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Tips to Maximize the Efficiency and Life of Your Clothes Dryer

Washing and drying clothes is no picnic - just ask anyone who's in charge of the family laundry. It's hard work that must be done every single week, sometimes even daily if you have a large family. A washing machine and dryer are used so often, they tend to be taken for granted. But for safety reasons and to save dollars on power and water, both appliances should be used with care and safety in mind.

Below are some helpful tips for using the clothes dryer in a safe and economical way.

Reduce Drying Time

A way to save money and prolong the life of your clothes dryer is to reduce drying time. There are several ways to do this. One way is to place smaller loads in the dryer each time. The dryer will dry them evenly in less time and also leave fewer wrinkles. Drying too many clothes at once will cause the dryer to dry them unevenly, and the clothes will still have many wrinkles. You'll have to keep turning the dryer back on to finish the job. The dryer can also overheat if overloaded.

Another way is to keep the dryer lint-free. Clean the lint-filter after every load to keep the dryer running at its best. A third way to reduce drying time is to hang clothes outdoors to dry when possible. When the weather is nice and warm, the clothes will dry quickly. This will save on your power bill and help prolong the dryer's life.

Clean the Clothes Dryer Often

Besides wiping lint from the lint-catcher after every load, be sure to clean out the extra lint within the vent that the filter did not catch. You should do this at least once a month to prevent build-up. Use a vacuum hose or lint brush to remove excess lint. Also, have a qualified service technician to come clean your dryer thoroughly about once every two to three years. The technician will take the dryer apart and give it a thorough cleaning.

Clothes Dryer Safety

For venting, install all-metal ducting instead of plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses. Plastic and vinyl are flammable. Also, avoid drying clothes on which flammable substances have been spilled such as gasoline, kerosene, cooking oil, alcohol, and solvents. These can give off certain explosive vapors that could cause a fire when exposed to excessive heat in the dryer. Clothing items with these types of spills should be washed thoroughly several times and hung to dry to be sure all the flammable substance is gone. Other items to avoid drying in a clothes dryer are synthetic fabrics, rubber, plastic, and foam. These retain heat and can cause the dryer to overheat or catch fire.

If installing a gas or electric dryer in a new home, select a spot on an outside wall so your dryer will be able to ventilate properly. The steam must have a safe outlet. Inside walls make it difficult when seeking places to insert a ventilation hole to the outdoors.

Never leave home or fall asleep with the dryer running. Also, keep a fire extinguisher in the same room as the dryer or nearby if possible in case a fire does occur.

Alternatives to the Standard Electric Dryer

If you practically live traveling the open road or if you live in a small apartment where there's no room for a standard electric dryer, there are alternatives. One unique product that many find useful is the spin dryer. A spin dryer is a compact dryer that can easily be transported when traveling. It plugs into a 110V outlet. It is very gentle on clothing and has a 12.2 lb capacity for wet laundry and a 5.5 lb capacity for dry laundry.

There are also portable washing machines to go easier on your septic tank, and there are products to improve your septic system or decrease septic system maintenance.

Keep these clothes dryer tips in mind while doing your everyday tasks. You'll see an improvement on your electric bill and with how well your dryer functions.

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