How to Clean and Maintain the Dryer
It is a great idea to keep your dryer operating clean to the fullest potential. Not only is this important for clean efficient operation it is also important for your safety. Cleaning the components of your dryer can be easily done in about 30 minutes. Built up lint inside the dryer cabinets have been known to start more than 15,000 fires every year. Lint escapes through tiny gaps around the edges of the dryer drum and accumulates inside of the dryer cabinet. This happens more often when the dryer vent becomes clogged and there is pressure introduced back into the dryer cabinet. These fires can be ignited by the electric elements in a dryer, a spark from the motor, or the ignitor and flames inside a gas dryer. It is very important to clean the dryer thoroughly to prevent these fires from happening in your home. Here are a few steps to follow to make sure your dryer is clean and is operating safely and efficiently.
Dryer Vent Ducting
Pull the dryer from the wall and look in the lower part of the dryer. Depending on the design of the dryer the vent can be found in the middle or could be located on the left or right side. Th event is usually held onto the dryer with a screw type clamp. Loosen the clamp and remove the duct. It is also a good idea to remove it from the wall dryer vent adaptor as well. After removal, you should be able to use a vacuum cleaner or an air compressor to remove and clean all the lint from inside the dryer duct. After the duct is completely clean reinstall the ducting. This process will need to be done often to prevent the ducting from becoming clogged.
The dryer vent ducting is the part of the dryer that you will need to inspect and clean more often than any other part of the dryer. When the ducts become clogged there is excessive heat that could build up inside the duct causing a fire hazard. It is very important for the heated air from the dryer flow through the ducts very easily. Another reason for the air to remove freely is to prevent a backpressure back into the dryer cabinet. If this happens lint will be introduced back into the cabinet allowing the lint to accumulate all over the other dryer components in the cabinet. One of the main components that could be effected is the dryer element that becomes very hot and could ignite the lint inside the cabinet.
When you must clean the lint from inside the dryer cabinet the procedure is the same for a gas or electric dryer. Here are a few simple steps to follow:
- One method of cleaning around the drum of the dryer is removing the top. Depending on the type and model dryer you have this may be the preferred method. To remove the top look for the lint. Lift the door of the lint filter and you will see the two screws connecting the top to the lint filter. Remove the screws from the top. Pull the top forward and up to release the top from the clips that secure the top on the front. Disconnect the door switch wires in the front and tilt the top back. You can then take a vacuum and remove all the lint from around the drum and from the inside of the cabinet. Then replace the top.
- You can also access the drum by removing the front panel of the dryer on some models. The front panels are usually held on by clamps on the top and bottom on each side of the panel. Remove the panel by placing a flat screwdriver behind the panel where the clamps are located. Pop the clamps loose and tilt the front panel. After tilting the front panel use the same procedure to vacuum the lint and replace the panel.
Now that you have taken care of the dryer cabinet around the drum it is time to remove the back panels of the dryer. In most models when you drop the back panels you will find the heating coils of the dryer. This is the most important location of the dryer when it comes to removing the lint. In some models, you will find the coils enclosed in a separate compartment mounted to the back of the dryer cabinet. In other models, the heating element itself will be mounted onto the dryer cabinet. In any case, it is very important to first clean the elements to make sure they are free from dust, lint, and debris. Next vacuum around the inside of the dryer cabinet. Replace the back panels and all the screws that secure the panel.
You need to make that you clean the ducting of the dryer at least once every month. Be sure to check the lint filter before you use your dryer every time. If the lint filter is damaged be sure to replace the filter. When the lint filter becomes clogged the heated air cannot escape through the dryer ducts freely. If the lint filter is not cleaned before every use it could become seriously clogged. Many dryers have ignited just because of a clogged lint filter.
These are a few simple steps that can be done to prevent some major damage to your home later. If you cannot perform this task yourself be sure to contact an appliance service contractor to come out and repair your dryer.