14 August 2014

And Lastly: the Clothes Dryer

Last Thursday we talked about looking after the washing machine. The Thursday before that was taking care of the dishwasher. This week I'm going to wrap up the series and talk about caring for the clothes dryer.

I have a clothes dryer. I don't use it very often but I do have one. I don't use it because it is usually full of something non-perishable. Clothes dryers make great storage spaces. My brother bought it for me years ago. He called in one day and I had baby clothes and nappies on clotheshorses all over the place. He thought I had the house looking like a Chinese laundry because I didn't have a clothes dryer, so he very kindly went out and bought me one. He didn't realise I didn't have because we couldn't afford to run it. Now I have a clothes dryer and still prefer to use the clotheshorses. But that's another story.

If you have a clothes dryer, even if you only use it occasionally, spending just a little extra time once a year can save you a lot of money.

Your clothes dryer has a lint filter, either in the door or the back, that should be cleaned after every load and most people do this. But it's not until the dryer starts to take ages and ages to dry a load that they think to do some basic dryer maintenance (if they think of it at all, often they'll just go and buy a new dryer!).

Cleaning a lint catcher is a simple chore but what about the other end of the vent hose; you know, the outside end that probably puts out that warm humid air full of lint under the house. This is the end of the dryer that is usually forgotten. Over a period of time, lint can build up at the end of the vent tube, blocking it and causing heat to build up. Eventually the built up lint and heat can cause a fire to start, risking not only your home but your lives as well.

Now, when the dryer isn't drying clothes as fast as it should, think to check the outside end. Mine runs from the back of the dryer through a hole in the floor to under the house. By moving the dryer out and gently pulling the vent tube out of the hole, I can easily check to see if it is clean and clear. This is also a good time to check the duct at the back of the dryer as dust and lint build up there, too. Make sure the opening stays clear and your dryer use will be minimized. That's a lot of money to save.

Make sure to check the lint filters after every load and the vent tubes of your dryer when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors, more often if you use your dryer a lot. You will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing there is no fire smouldering below your home just waiting to burst into flames.

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