You’re Not Cleaning Enough Lint From Your Clothes Dryer
A recent fix-it project made me question the thoroughness of a task that I performed on a regular basis - and I want to share my experience so that you can learn from it like I did. At best, you have efficiency to gain; at the worst, you could save your life!
I took pride in the fact that every year - at least once - I took apart the exhaust vent from the back of my clothes dryer to clean the lint out of it. Because I use chimney flue-like venting, I was even able to disassemble the pieces to clean the entire vent out from top to bottom. So I had an internal confidence that I was taking care of this important task - probably more often than most people.
Two days ago, my 19-year-old dryer suddenly stopped working. I'm (sort of) handy so I was able to diagnose that the problem was either the switch or one of the thermal fuses inside the compartment. Except - I didn't readily accept the thermal fuse diagnosis because the cause of that issue is a built-up, blocked exhaust vent. (Remember - I clean it out every year).
In order to find the problem and fix it, I took the dryer apart - something that I had never done before. You see - even though I took the vent off the back end, I never had a reason to open up the front chassis. Imagine my surprise (and horror) when I found more than 7 inches of compacted lint in the housing that surrounds the blower wheel. Of course the dryer was running hot - because it couldn't vent properly. A multi-meter test of the thermal fuse probably wasn't even necessary at this point to confirm that it had blown; sure enough though, the thermal fuse didn't pass the test and it was the problem.
So what did I learn from this situation? Many things. First and foremost - even though I was cleaning out my exhaust vent on a regular basis, it wasn't enough; granted, it took 19 years to build up that amount of lint to become a problem. But I should probably add a good cleaning of the front chassis to my routine. Maybe I don't need to clean that part out as often as the back vent - but I probably shouldn't wait 19 years (or until there's a problem) either.
One last note: Sorry I don't have any pictures of the lint or my dryer. I was too busy fixing the dryer to stop and take pictures. (I'm also older than the "selfie generation"!)