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    How to properly maintain your dryer?

    How to properly maintain your dryer?Comment (3)

    Proper maintenance of household appliances prolongs their lifespan and limits breakdowns; we keep writing it. However, not everyone bothers to open the user manual for devices whose operation seems simple. For example, your dryer, are you sure you maintain it well?

    While some shout at household appliances that are "less solid than before", no longer necessarily "made to last", or even shout at planned obsolescence, for our part, we start by advising you to choose well and to maintain it well. Because one thing is certain: many household appliances see their lifespan cut short due to poor maintenance. Household appliances undoubtedly suffer from their "easy" and "dumb" aspect to use and many users have skipped reading the instructions for use. Indeed, what could be simpler than a refrigerator that you just have to plug in or a vacuum cleaner, which you think you just have to change the bag or empty the collector... As for the dryer linen, in which we are interested today, its maintenance is poorly known. Here are some keys to maintaining it and preserving its performance over time. And a point on the risks incurred in the event of poor maintenance.

    As in the case of washing machines, dishwashers or more generally appliances whose interior may be damp, it is better to leave the door ajar to avoid the formation of bad smells.

    The lint filter(s)

    After each use, it is necessary to empty the fluff filter. Indeed, if the dryer has a bad reputation, known - wrongly - to damage the linen, it is because it detaches fibers from the textiles - already detached by the washing elsewhere - and collects them in its filter to fluff. Installed at the edge of the drum, it recovers most of the textile fibers harvested during the drying cycle. Some filters are doubled, or even double, which then requires cleaning two containers instead of one.

    The fluff filter is placed at the inlet of the drum. 

    It is recommended to eliminate the largest by hand first. Then, you can finalize the cleaning with a vacuum cleaner, to remove the finer fibers. Finally, some manufacturers recommend washing the filter under lukewarm water when it is very dirty or clogged – this is for example the advice given by Siemens on its site. To check, we recommend leafing through the user manual of the model you own. In the case where such an accessory is placed under water, care must be taken to allow it to dry thoroughly before putting it back in place. 

    Lots of lint is collected after each cycle.

    Caution, when cleaning the fluff filter, care must be taken that dust and fluff do not enter the air passage duct (at the location of the filter). If you ever have to wash your filter and let it dry, it may be a good idea to leave the dryer door closed during this time. 

    The condensate collector

    As a reminder, there are two types of dryers: vented and condenser. On the market, there are almost only those of the second category.

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    If you still have a vented model, a drain pipe guides the moisture removed from the fibers to the outside of your home.

    On the other hand, in the case of a condenser dryer, as its name suggests, the device condenses the moisture removed, to collect it in liquid form in a tank. Usually located at the top left of the device – where there are detergent drawers on a washing machine –, more rarely at the bottom, it must be emptied after each use as well.

    Some models on the market (particularly Siemens) have a filter placed in the condensation water tank. It retains the residual fibres, normally evacuated during the emptying of the water collector. However, it is necessary to wash this filter more thoroughly from time to time. It is not necessary to do this at each oil change (after each drying).

    Filter in the condensate collector on a Siemens model.

    Condensation models to be connected to a drain

    Among the top-of-the-range dryers, some can be connected directly to a water drain — among these, some references are delivered with the appropriate hose, others are compatible and all you have to do is obtain this accessory. For users who have an available drain not too far from the location of their dryer, making such a connection exempts them from emptying the condensation water collector. This can therefore be very practical, avoiding a maintenance operation which is carried out after each cycle. 

    Note: when choosing a dryer, many models have indicator lights reminding the user of maintenance actions when they are needed. It is always practical to benefit from this kind of reminders and we advise you to favor such a dryer.

    The condenser

    It is usually placed at the bottom left, behind a hatch. It is recommended to clean it every 5 to 7 drying cycles - so it varies according to the frequency of use, but count about twice a month. Depending on the dryer, the condenser can be removed in the form of a cassette or remains fixed in the device (this is the case for example of the condenser of the Electrolux EHD2TDW). If the condenser is "fixed", any lint and dust in it can be removed with a vacuum cleaner.

