Monday, April 11, 2011

A Lesson Learned

How to Ruin Your Expensive Appliances???  This title grabbed my attention as I was surfing the blogosphere.  “Wha??? I thought…. I must certainly read this article,” Was my exact thought.  I mean, who in their right mind has money to burn and the inclination to ruin a lovely high dollar appliance??  Clever caught my attention!  The article appears courtesy of The Readers Digest, by way of Yahoo Shine, in the Financially Fit feature. It is a great summary of ways to prolong the life of your household appliances.  Lots of note-worthy tips, which I’ll be sure to mention after I share my first-hand account of my real life dryer drama! 
Once upon a time ago, the Mr. and I decided it was time to replace our washer and dryer.  We wanted to replace some of those big ticket items before we embarked on OPERATION “stay-at-home-mom, one income family.”  We did our research and chose a wonderful LG washer and dryer.  They were state-of-the-art, and energy efficient, not to mention a lacquered cherry red!  (Love that color)!  Anyway, we purchased them in 2008.  I can remember the first night we had them. We sat in front of the washer as it did its load sensing magic.  We were both mesmerized.  Since then laundry has been, dare I say…enjoyable?  Why yes, thanks to LG....that is, until this year.  I started noticing quite a while ago that our dryer was not drying well and it sure seemed to take forever.  I was beginning to think I was crazy.  I knew the washer was supposed to be super energy efficient to make up for the lack of energy efficiency in the dryer, but something was not adding up in this equation.    About the time I thought about calling an appliance repair person, I noticed a burning smell.  Well, I bet you can guess the rest.  Long story short, we had a mini-fire in our dryer.  Why you might ask????  As it turned out, our dryer was completely clogged with lint.  Oh sure, I cleaned the filter after each load.  I even used my vacuum cleaner attachment in the lint compartment.  What I didn’t know is that our dryer’s vent and hose traveled all the way up to our roof and the cap at the roof level was not adequate for air to circulate.  Our dryer had to work ridiculously hard on little air supply.  No wonder I found myself drying the same load of laundry multiple times.  Upon reflection, I am not sure what’s worse, the fact that the vent had not been cleaned in almost twenty years and three home owners, or the fact that we found burnt dryer lint in the dryer drum???  Fortunately, everything worked out just fine.  It took a professional cleaning of not only the dryer, but also the dryer vent and hose.  We also had the cap replaced on the roof.  In most cases, it is too difficult to clean the vent and hose without an apparatus. Now that everything is clean and in proper working order, I am amazed at how quickly clothes dry.  Dare I say it???   I LOVE doing laundry AGAIN!!!
Now, back to that clever article,   How to Ruin Your Expensive Appliances:  Here are a few tips to remember when using your washer and DRYER:
Washing Machines-
Make sure you check pockets on your clothing and remove any coins or metal objects as they could damage the inner drum or outer tub.  This could result in torn clothing or even leaks in your outer-tub.  Avoid washing anything with heavy metal fasteners and always check pockets.  Also, make sure you don’t overload your washer.  This could accelerate the wear and tear on your washing machine and its internal parts. 
Clothes Dryers-
Clean out the excess lint after each load.  Any build-up of lint reduces the air flow, thus making your dryer work harder.  Take it from me, it is worth the cost to have a once a year professional cleaning.  Even if you clean your dryer’s lint trap, it is super difficult to clean the vent and hose on your own.  We used a chimney sweep to clean ours.  Knowing what we do now, it was worth the money spent. 
There you have it, TEAM-PRZADA fans….with a little preventative maintenance; you can keep your appliances in good working condition.  This can protect your investment and in some cases, save you money in the long run.  Check back for more money and sanity saving appliance tips next month, and a preventative maintenance checklist for homeowners. 

Vendor of the Month-
Hales Chimney Cleaning and Repair
Not only does Hale’s clean and repair chimneys, but they also specialize in dryer vent cleaning.  “Damp lint collects inside clothes dryer vents, causing extended drying time and extra wear and tear to your appliance. Birds also find these warm, cozy vents and nest, blocking the entire flow of exhausting air. In worse cases, the dryer motor or heating element can overheat and cause a fire. Keeping these vents clean and lint free will improve the performance of your dryer.”