Extreme Dryer Maintenance!

Up to our elbows in dryer guts!

With all the clothesline gabble around here you may be surprised to hear we have a dryer and have even used it from time to time. ;) We had a rainy spell here this week and when we went to use the dryer to finish up a load we had had hanging, it wasn't working.

Luckily, John is a whiz with fixing appliances, and he's been up to his elbows in washer and dryer guts more than once.

He even manufactured a part for our old washer out of an annealed clotheshanger once. I was so proud. sniff.

But when we went downstairs this morning to swap out what he thought was a busted heating coil (this dryer's most common problem), we found it was working fine. The problem was much more mundane.

BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER: Always remember to unplug your appliance before you begin any kind of repair or maintenance work. Why are we emphasizing this? Because John damn near blew hisself up this morning, that's why. Well, not really. He just went to replace a hitherto-unknown light bulb inside the dryer (who puts light bulbs in dryers?) and accidentally completed a circuit, blowing up the light bulb in his hand. No damage to anyone, but it was startling. My hair stood on end for a good 15 minutes.

We do regular maintenance on our dryer, but this was a case for Extreme! Maintenance. On close inspection we discovered that way behind the lint trap leading into the vent hose was an ENORMOUS wad of lint.

Lint ballsJohn took apart the lint trap housing--the part behind the lint trap--and pulled out handful upon handful of dryer lint. See, we've cleaned the other side of the vent hose yearly, but we hadn't ever thought about the part inside the dryer; we just assumed the lint trap was catching it since we couldn't see anything. Ha!

Once we had everything disassembled and the biggest chunks of lint pulled off, John took a brush to the inside and brushed all the rest of it out. He then vacuumed out the housing and the dryer drum and re-assembled everything. While he was at it, he checked the vent hose and found nothing.

So now we have a working dryer again, and now when we open it, a light comes on. So weird.

Dryer maintenance prevents fires
Lint trap housing before
Nice and clean!
Lint trap housing after

More on appliance maintenance and repair
essential appliance repair toolsJohn says the go-to guy for learning appliance repair is the Samurai Appliance Repair Man. He also recommends the following tools: a socket set with metric as well as SAE fittings, including a set of nut drivers and a handle; a pair of pliers; an adjustable wrench; and a Leatherman New Wave multi-tool. We recommend Leatherman multi-tools because we've never had one fail on us, and we have a lot of them in different sizes. They're made here in Portland. And if something fails on it, they'll fix it or replace it for free--you have to pay postage if you live out of town, but hey, how many companies will do that?

Lynn Siprelle is behind this website.