Clothes dryer efficiency project

October 11th, 2007

If I lived in the country I would have a clothesline, but I live in an apartment, so I have a clothes dryer. I can’t have clothes hanging everywhere in my little apartment ; )

I hang my head in shame and say that for the last six months or so I’ve noticed that my clothes take a long time to dry. It sort of built up to be something I expected. Towels took more than two hours to dry! Eek. I simply thought my dryer needed replacing. It is more than nine years old. But I should never assume.

Here are the steps my husband (ok, mostly him) and I took to fix the problem without buying a new dryer or calling a repairman. But first let me say I’m not a handywoman or licensed in any way to give electrical advice. This solution worked for me, but dryers can be dangerous hot things, so do what’s right for yours! Don’t be afraid to call Mr. Repairman.
We CLEANED the lint trap. I don’t mean just taking the lint roll out. Apparently dryer sheets can cause a buildup on your lint trap. Every six months it needs to be scrubbed with soap and water and a toothbrush (or rag) and left out to dry. This action is supposed to extend the life of your dryer by helping out the heating element. ALSO, take a long brush (like a ceiling fan brush if you have one) and get all the stuff out of the weird little hole the lint door calls home.
We replaced the plastic flexible hose (pictured above but looks like metal) with a straight, sleek aluminum hose (pictured below). Why? The flexible hose creates air turbulence, which makes air flow less efficiently.
This was the magic thing I do believe. After this last step, my dryer completely dried a large load of towels in one hour! I asked the maintenance people at my apartments to please check the outside dryer vent to make sure it wasn’t clogged. I live on the second floor. Silly me, I assumed they did this. Oh why would they when they also didn’t change my AC filter?

I went out to the balcony to see if all was well and the guy said I should get a good airflow now. “Was it clogged,” I had to ask. “Yes,” he says while holding up a very thick mass of evil grey lint. My, my what energy we waste.
I don’t have a picture of that lovely moment to show you.

I can’t completely blame my apartments for this. After all, one should never assume other people are doing their jobs correctly (unless it’s your doctor or mechanic…). I have to take control of making sure these things get done just as if I owned this place. That isn’t a bad thing necessarily.

Being more green means changing your way of thinking and your habits. For apartment folks, it may mean asking a few more questions and following up to make sure regular maintenance is done.

I am enjoying a quick drying time, but more than that, I’m enjoying knowing I’m no longer wasting energy.

6 Responses to “Clothes dryer efficiency project”

  1. Virginia Lee on October 12, 2007 12:02 am

    Good for you! Alas, we have to use a laundry room in these apartments and I swear, the machines are such energy hogs! Also they don’t work right about half the time. Feh.

    So again, BRAVO!

  2. chocmoon on October 12, 2007 6:18 am

    Great chance to nag the laundry room owners to upgrade or take better care of what they have! I often feel that people don’t listen, but sometimes they surprise me.

  3. Kathleen Frassrand on October 12, 2007 4:41 pm

    Thanks for reminding me! It is time for dryer maintenance! I need to clean the tops of my washer & dryer too. I hate how dusty and yucky my laundry room gets, but I always seem to *forget* to clean it during my dusting days. Heehee. I do tend to use the used dryer sheet to wipe down the dryer… when I remember. 🙂

  4. chocmoon on October 12, 2007 5:59 pm

    Kat, so I’m not the only one who uses a used dryer sheet to clean. I usually find it helpful to clean the lint trap with it.

  5. Helen on November 11, 2008 2:45 pm

    Loved the tip, thank you. I have started to make my own natural cleaning products from storeroom basics. They are as effective as commercial products but contain no harmful chemicals and i don’t have to worry about recycling.

  6. Peggy on November 11, 2008 11:10 pm

    Thanks Helen. : )

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