Tips on Keeping Your Dryer Safe and Efficient

Overview

Clothes Dryer

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 creates lint, which can build-up around your dryer and cause problems.

Routine Care Task

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)

Check if outside dryer vent flap is clogged and stuck open.

Your clothes dryer tumbles your clothes in the presence of hot air. This process causes fine pieces of fabric (lint) to be produced, which travels through an exhaust vent pipe to exit your home. At the end of the vent pipe is a door flap, that automatically opens when air is coming out of your dryer, and then should close tightly when the dryer is off.

As the lint starts to build up, it can prevent the door flap from closing properly, which allows cold or hot air into your home, as well as pests.

Timing: September (yearly)

How To

This task involves finding where your dryer’s vent piping exists on the outside of your home, and then checking that the door flap on it closes tightly, and is not kept open by lint build-up.

If it does not close tightly, then either scrape the lint away, or if the door has gotten damaged, then it will need to be replaced.

Benefits

Energy Savings

Health & Safety

Comfort & Convenience

The benefits are moderate, as a stuck dryer vent flap can let in cold air all winter, and let in hot air all summer. And this will increase the energy costs for your home.

Costs

The cost of doing this task is very low. It is estimated that it should only take about 30 minutes, and is relatively easy to do. No specialized tools are required.

 

Clothes Dryer Safety and Energy Tips

Did you know that dryers are the second highest energy-consuming appliance in most homes? And lint build-up is one of the major causes of the over 15,000 dryer fires that occur each year.

This article gives you tips for keeping your dryer safe and for saving energy too.

Why Is Dryer Care So Important?

Washing and drying clothes is not typically a task that most people enjoy. It never ends, and if you have a large family, your washer and dryer are likely running constantly. And a dryer takes a lot of energy to operate. The annual cost for operating a clothes dryer is about $85 a year and can go up to $170 a year depending on the frequency of its usage. In most homes, the only household appliance consuming more energy is the refrigerator. Further, your dryer is an expensive item to replace, and as we mentioned above, the risk of a dryer fire is all too real.

The good news is that there are things that you can do to keep your dryer operating safely, reduce energy consumption and extend its useful life. So read on.

Safety Tips

You may have heard the truly scary stories of clothes dryer catching fire because of lint accumulation. Here are some things you should do for the safety of your dryer.

  • The first is to clean your dryer’s lint filter trap after each load. In addition to helping keep your dryer safe, it also helps keep it performing efficiently.
  • Clean your vent pipe of lint Also check your vent pipe. It is recommended that you use the straightest and shortest duct available. Flexible ducts can be a potential safety concern as they can be crushed or restrict the airflow, and may not be able to withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the same room as the clothes dryer, near the door where you can access easily in an emergency (see costs and reviews of fire extinguishers).
  • If you are not confident of how to properly clean your dryer, check your vent pipe, etc., then do not hesitate to call in a professional to give your clothes dryer a thorough cleaning and inspection.

Energy Savings Tips

Unlike most appliances, clothes dryers do not display “Energy Guide” labels. This is because dryers don’t vary much from model to model regarding the amount of energy used. But there are a number of things you can do to save energy when using your clothes dryer:

  • Reducing the frequency of use of the dryer is a sure way of reducing the energy used by your dryer. For larger families who run their dryer nearly every day, consolidating loads to reduce usage to three times per week can save them approximately $84 per year.
  • If you are looking to buy a new dryer, then it is recommended to buy one with a moisture sensor. This allows the dryer to automatically stop when the clothes are dry, and thus saving energy since it prevents “over-drying” your clothes.
  • Use the retained heat of the dryer to do consecutive loads.
  • Use a dryer vent closure where the vent pipe exits your house, which will save you on your heating and cooling bills.
  • And of course, the biggest energy-saving step is to not use your dryer, and instead use an old-fashioned clothesline. This can save you around $100 on your annual energy bills.

Extending Your Dryer’s Useful Life

A clothes dryer is an expensive appliance, and so you should consider ways to extend its useful life. Here are some tips for you:

  • Sort the clothes according to their thickness. This way the dryer will dry it in a shorter time, dry more evenly, and will also leave fewer wrinkles.
  • Clean the lint filter trap after every load, so that the dryer can be operated optimally (in addition to helping maintain its safe operation, as mentioned above).
  • On the days when it is warm outside, dry your clothes on a clothesline. This will give your dryer a much-needed rest and extend its life.

 

Originally posted at http://www.petermuehlbronner.home-wizard.com/articleDet/art_dryer_safety

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