    Condenser from the Electrolux EHD3989TDW, which does not dislodge.

    In the case of the condensers which can be dislodged, they can be completely or partially cleaned under water, using a hand shower. If we take the example of the condenser of the Samsung DV90K6000CW, it dislodges, but only the filter that it embeds can be cleaned under water. 

    Samsung Samsung DV90K6000CW condenser, whose filter is washable.

    If we take the example of another dryer being tested in our test laboratory, the Electrolux EDP2075GDW, it has a condenser that must be completely under water. Here again, it is better to consult the instructions for use of your device to adapt its cleaning. 

    Self-cleaning models

    Some models from Siemens have a self-cleaning condenser. It is automatically rinsed several times during each cycle and not accessible to the user. These models therefore require no maintenance of the condenser.

    Siemens model with self-cleaning condenser.

    The drum, the seal and the hygrometry probes

    It is possible to clean the inside of the drum from time to time, when it is very dry, with a vacuum cleaner, to get rid of any remaining fluff. It can also be cleaned with a damp, slightly soapy sponge. You should also remember to clean the seal installed between the porthole and the drum (sometimes located on the door, sometimes at the entrance to the porthole). This rubber part does not fail to catch many fibers and fluff. 

    The condition of a seal after a few cycles.

    Inside the drum, most washing machines have humidity sensors; this is what allows them to lengthen or shorten the drying time depending on the condition of the laundry. These probes can become covered with a film of limescale, possibly detergent residues, hindering their operation. They should be cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge, avoiding abrasive textiles. 

    The control panel and the shell

    Finally, the exterior parts must also be maintained, like those of any household appliance. The control panel and the shell of the dryer can be cleaned regularly with a damp sponge or cloth (again, avoid "aggressive" fabrics). A little soap can be added, provided detergents are avoided. 

    What are the risks in the event of poor maintenance?

    In the long term, poor maintenance can lead to breakdowns. But more directly, and well before the breakdown, a poorly maintained dryer provides less good drying performance. It also tends to heat up and consume far more electricity than necessary. For that alone, we have everything to gain by properly maintaining this device, the maintenance of which is quite demanding. 

    Are there fire risks? 

    News items sometimes report cases of fires caused by clothes dryers. We therefore surveyed a number of manufacturers to find out whether these appliances were more prone to this type of risk than other large household appliances. The question may be legitimate when we know that the operation consists of drying textiles by enclosing them in a drum in which hot air circulates. Especially since according to the measurements we have been able to make, if the temperature in the drum of models using a heat pump does not rise excessively (about fifty degrees), it rises much more in the drum of dryers - resistance laundry (up to a hundred degrees).

    But above all, in relation to the maintenance issues that concern us, it seemed important to us to know whether poor maintenance can cause or encourage such a domestic accident. Hard to find the answer! Some manufacturers (such as Beko and Samsung), believe that the dryer does not present a particular risk compared to other household appliances. On the side of Siemens and Bosch, likewise, it is estimated that there is no evidence to suggest "that it is a family more at risk than the others".

    On the other hand, we would nevertheless advise the greatest caution. Indeed, in the user manual for the Siemens iQ500 WT47W460F (on page 9), we still find the following passage: "Residues left in the lint sieve may catch fire during drying, or even cause fire or explosion of the appliance. Thoroughly clean the lint screen each time the appliance is used to dry laundry". Something to strongly encourage you to take care of your dryer! 

    Finally, another manufacturer, Whirlpool, has experienced some setbacks with certain dryers of brands that are part of its group (Hotpoint, Hotpoint-Ariston, Indesit and Proline), marketed before the takeover of these brands. In the official statement from Whilrpool, it is written that "if the appliances are not modified, in rare cases, excess lint may come into contact with the heating element of the appliance, which may present a fire hazard". 

    So in the end, even if you don't have to be alarmist and remember the terms "risk" and the rarity of this type of case, the precautionary principle requires you to scrupulously take care of the maintenance of your dryer. when you have one. 

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