When clothes are tumble drying in your dryer, the high heat and agitation result in linen, towels and other clothing shedding fibers. The filter picks up these particles, known as lint, and prevents them from being sucked into the steam extraction mechanism. This article will help you determine how often you should change the dryer filter or lint screen and what happens if fluff accumulates.
While cleaning out the lint trap takes a few minutes, changing your dryer’s filter is essential for your machine’s maintenance. Lint that doesn’t get trapped ends up inside the machine and alongside periodic vent system inspections. Replacing your filters increases efficiency.
Continue reading to learn what to watch for to make replacements for your unit’s efficiency, power-saving and fire safety.
What’s the Dryer Filter, and Why Is There a Need to Change It?
You can improve your dryer’s performance, save power and avoid laundry appliance fire hazards by cleaning out lint before each load. But to perform essential maintenance, how often should you change the dryer filter or perform a deep clean of the vents?
While dryer models differ, their operation concept is similar, meaning they use rotation and heat to dry clothes. A blower circulates air past a heating element as the drum rotates, then an exhaust system extracts the air through a lint screen and filter.
If there were no filters, pieces of lint and other small fibers would blow into the vent, eventually causing a blockage that could affect your dryer’s efficiency. A lint screen or trap only catches a fair amount of the substance, and filters work to capture the rest.
However, it fills up pretty quickly, and if not replaced, the result is your unit heating up, performing poorly and causing a fire.
According to the US Fire Administration, lint buildups happen in nearly 3,000 home fires. The ultimate cause of the blazes is lint combusting due to dryer maintenance failure. They recommend that a professional have a look over your machine if you notice smells of burned material. Always limit the amount of highly flammable material in your laundry room
Your Clothes Are Taking Longer To Dry
If your dryer takes longer to dry clothes, there’s an obstruction in its performance, possibly by a buildup of lint deposits on its filter. Even after cleaning the lint trap, ensure your filter’s up to date to maximize proper air circulation.
You Have to Repeatedly Dry Cycles
When you have to repeat drying cycles that would normally be sufficient, it’s a sign that your unit’s exhaust system is blocked. Your normal laundry loads should take equal time to dry completely. Otherwise, your dryer isn’t energy efficient.
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Clothing Is Hot To the Touch After Drying or Smells Smoky
If on removing clothes from a dry cycle they feel too hot or smell of smoke, lint buildup on your dryer’s filter has reached critical levels. Dry lint sparks like kindling and such congestion can easily combust to start a fire.
There’s No Exhaust Air From the Vent
At the back of your dryer, there’s an opening to vent exhaust fumes from the drum. It’s often connected to an outdoor outlet by a ductwork pipe. If no air is coming from these openings, it’s a sign there’s an accumulation of lint past the trap and filter.
It’s been Over Six Months Since You Changed Your Dryer Filter
Have you changed your dryer filter lately, or have you scheduled a replacement and maintenance check shortly? Your unit shouldn’t go past six months without a filter change for your household with multiple laundry loads, even when you regularly clean the lint screen. You might have to seek commercial washer and dryer repair.
How Do You Locate and Replace Your Dryer’s Filter?
Your dryer may break down, and it’ll be because you didn’t maintain it properly or change its filter. Besides swiping thick layers of lint off the trap or screen, there isn’t much else you’ve done, compromising your unit’s efficient operation.
Your dryer could also be working harder than usual, consuming more power and filling the air with hot exhaust pollutants. After you’ve cleaned the lint drawer and checked there’s no congestion in the vent pipe, it’s time to replace your filter.
A filter change, alongside a thorough cleaning, will let off pressure from your machine, and it’ll help it perform at capacity efficiency, consuming less power. Some units display a “Clean Filter” reminder on their interface, and it’s time for a replacement when this warning keeps flashing.
Your appliance will last longer by decreasing overall wear and tear while reducing the need for emergency repairs. You’ll change your dryer filter while cleaning the lint trap, so you’ll need items that complete the job, including:
- A new dryer filter
- Vacuum cleaner
- A soft-bristled brush
- Warm water and soap
- Paper towel cardboard core
- Duct tape
Once you’ve collected all you need, remember to turn off your dryer and disconnect it from the input socket before locating and opening it to remove the filter. The compartment holding lint filters is usually at the top, inside the door at the tumbler’s base or at the back of the dryer.
Consult your owner’s manual if you can’t find where it is or how to open the compartment so you can make a replacement. Once open, do the following:
- Reach into the compartment, pull the filter out of the slot and test it by pouring water droplets on its surface. If the water beads instead of soaking through, your filter needs changing.
- Clean out the lint in the slot and within the air inlet and outlet. You’ll find these either on each side of the top or bottom of this compartment.
- Take your cardboard core for paper towels or tissue and fold it to make a narrower mouth for your vacuum cleaner, taping it firmly. Use the roll’s end to vacuum the filter slot and surrounding area for lint before placing in a new filter.
- Wipe down the compartment with soapy water or brush off lint stuck in corners or within conduits before replacing the compartments cover. Put on your tumble dryer and run a short cycle to test if exhaust fumes are properly emerging from the vent.
What Else Can You Do to Better Maintain a Dryer After Changing the Filter?
While it’s easy to forget, you appreciate your dryer when it works perfectly, saving you time and drying clothes, especially when it’s cold outside. It’s imperative that you take good care of your unit, so you’ll continue reaping the benefits of an efficient laundry appliance.
Topical procedures of dryer maintenance include always cleaning lint from the trap each time, before or after you put in a new load. The buildup of this fluffy material on the screen pushes more responsibility for air circulation to the filter, which overworks and doesn’t last long.
Besides replacing the filter, you should strive for an efficient device and all systems must work in tandem for best results. You’ll require tips to clean and maintain your dryer so that you won’t have to make frequent dryer filter changes. Researching companies can help you find affordable appliance repairs.
Frequent Cleaning of Lint Traps, Screens, and Filter
Other than wiping lint from your dryers trap or screen, you can machine wash or scrub many filters with warm soap and water for optimal cleaning. Remove the filter from its compartment, similar to when you’re replacing it, and perform the water droplet test we learned earlier.
If water beads instead of soaking through, give the filter a thorough wash before rinsing and replacing it.
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Cleaning or Replacing Dryer Vents and Ductwork
Homeowners should frequently inspect their dryer’s exhaust vents as often as possible, depending on the size of their household and the frequency of laundry activities. This system, including the extraction ductwork, accumulates a lot of lint, especially if you haven’t replaced your filter for a while.
A telltale sign of dryer vent clogging is when there is no sufficient exhaust air being blown out or when it takes two to three cycles to tumble dry, normal laundry loads. Another indicator of obstruction or poor ventilation is when the outer parts of your dryer are hotter than usual during its operation.
Maintaining your laundry dryer requires a balancing act since many components are delicate, and cleaning or replacing filters and vents may not improve efficiency. If your unit isn’t giving you the service efficiency, it’s time to schedule a dryer repair and maintenance check.
Once you’ve learned how often you should change the dryer filter, the next step is scheduling a maintenance check by a professional. A reputable HVAC technician can offer you advice and quickly evaluate what’s best for your device.