7 basic dryer care facts to keep your home safe and save you money

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In most homes, clothing dryers are relied upon daily. However, many people don’t realize how dangerous they can be IF you don’t properly care for them.

Every year, clothes dryers cause thousands of major residential fires in the U.S. Most problems associated with dryers are caused by lint build up or blockage in the venting system. It causes a dangerous buildup of heat and an instant fire that spreads fast.

So here are seven ways to keep your dryer working well and avoid costly repairs – and a possible fire:

1. Pay attention to drying time.

If it’s taking longer for clothes to dry, it’s likely that lint is clogging the venting system. You should clean it out at least once a year. See information about how to do that below.

2. Use aluminum tubing.

Check out your dryer’s vent tubing. Flexible white vinyl tubing is highly restrictive and no longer meets national fire code standards in the U.S. If you have white vinyl venting, replace it immediately with an aluminum equivalent such as this Semi-Rigid Vent Duct Tubing.

3. After every cycle, clean out the lint filter (a.k.a. lint trap or lint screen).

Yes, every time. It does make a difference.

A few times per year, it’s also wise to clean lint from the chute that houses the lint filter. Pieces of lint inevitably settle in there as you remove and replace the filter. This long-handle brush works well for this. You can also use this long vacuum hose attachment to do the job fast, too.

If you find that lint build up is substantial within the chute, you should disassemble the dryer and remove the lint from the dryer’s interior using a vacuum.

4. Clean out your dryer’s entire venting tube.

A venting system should be cleaned out from inside of the dryer to the outside vent cap at least once per year. Professionals can be hired for this or you can purchase a long brush or cleaning kit with instructional DVD to do it on your own and save money.

How to clean out your dryer’s venting

Our bestselling 20-foot cleaning brush enables you to easily remove lint buildup from within the entire tube.

In our homes, for extra precaution, we use Lint Alert. It monitors for lint build-up and other blockage and alerts you if there is a fire risk with your gas dryer. Does it work? Consumer Reports says yes.

5. Don’t overload it.

Read the manufacturer’s owner’s manual and follow their recommendations for loading size. Overloading your dryer with too many clothes won’t work.

6. Make sure your dryer’s level.

In order for a dryer to function properly, its legs must be set at level heights. Refer to the dryer’s owner’s manual for information on how to do this properly and safely. You may need the assistance of a second person.

7. Keep it clean.

RepairClinic has appliance cleaners that do an impressive job of removing detergent buildup.

Take a few minutes to learn more by watching our popular how-it-works videos:

Additional dryer maintenance tips

Three ways to keep homes safe from dryer fires

How to keep your family safe

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