Does Cleaning Your Dryer Filter Save You Money?

August 11, 2014

dryer-full-of-clothes

Remember in Science class when the teacher said, “Warm air can hold more moisture than cold or hot air”?

Yea, me neither.

But it’s true and it’s the reason why every day, people unwittingly throw away money every time they run their clothes dryer. Money that can add up to hundreds of dollars per year.

Luckily, the solution is so incredibly simple, it only takes you seconds to do, and if you do it every time you run your dryer, you could save hundreds of dollars per year too. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m of course talking about cleaning your dryer lint filter.

Work Smarter Not Harder

By neglecting to clean the dryer lint trap and ducts, you’re keeping that damp air in the dryer longer and lengthening your drying time. This does two things:

  • Waste electricity (by lengthening the drying time)
  • Increase the wear and tear on the dryer

A dryer typically works by pulling air over a heating element and into the dryer drum. As the air passes over the element it heats up, making it easier for water to evaporate from the clothes. When the air enters the drum, it passes over (and through) the clothes, picking up moisture before exhausting to the outside.

If you’ve ever opened the door to your dryer while it’s drying a load of laundry, you would’ve felt a rush of hot, damp air coming out of the dryer. This hot, damp air is full of moisture and is exactly what the dryer is working to get rid of.

 

Basic-Clothes-Dryer-Function

 

As you can see from the diagram above, if the lint screen(or lint filter) is plugged, most of the hot air gets trapped inside the drum and becomes saturated with water – to the point where it can’t pick up water any more. At this point, your dryer is basically running with no “drying action” happening at all. As a result, your dryer will works less efficiently, which means a higher electricity or gas bill for you and a potentially shorter lifespan for your dryer. Just by keeping the lint filter clean you increase the efficiency (and decrease the operating costs) of your dryer.

How To Clean the Lint Trap On A Dryer

Every clothes dryer made now comes with a lint filter built in. The location of it varies but it’s always in a spot that’s easy to access. Check your owners manual or on the manufacturer’s website to find the location.

Once you find the lint screen simply dump the lint from the filter into a garbage can and put it back in the dryer.

And no, you can’t just run the dryer without a lint filter. What happens then is that the lint builds up inside the dryer (where you can’t reach it) and blocks the exhaust. This, of course, results in the same problem and you’d have to take apart the whole dryer just to unplug the exhaust.

*NOTE: If you use fabric softener sheets when drying your laundry you’ll have more work to do. That’s because those softener sheets leave a waxy residue behind which coats the mesh of the filter, preventing air from passing through. You’d actually have to wash  the filter with warm soapy water and lightly scrub to remove that waxy build-up.

The same happens with the moisture sensors inside some of the newer dryers, which is why they recommend that you DO NOT use fabric softener sheets in their dryers.  The residue from the dryer sheets coats the sensors and interferes with their ability to measure the moisture properly properly. Use soapy water and a scrub lightly to remove any build up.

You should clean the filter every time you use the dryer, whether it’s before or after use. Doing so will help your dryer run efficiently and help lower your electrical bill and keep that dryer running for years to come.

 

 

Scrubbi is a residential cleaning company that cleans homes in major cities throughout Canada including Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

 

 

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