I have never been a fan of laundry. It has always taken way too long and sometimes I have packed up my car and taken my things to the laundromat because it was faster and easier to do it all at once. Well let me tell you, pretty much my entire life the problem wasn’t the laundry. It was complete ignorance of laundry processes. Mainly the amount of time a load should take to properly dry.
I am convinced all my troubles with laundry that took forever to complete was because of dirty dryer vents. This past week was the first time I have ever had a dryer vent cleaned. Yes, I am 41 and I am admitting I have never cleaned a dryer vent.
Two weeks ago our dryer crapped out. By crapped out I mean it got so hot that it finally just burned itself out. The timer finally went out and it ran and ran and ran, getting ridiculously hot. My oldest son alerted us to the fact that something didn’t smell right. At first we suspected a pot roast in the Crock Pot, but after about 15 minutes we were able to smell the burning smell that he had first detected. It was not the roast. It was the dryer.
The dryer was drastically hot to the touch and my husband unplugged it. The next day we plugged it back in but it never did restart. It was done. I have lived in this house for a little over two years. The entire time I have been here the dryer has taken a long time to dry clothes. I mean anywhere from 2 to 3 hours per load. This was not the first time I had experienced delayed drying times. In fact, my very first home took that long, and my second home (a different washer and dryer set) sometimes took 90 minutes to two hours. I just really thought that home dryer units took much longer than commercial units. I also thought it was odd that a home didn’t have 1 washers and 2 dryers since drying time was extraordinarily longer than washing times.
Well after our dryer died we bought a brand new set. My very first load took about two hours to dry. I was a little frustrated by this because I was so excited after reading the manuals and user reviews that stated it should be about 50 to 60 minutes to dry a load. So then I started looking into reasons that my experience was different. Lint filled dryer vents were mentioned multiple times. After debating this with my husband, who told me that he installed new venting more than a decade ago and had never cleaned it, I called a professional to come and clean it out. I couldn’t be home when they came. My mom stood by and watched the process for me. She sent me a picture via text at work. HOLY COW. It wasn’t just the lint that came out of the venting, but the saturated WET lint that was alarming.
All in all the debris filled half a kitchen trash can and weighed about 30 pounds. The first dryer load after the cleaning took 50 minutes. Today I completed 5 loads of laundry in record time. With 5 people living here and an adult daughter that still comes home to wash clothes I am here to attest that the poor dryer that preceded the current one was literally worked to death. I am convinced that had we diagnosed the venting as a problem a couple of years ago, that dryer would still be working.
Now why did I call this a Public Service Announcement (PSA) in the title? Because I just wanted to let you know how lucky I was that one of the times the dryer kept going (yes it was started before we went to bed on an occasion or two, and was still running when we woke up the next morning) that the dryer didn’t catch on fire and light up our entire home. Because that is a prime cause of house fires. So if you have been in your home for a couple years and have never had your dryer vents cleaned — do it. If you have noticed that the drying time has increased for your loads of laundry, get the vents checked! Please. Now that I know about this I will be more diligent to have them cleaned every couple of years.