Dryer Maintenance Fun!

Here’s a quick tutorial on caring for your dryer from my favorite appliance repairman (jot down this number) Mark Wiseman Appliance Service, 206-948-1060.

We needed a dryer repair the other day (at a rental), so while he was there I quizzed him with “If you could pass along tips to your customers, what would they be?” and, ta da!, here is what Mark wants you to know:

  1. Clean your lint filter every load!
  2. Once a year go outside and make sure the exterior vent flap moves freely. Remove any built up lint. If you have a “grate/guard” over your exterior vent and it is full of lint, remove it and don’t put it back! These are notorious for collecting lint and blocking airflow which leads to repair calls to Mark…
  3. Dryer repairs and fires are primarily caused by poor venting. A good vent solution is a metal vent, flexible or straight, a short run to the exterior, and an exterior vent with a flap but no grate. A poor vent example might be a plastic vent, with low spots or kinks, or a long run to the exterior, and an exterior vent with a soon-to-be-clogged bird/animal guard.

Seems straightforward, right? So with these tips in mind I came home and examined my dryer. We’re pretty type A when it comes to cleaning our lint filter every load, but I happened to reach a little further into the dryer I discovered this –

Dryer Lint

Surprise! (See, I told you this was Fun) I removed two easily accessible screws for the screen,  used an old dowel and toothbrush to clean the lint out, and the vacuum for the residual. Now I’m curious about the vent, which will require a little work to access, and if it’s not metal I think I’ll replace it.

Here are a few more tips –

Mark says if your dryer is taking more than an hour to dry a large-ish load of whites then it’s time to do some maintenance.

Newly constructed homes tend to have the dryers centrally located, which can mean long vent runs. If this is you, then be more careful, your vents are more prone to lint collection.

If you would like to have your vents professionally cleaned he recommends Dryer Vent Solutions. (*If you need it, not everyone does)

Want a little more info? This is a good article with video.

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4 thoughts on “Dryer Maintenance Fun!

  1. Thanks for your good, informative article. I have a question for your buddy Mark: Our dryer vents to the screen porch (with no way to change location), so it blows untrapped lint into the porch. Is there anything that would trap this lint? Or any other solution? Thanks for any help you can give.

    • Hi Jeanne, Thanks for your nice comment, we try to be useful :) I spoke with Mark today and he was firm in his “Do nothing” response. He’s had this request before and says every solution that is tried causes problems and eventually damages the dryer. It’s normal for debris/lint to travel that far and to block/capture it will impede air flow. I’m sure this is frustrating! Maybe take another look at the vent path…tho I know you said there’s not another option…Best of luck.

  2. Oh yah, dryer lint! Alys posted a project to make a lint wreath for bird nesting materials. It sounded so fab, I made one too. I don’t know if I’ll hang out here this year since it’s only crows and magpies downtown. I know exactly which two screws you’re talking about because I undo ours pretty often. Like every two months or so. I even did this at my brothers house when I went to help my sister-in-law one day. It was insane (3 lazy boys NEVER clean up) and I told her I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t do it. I found all kinds of stuff in there.

    • Kind of satisfying in a warped way, right?! I was thinking I wish I would have put a little plastic army man in the photo or something, to show the scale, then he could be yelling “run away” from the towering lint – or some other silly thing. It was a surprising amount to find inside the dryer! I do like learning how to take care of these things, so simple. You’re way better than me, I’ve been about 6 years!

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