The filter is the first line of defense against dust, fabric lint, and hair. You’ve probably heard this before, but you really should empty the dryer’s lint filter after every load. Some types of clothing, socks, for example, shed more than others. But, no matter what you’re washing, getting into the habit of wiping the filter after every wash and dry will get you ahead of the game.
2. Inspect Where the Dryer Vent Exits in the House
When the dryer is on, there should be a steady, unhindered stream of warm air passing through the vent exit. If you have a mesh screening stretched across it, it’s best if you remove it as it can catch lint and obstruct air flow. Instead, you should install a proper louvered door that opens only when the dryer is running. These can be bought at your local home center.
3. Clean the Inner Reaches of the Vent
If the lint filter and the exit of the vent aren’t clear, you probably need to clean the inner reaches of the vent. This isn’t that big a chore, especially if you use one of the widely available kits made for this purpose. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends wiping the innards out at least once a year.
Screws and rivets make good fasteners, but they’re sure to snag lint if they’re holding together joints in dryer vents – avoid using them. Use some multi-purpose duct-tape instead.
An important word of caution: If your dryer has one of those exit hoses that looks like a Slinky covered with vinyl, replace it now! Choose a foil-type hose or, even better, an aluminum flexible duct. A ridged, Slinky-like tube can trap lint and a build-up can lead to overheating. Since vinyl is flammable, you could have a lot more to worry about than a slow dryer.
5. If Possible, Shorten the Exit
Keep in mind that the exit vent on your dryer should be as straight and as short as possible. If the air that is exiting the dryer has to be pushed too far or make its way around kinks in the hose, drying times can be significantly increased. This is not only a nuisance, but it’s also a waste of energy and money. If you can, think about moving your dryer to another position that allows for a shorter hose.
While the above problems with exit vents aren’t the only factors that can cause your dryer to take forever, they’re by far the most common. Have a look at these issues before you call the repair guys, and you might save yourself the price of an expensive service call!