Day 7: Dryer Maintenance
This laundry room image from Martha Stewart was one of my first pins on Pinterest. I pinned it because it was simple, practical, and not too fussy. The rolled up towels are a bit twee, but I love that the cleaning and laundry supplies all in their original packaging versus the apothecary nonsense I usually see. My favorite part about the image is that it features an ordinary washer and dryer from the 90s. We happen to be the last household in America using a top loading washer (I checked. The other family bought a new set with their tax return in May.), so I appreciate the inspiration. Thanks, Martha.
Too bad this is all only tangentially related to today’s post. In fact, I only put up that image because the real images are so horrific, I didn’t want them to be the first thing visitors see. What I’m really talking about today is a project my husband took on and finished.
It began like this: our dryer stopped blowing hot air.
While I was across the street drying Nico’s soccer uniform 7 minutes before we were supposed to leave, my husband was on Youtube refusing to believe we had to buy a new dryer. He was looking at dryer repair videos, not LOLZ cats. He found one that looked promising and saved it for after the game. When we got home, he got to work and I went to the supermarket. When I came home, I found him on the floor taking this picture.
I put away the groceries while he told me what that we should be cleaning out the interior every year, depending on how often we use the dryer. I knew 15,000 house fires start each year due to dirty lint traps, so I always swipe it clean before every load and wash it regularly. I had no idea we were supposed to take apart the dryer as part of our routine maintenance.
I put away the carrots while he hoisted the drum out of the dryer. When I turned around, I found him on the floor taking this picture.
Our dryer is 13 years old. We had it serviced shortly after we moved in, so I suspect that’s 6 years of dust and lint. I blinked twice and said, “Okay, I’m going to Target!” And I left.
I came home an hour and found him on the floor taking this picture.
After this picture, he put the dryer back together again so he could diagnose the problem. It turned out we needed a new spark plug or something (zzzzzzzzz), so he took apart the dryer again, replaced the plug, and then put it all together again. I helped him put the drum back in the second time. I was instrumental to the project.
These are all the pictures he took, so you’ll have to imagine the machine back together again. I think it was sweet he even thought to take pictures for me.
My Martha Stewart Homekeeping Handbook, which I should clearly dust off and read, says homeowners should do this every year. The video my husband watched on Youtube (this is the one) suggests every six months. I did a little research on the internet–a reliable source if ever there was one–and several sites say it depends on your household. If you live alone and do laundry once per week, you could go 5 years without needing to clean your dryer vents. Daily dryer users should clean every 6 months. Weekly or biweekly users can go every 18 months. The average family of 4 using the dryer 3 times a week, once a year.
There are lint monitoring systems on the market if you are really feeling unsure, but they are pricey and I don’t know how well they work. They are available at most hardware stores.
I think we’re going to stick with a yearly cleaning. Our dryer can now warm a small home with the heat it generates. We are able to dry our clothes infinitely faster now. I should probably suggest the neighbor who helped me with Nico’s uniform, too. His uniform never dried to more than damp, and she complained that her dryer was working as well as it had in the past…
New here? For the next 31 days I’m living according to the famous William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” You can learn more about the project here, and catch sneak peeks of my projects by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (I’m @pancakesfries).