Make your tumble dryer last a lifetime

A blocked filter will reduce your dryer’s air circulation and extend the amount of time it takes to dry clothes, meaing more power consumption. — dpa

Tumble dryers are a godsend for households with lots of laundry, but they can also be an expensive burden if you neglect them – the most reliable way to make them use more electricity and, ultimately, break down.

To start, you need to get into the habit of cleaning it. Clothing detergents in combination with hard water can deposit a fine coating on the inside of a tumble dryer.

Wiping the dryer’s interior surfaces with a damp cloth will remove any residue, household appliance experts will tell you. This should also include seals on the inside of the dryer’s door.

Regularly check and clean the dryer’s lint filter to remove any dust and clothing particles. A blocked filter will reduce air circulation and extend the amount of time it takes to dry clothes, meaning more power consumption.

If you own a condenser dryer, you will need to remove and clean the heat exchanger several times a month. It might sound complicated, but it’s usually something you can handle on your own by following the instructions in the manual.

Typically, you can use a vacuum cleaner or brush to carefully remove any visible dust. The dryer’s base filter should also be cleaned several times a month as well.

Keep power usage down

If you want to reduce the amount you’re spending on tumble drying your clothes, then it pays to take a look at what spin cycle setting you’re cleaning them.

Set your wet clothes to spin at 1,400 revolutions per minute instead of 800 and you’ll reduce the amount of power your dryer needs to burn up by around 30%, according to Germany’s Household Appliances initiative.

This is because clothes have less residual moisture on them when they come out of a faster spin cycle.

You can save more energy costs by cleaning out the dryer’s filter after each cycle. Otherwise, a clogged air filter will lead to a longer drying time by reducing the air circulation.

However, if you have a new dryer, you probably won’t need to clean out the filter quite so often, and manufacturers say it’s enough to check it after every 20 cycles or so.

If you’re investing in a new dryer, buying one together with the washer is often a good deal.

However, technology has changed in the last 15 years, so you may not want to want to buy an old secondhand model. An old exhaust air dryer sometimes consumes five times as much energy as newer models.

Cold weather outside shouldn’t be your only reason to use a tumble dryer, and taking damp clothes out of the washing machine and hanging them outside to dry in the middle of cold days actually works, illogical though it may sound.

You do need dry air so that your clothes will dry, say the laundry experts from the Germany’s Forum Waschen organisation, a consumer awareness campaign specialising in washing tips. – dpa

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