially for those that use their dryers frequently. Over time, the drum belt may develop cracks or wear out. Unfortunately, the machine can be running without rotating the drum.
A malfunctioned belt could pose more risks to your dryer if left undetected for some time. If you lack the guts to be a DIYer, call a professional for help. Consider replacing the belt if there is deterioration and get it checked at least once per year.
Clean Your Lint Filter After Every Single Use
This is the simplest task and yet the most important for any dryer, whether it is gas-powered or an electric one. Use a brush to remove lint or any stubborn residue from the filter after every drying cycle. For thorough cleaning, use a vacuum to reach into the lint filter housing and clean any excess lint.
You may have to clean it more frequently if your clothes produce a lot of lint such as sheets and towels. Accumulation of lint in various parts of the dryer is the number one cause of fire hazards. It is highly combustible and prevents the free flow of air. Air flow restriction leads to overheating in the unit eventually causing fire hazards.
Check The Distance Of The Griddle From The Wall
Free and efficient air flow is what determines the overall efficiency of your dryer. Always ensure to keep your machine a few feet away from the wall to make sure that the dryer has adequate air supply. Also, ensure that the area around your dryer is clean and free from any debris that could find their way into your dryer.
Feed Your Dryer With Clothes And Nothing Else
It is possible that you could mistakenly feed your dryer with other items. This has the potential to damage the inside of your drum or clog the interior parts. Check all the pockets of your clothes to ensure that objects like pens, chewing gum, candy, lipstick or crayons do not find their way into the dryer.
This may cause a fire hazard if any of the items is highly flammable. These objects may also stain the interior of your drum and cleaning may not be easy.
Clean The Dryer Vent And The Outside Cap
You may need the help of a professional to inspect the vent tubing. It is highly advised to carry out this check once per year. When lint, dirt, and debris accumulate in the vent tube, your machine will take more time to dry the clothes. Use a long vent brush to clean the vent pipe.
Also, ensure that your exhaust termination or cap is located in a suitable location, free from dirt, snow, and rain. Make sure that your vent cap isn’t a home for birds’ nest or a collection point for leaves in case there are any trees around. This could restrict the free flow of air prolonging the drying time.
It is highly advisable to avoid using the vinyl vent tubing. It fails to meet the fire safety standards of most countries and clogs more frequently. Always use the smooth aluminum tubing. More importantly, use the rigid vent pipe rather than the standard flex tubing. They are safer and have the least air flow restriction.
Do Not Overload Your Dryer
Carefully read the user’s manual so as to feed your dryer with the right load sizes. Just because you bought an expensive dryer doesn’t give you the right to feed all the clothes of your large family that is the size of a baseball team. Overloading your dryer could lead to premature malfunctioning.
The motor may overheat, and the belt may slide reducing overall efficiency. Do not be misguided, overloading the dryer causes poor circulation of air in the drum. Squeezing more loads into your dryer won’t save you time. In fact, the exact opposite will occur.
Monitor The Sound And Performance Of Your Dryer
You don’t need a Master’s Degree in Electricals to differentiate the sound of a functional dryer from that of a malfunctioned one. Whenever the dryer gets noisier, carry out some DIY tasks or seek the help of a professional. This is a clear indication that there is a problem somewhere.
Another way to detect early signs of a malfunctioning dryer or one that is clogged is by monitoring the drying time. If drying your clothes takes longer than usual, there is a higher chance the vent pipe, exhaust vent or the lint filter is highly clogged. There may be a blockage in the outdoor vent pipe. Check them out and rectify the problem.
Check The Balance Of Your Dryer
An unbalanced dryer can lead to premature malfunctioning. Rock your unit back and forth when it is not running and see whether they are any movements. If there is, consider leveling your dryer. You can also make use of vibration pads. They can secure your machine to its position and avoid unnecessary movements.
Clean The Inside Of The Dryer Cabinet
Over time, lint clogs the inner parts of your dryer, including the motor, rollers, and the inner surface. Use a long hose attachment and thoroughly clean the entire interior of your dryer. To clean stains on the inside surfaces, use a soft cloth with warm soapy water. If the stains prove to be tough, use white vinegar. Do this at least once per year to keep your machine running efficiently.
Use Liquid Fabric Softener When Washing
Washing your clothes with liquid fabric softener significantly reduces lint. This implies that you are feeding your dryer with less lint, which is the cause of major problems encountered by dryer users. It works better than dryer sheets.
Additional Maintenance Tips
There are other areas you may want to look into to reduce the risk of fire hazards and improve performance. You may consider:
- Seeking the help of a qualified technician to inspect the entire unit every year
- Installing a smoke detector near your laundry
You don’t have to spend your entire fortune to enjoy the best performance of your dryer. Simply carry out the above maintenance tips, and you will for sure see a major difference in performance. Taking care of your dryer properly significantly lowers your power bills too. Treat your dryer right, and it will treat you right.