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"!)