Clothes Dryer Suggestion


Consider installing a lint alarm for your dryer. Dryers operate at high temperatures, and lint build-up is a leading cause of dryer fires.

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

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 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.

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.


The benefits of annual cleaning and maintenance 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 benefits of checking if outside dryer vent flap is clogged 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.


The cost of annual cleaning and maintenance 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.

The cost of checking if outside dryer vent flap is clogged and stuck open doing 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.


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