Clothes Dryer Maintenance Tips

Doing the laundry is probably one of the most common household chores. Without a working washer and dryer, this chore would be significantly harder. That’s why it’s important to do routine maintenance on your clothes dryer to keep it in good working condition.

Caring for your dryer goes beyond simply preventing breakdowns and extending the life of the appliance—it's also important for fire prevention. Home Warranty of America would like to share a few clothes dryer maintenance tips to help you save money and make your home safer.

1. Clean Out the Lint

Lint is an inevitable by-product of dryer use. An important part of dryer maintenance is emptying the lint screen after every dryer cycle to improve efficiency and reduce fire risk. Even if you only run a light load with very little lint in the screen, you should still remove it.

An important safety precaution is cleaning the vent pipe from your dryer to the outdoors. Lint frequently flows through this pipe and can accumulate both inside the pipe, and on the outdoor vent. If your clothes are taking longer to dry than usual, it may be a sign that the vent pipe needs cleaning.

Dryer maintenance best practices include cleaning the pipe at least once a year. Make sure to turn off gas running to the dryer before doing any maintenance. A great tool for cleaning the entire pipe is a pipe brush with a long, flexible handle. You may capture more lint with a vacuum attachment. The outdoor vent can be wiped clean without any additional tools.

Lint can also build up beneath and behind your dryer, so when you clean the vent pipe, be sure to move the dryer so you can reach these areas. It’s also helpful to open your dryer to expose the motor, belt, and drum since lint can collect in those areas. If you’re not sure how to safely open the dryer, contact an appliance technician to conduct routine maintenance.

2. Wash the Lint Screen

When it comes to routine clothes dryer maintenance, it may be helpful to wash the lint screen. Some residue on the lint screen could be blocking airflow and a thorough washing can remove excess grime.

You can tell if the screen needs cleaning by bringing it to the sink and pouring some water through it. If the water is pooling on the screen rather than flowing through it, you need to clean it thoroughly. Gently wash the lint screen with warm water and detergent.

3. Be Careful What You Put in the Dryer

This clothes dryer maintenance tip is one of the simplest to do: make sure all pockets are free of loose objects like pens, coins, lipstick, or any other items that may damage clothes. Additionally, always wash wet clothes before drying them to make sure all dirt is rinsed off.

4. Clean the Dryer Drum

Since you should only put clean items in the dryer, the inner drum of your dryer shouldn’t need to be cleaned often. However, if something gets into your dryer such as a pen, you’ll want to clean it immediately.

Things like excess dirt and hair are easily cleaned by wiping the drum with a damp cloth. If you get something sticky on the sides of the dryer’s drum, try running the dryer for a few minutes to warm the substance, then scrape it off with a scraping tool or the edge of a credit card.

5. Check the Vents and Ducts

Besides cleaning out the vent and ducts/pipes for excess lint, you also want to check that the ductwork provides optimal airflow. Make sure there aren’t any kinks in the venting system so that air flows freely out. Consider hiring a professional appliance technician for those dirtier jobs. Professional dryer vent repair can help prevent dangerous malfunctions that may cause fires, mold growth, excessive drying times, and overheating.

6. Clean the Exterior

Don’t forget that cleaning the exterior of your dryer is a part of regular dryer maintenance. Water, detergent, bleach, and dust can all potentially build up on the outside parts of your dryer. Take a damp cloth and wipe the exterior of your dryer as needed. Not only does this reduce buildup, but it also improves your home aesthetics.

7. Check the Flap on the Outdoor Vent

Ideally, the air pressure from your dryer will open the flap and in the absence of that pressure, the flap will stay closed. If it sticks open, it may cause leaks of HVAC-treated air out of your home, create an opportunity for pests to get in, or reduce dryer efficiency. A sticky flap should either be lubricated or replaced if it’s not opening and closing properly.

8. Keep Your Dryer Level

You should make sure that your dryer is level with the ground. Not only can an off-balance dryer be noisy, but it may cause wobbling that can prematurely wear out the belt and motor and shake loose some of your dryer's hardware. Make sure your clothes are evenly distributed and don’t overpack the load. Place a level on top of the machine to see if the surface is flat. Adjust the legs with a wrench or pliers or move the dryer to help it run more efficiently and quietly.

HWA Can Help

Clothes dryer maintenance and repair is a fact of life for most homeowners so protect yourself against the unexpected expense and hassle with a home warranty from HWA. With no age restrictions on your dryer, you can be covered for repairs or replacement at a fraction of the out-of-pocket price. For more information on how we can help, or if you need a home warranty plan, give us a call at 1-888-492-7359.

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