Home Care Library
Clothes Dryer Safety and Energy Tips
Did you know that dryers are the second highest energy-consuming appliance in most homes? And lint build-up is one of the major causes of the over 15,000 dryer fires that occur each year.
This article gives you tips for keeping your dryer safe and for saving energy too.
Why Is Dryer Care So Important?
Washing and drying clothes is not typically a task that most people enjoy. It never ends, and if you have a large family, your washer and dryer are likely running constantly. And a dryer takes a lot of energy to operate. The annual cost for operating a clothes dryer is about $85 a year and can go up to $170 a year depending on the frequency of its usage. In most homes, the only household appliance consuming more energy is the refrigerator. Further, your dryer is an expensive item to replace, and as we mentioned above, the risk of a dryer fire is all too real.
The good news is that there are things that you can do to keep your dryer operating safely, reduce energy consumption and extend its useful life. So read on.
You may have heard the truly scary stories of clothes dryer catching fire because of lint accumulation. Here are some things you should do for the safety of your dryer.
The first is to clean your dryer's lint filter trap after each load. In addition to helping keep your dryer safe, it also helps keep it performing efficiently.
Clean your vent pipe of lint. Also, check your vent pipe. It is recommended that you use the straightest and shortest duct available. Flexible ducts can be a potential safety concern as they can be crushed or restrict the airflow, and may not be able to withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
Keep a fire extinguisher in the same room as the clothes dryer, near the door where you can access easily in an emergency.
If you are not confident of how to properly clean your dryer, check your vent pipe, etc., then do not hesitate to call in a professional to give your clothes dryer a thorough cleaning and inspection.
Energy Savings Tips
Unlike most appliances, clothes dryers do not display "Energy Guide" labels. This is because dryers don’t vary much from model to model regarding the amount of energy used. But there are a number of things you can do to save energy when using your clothes dryer:
Reducing the frequency of use of the dryer is a sure way of reducing the energy used by your dryer. For larger families who run their dryer nearly every day, consolidating loads to reduce usage to three times per week can save them approximately $84 per year.
If you are looking to buy a new dryer, then it is recommended to buy one with a moisture sensor. This allows the dryer to automatically stop when the clothes are dry, and thus saving energy since it prevents "over-drying" your clothes.
Use the retained heat of the dryer to do consecutive loads.
Use a dryer vent closure where the vent pipe exits your house, which will save you on your heating and cooling bills.
And of course, the biggest energy-saving step is to not use your dryer, and instead use an old-fashioned clothesline. This can save you around $100 on your annual energy bills.
Extending Your Dryer's Useful Life
A clothes dryer is an expensive appliance, and so you should consider ways to extend its useful life. Here are some tips for you:
Sort the clothes according to their thickness. This way, the dryer will dry it in shorter time, dry more evenly, and will also leave fewer wrinkles.
Clean the lint filter trap after every load, so that the dryer can be operated optimally (in addition to helping maintain its safe operation, as mentioned above).
On the days when it is warm outside, dry your clothes on a clothesline. This will give your dryer a much-needed rest and extend its life.
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