Clothes Dryer: Annual Cleaning and Maintenance


All Clothes Dryers use electricity to rotate the drum that the clothes ride in and for operating the controls that allow you to set cycle times, the amount of drying to be done, etc. But an ‘electric’ Clothes Dryer is a model that uses electricity as the source of heat for drying the clothes as they are tumbling in the rotating drum.

If your Clothes Dryer has natural gas or propane piping connected to it, then it is a ‘gas’ Clothes Dryer, and you should put a checkmark for ‘Clothes Dryer (gas)’ as one of your home features in your Home Wizard app. A gas Clothes Dryer burns natural gas or propane in a heating element, which produces the heat that dries the clothes as they are tumbling in the rotating drum.

All Clothes Dryers will have vent piping to the outside of your house, where hot air and lint from the drying process will leave the unit.

Some models of Clothes Dryers are stand-alone units, and some models are integrated with a Washing Machine. If your model has a Washing Machine unit with it, then you should put checkmarks for BOTH Clothes Dryer (electric) and Washing Machine as your home features in your Home Wizard app.

The heating element and tumbling action of a clothes dryer create lint, which can build-up around your dryer and cause problems.

Routine Care

Annual cleaning and maintenance

Build-up of lint can cause several problems:

Safety: Lint is flammable, and can be touched off by the heating element in the dryer, or a spark from the motor, switch, etc.

Loss of Efficiency: A clogged vent pipe or stuck flap vent reduces the dryer’s capacity to dry clothes, requiring the unit to run longer, which uses more energy and shortens its service life.

Heat Loss: A flap vent that doesn’t close properly allows heat or cooling to escape from the house.

Pests: A flap vent that doesn’t close properly also leaves an opening for insects and other pests to potentially come through.

Extending useful life: An unbalanced dryer will cause its rotating components to wear out sooner.

Timing: August (yearly)

How To

Annual dryer maintenance involves the following 5 tasks:

Clean lint build-up from vent system. Out of the back of your dryer, you’ll find a pipe, usually 4-5 inches in diameter, which goes through the wall of your house to the outside. Outside there is a “flap vent” that swings open automatically from air pressure when the dryer is running, then closes when the dryer shuts off. The entire piping and flap vent should be inspected and cleaned of lint or any obstructions.

Seal any hose joints with duct tape.

Clean behind and underneath the dryer. Moisture, dirt, and lint tend to accumulate behind and underneath your dryer. Pull the dryer out from the wall and wipe these areas with a damp rag.

Scrub the lint trap. Chemical fabric softeners often clog the small holes in lint traps.

Remove the lint trap and scrub it with a soft bristle brush and mild soap or detergent.

Check the balance of your dryer. A dryer that is not level on the ground will cause its’ rotating components to wear out sooner. If the dryer moves, shakes, or is not level, adjust the feet at the bottom of the unit.

Clean and inspect burner (gas models). For dryers that heat with natural gas or propane, the burner should be cleaned and inspected according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.


The benefits of this task are very, very high. Doing this task can help you improve safety, save money on energy, prevent damage by pests, and extend the useful life of your dryer.


The cost of this task is relatively low. It is estimated that this task should only take about 30-60 minutes to complete, and the task is relatively easy to do. However, if you have a model that uses natural gas or propane, then you will need to hire a professional to clean and inspect your burner.


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