Over 15,000 fires caused by clothes dryers are reported annually, causing injury, death and loss of homes. The majority of these fires could have easily been prevented with proper maintenance; dryer vent cleaning to remove lint build-up from the ducts, heating element, wiring, motor and behind the clothes dryer.
When a water hose on your washing machine bursts, hundreds of gallons of water will cause thousands of dollars in damage as your home is flooded. Homeowners insurance may cover the cost; however, they will also increase your premiums.
Properly maintaining your washer and dryer will prevent this from happening in the first place. Here are some maintenance tips for homeowners:
Turn off the water valves going to the washing machine, unplug it and pull it away from the wall. This is a good time to move the dryer too; unplug it and disconnect the exhaust vent. If you see a lot of lint behind the dryer, you most likely have build-up in the exhaust ducts too.
Begin by removing the water hoses from the washer and clean the rust and debris from the filters. Replace the hoses with new steel braided hoses, using new washers. Turn on the valves and check for leaks. Push the washer back into place; that was easy!
The Dryer Vent and Ducts
You can purchase rotary dryer vent cleaning tools at home improvement stores or your local hardware that connect to a drill. Other hand tools are available as well. Begin by cleaning the vent to the outside of your home. From the outside, make sure the vent hood is not obstructed; remove it if necessary to clean all the way to the inside opening.
Use a rotary tool or brush to clean the duct work from the vent to the back of the dryer. A shop vac will come in handy to blow it out once you have loosened it from the inside of the dryer ducts.
Most dryers come apart from the top and front; refer to your service manual. Remove the drum and use the shop vac to remove lint build-up from inside the dryer, on the motor and heating element (in electric dryers).
Check the drum bearings for wear; refer to your manual to see how many there are and where they are placed. Worn bearings cause the drum to wobble, allowing lint to build up inside the dryer assembly. If your dryer is squeaking it is likely to need new bearings.
Check the drum drive belt for wear, cracking or tears; replace if necessary. Check the idler pulley to be sure it turns freely. A little WD-40 will help free it up if necessary.
Reassemble the dryer, clean the floor and slide it back into place. Great; you're good to go for about another year!
Dryer maintenance is more involved than the washer and may prove to be too much for the average homeowner. A professional dryer vent specialist will have all the necessary tools to perform this job effectively. Professional dryer vent and duct cleaning is recommended at least once a year, to keep your dryer running efficiently and safely.
Horatio Chiorean is the owner/operator of Dryer Vent Wizard; he provides affordable dryer vent cleaning, repairs and installation while explaining to his customers exactly what he is doing and why. Horatio offers his clients good tips for maintaining their dryer vent system between his annual visits. For more information, visit http://www.dryerventwizard.com