5 Dryer Maintenance Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

people doing laundry

Following regular maintenance will help your appliance run efficiently and safely. Ignoring regular dryer maintenance may pose a fire hazard. Failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Below are several dryer tips for properly caring for your dryer:

Ensure proper installation
Be sure to have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional. Check your manual to ensure that your electrical outlet is appropriate for your plugs. If you have a gas dryer, have it inspected by a professional to make sure the gas line and connection are working properly and don’t have leaks.

Clean the lint filter
Always clean the lint filter before drying each load of laundry. If you are drying a new item that creates a lot of lint, such as a bath towel or bath mat, consider drying it for half a cycle and then pause to clean out the lint filter before continuing to dry the item. Regularly check the dryer’s drum for lint accumulation.

The leading cause of clothes dryer fires is a failure to clean the dryer of dust, fiber and lint. Lint is highly combustible and can lead to reduced airflow, posing a fire hazard in clothes dryers.

Inspect the dryer vent
The dryer vent is located outside of your house. It’s a good idea to periodically check to make sure air is coming out of the vent while clothes are drying. If no air is coming out of the vent, turn off the dryer and inspect the vent for blockage. Accumulated lint, a bird’s nest or even small animals can block vents.

Consider installing a dryer vent seal to help ensure the vent is closed when the dryer is not in use.

Check the exhaust vent
Make sure the duct that runs from the back of your dryer to your wall and outside to your dryer vent isn’t clogged with lint or debris. If there is a blockage, you may have to remove the duct to clean it out. Consult with a professional before making any changes to your dryer’s exhaust duct.

Basic washer and dryer safety tips
Follow these basic safety tips when using your dryer.

  • Don’t overload.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions.
  • Don’t run the dryer when you aren’t home or when you are sleeping.
  • Keep the entire area clean and free of clutter, boxes and other materials.
  • Don’t store items on the top of the washer and dryer.
  • Consult operating instructions prior to drying an item that has been soiled with chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oil or paint.

Taking care of your appliances will help them last longer and run safely. Use these home appliance safety tips for your other home appliances.