I learned something new yesterday.
Where the dryer vents outside of the house, on the inside of that, there is a small flap to keep out rodents. If the flap gets stuck into the shut position, it’s bad news. Maybe you already know this, but if not, and you have a gas dryer, it might be helpful to be aware that when the dryer can’t vent, or breathe, that lint is being taken into the body of the dryer. That is, it’s being stored up around the place where the fire is, which is a dangerous mix.
Several months ago, I learned that if the dryer vent is plugged with built up lint, from regular use, it can cause a fire. That cleaning the slide-out lint trap was not enough, was news to me. I removed that big vent tube from the back of the dryer and vacuumed out a lot of lint. The small exhaust hole, that is caulked to the outside wall of the house, was tricky, and in trying to make sure there was no lint clogging that, the unknown flap got jammed shut without anyone the wiser.
Over time the dryer ceased to work efficiently. It was so gradual though, that I’d think maybe I had packed too many heavy items in there, such as towels and jeans. I even thought that the dryer was simply getting old and maybe this was how long they tended to last. What was actually going on was that thanks to the jammed flap, lint was being taken into the machinations of the dryer and building up. Did I mention there’s an actual fire inside the (gas) dryer that creates the heat that dries the clothes? Fire that can ignite built up lint and start a house fire.
Yesterday a local appliance repairman came to check everything, and I saw that the built up lint had caught fire at some point, and thankfully had gone out. The dryer is cleaned out, in full repair and working wonderfully.
I was left with two important things to be aware of; how strongly the air should be blowing through that outside vent, and how long it takes to dry an average load of clothes. If either of these things begins to change, I know to check that flap because it can easily become stuck shut with lint and moisture from outside, not just a vacuum nozzle.
Also, I appreciate a repairman who shows me what he’s doing and why, and that he didn’t simply complete the repair and hand me a huge bill. In fact, the total for getting the washer and dryer serviced, they’re nine years old, came to $110. Such a deal! I love knowledge.