Tip & How-To about Dryers
Every time I look at the problems people are having each day, one issue keeps popping up that people can repair themselves and save themselves a service call. The reason it most stands out for me is there continue to be techs that start replacing parts in a dryer when the dryer isn't the problem. If a dryer is heating and tumbling yet the clothes are taking a longer time to dry or you run the unit 2 or 3 cycles almost every time it is the vent. When a dryer is running it pushes hot air through your clothes which pick up the moisture in the clothes and take it outside. If your vent is even slightly blocked then it hinders air flow and moisture being relocated outside. If moisture can't relocate then it just circulates in the dryer and ends up cooking away more than anything. I have pulled clothes out of dryers that actually smell like a burnt stick from a fireplace and are cardboard like stiff from being cooked.
There are warning signs, but first thing anyone seems to notice the drying time being extended. If you put your hands on top of the dryer and it is very hot (and I mean you can't keep your hand on the top) you need to check the dryers exhaust. When you see moisture or water drops on the inner door after a cycle its time to clean your vent. In some cases you will actually hear a lot more noise from the dryer. As the dryer is running the pressure building inside it, like a tea kettle with no release it starts vibrating the walls or components on the inside. And yes this is a very hazardous situation.
There are different kinds of venting but all can be checked and maintained pretty easily. Start with the vent directly behind the dryer itself. Slide the dryer out and disconnect the hose coming directly out the back of the dryer. Use a vacuum wand or a long brush to clean it out good. Make sure when reinstalling, you minimize the length as much as possible and minimize any turns in the hose the best you can. Make sure it is not getting pinched off when you push the dryer back against the wall. Now go to the outside and check all around the exhaust. Make certain the flap can open and close and just clean off as much lint build-up as possible. The only catch if your exhaust is on the roof is you will need a ladder. Same rules apply just get inside the exhaust the best you can and pull out everything you can grab. Finally if you have an extremely long vent or its going up through the roof, it needs to be cleaned too. You can use a long brush snake made from metal or nylon with a 4 inch ball brush on the end. If you want to purchase one they range from $30 to $60 or there are people who make a living only cleaning dryer vents. If you happen to have a leaf blower they work almost as good if not better. Just put the nozzle into the venting behind the dryer and crank it up. Have someone be outside to spot for you, making sure that it does in fact blow out.
Pass this information on to everyone you ever hear say they run the dryer more than one cycle to dry their clothes and help them save on their electric bill or a service call. And if a technician tells you that you have a heating element or a thermostat that is going bad tell him to bend over so you can kick his keester. Both a heating element and thermostat are either good and heating or broken and not heating there is no in between.
Posted by M D Hughes on
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