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life span of a dryer

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Jun 03, 2013, 09:59 AM
life span of a dryer
I have a Maytag "atlantis" electric dryer which i bought in july 2001. So it will be 12 years old next month. We have been

using it all that time 2 or 3 times a week ever since. It still runs, it still generates heat. But over the last year, my wife has

been complaining that the dryer has been taking longer and longer time to dry the same basic load of stuff. Is there any

test (heating elements, perhaps?) i can perform to find out if something is wearing out, or needs to be replaced? or is it

nearing the end of its natural life span and is it simply time to buy another dryer? Thanks in advance.
Jun 03, 2013, 11:47 AM
maybe I shouldn't say anything, but we have a Kenmore drier that has to be about 30 + years old, and still going strong. I don't think Sears makes anything today that will last anymore.
That said, the reason for a drier taking a longer time to dry is usually a lint build up and not letting the humid air vent. but if that isn't the case, then the only thing left would be a burnt out element. The way to check it is to disconnect the wires to the element ( AFTER PULLING THE PLUG ) and check for continuity
You might also want to check the drier vent stack on the roof for a birds nest
Jun 03, 2013, 12:36 PM
A dryer needs to be cleaned periodically. Causes of prolonged drying can be excessive lint collecting in the vent within the dryer or in the vent connection to the outside. Our dryer was drying slow and I found the dryer vent was clogged. I now have a reminder in my calendar to check it every quarter.

If you are able, unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall, remove the vent line and using a vacuum cleaner vacuum out the line inside the dryer and make sure the line outside is clear. If the run to the outside is long you want to put in a metal duct instead of anything flexible for as much of the run as possible. You only want to tape the connections with foil duct tape (not the "Duck Tape" type cloth tape) Use no screws to hold it together they will capture lint that makes it past the filter. You don't want to use any plastic flexible vent lines.

Here is a useful site with some tutorials on the subject:

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Jun 03, 2013, 07:46 PM
Also...clean the lint screen under warm water and scrub it with dish soap then rinse clean. If you do or have in the past use softeners (either liquid or dryer sheets) this can form a wax on the lint screen itself.

To check for this, pour a bit of water over the screen. It should run through. If it tends to puddle or bead up, that is also what the damp air is doing.

I stopped using any softener or softener sheets about 8 years ago. Just not needed, and can cause issues with this and damp towels that stink.
Jun 03, 2013, 08:17 PM
Most dryer sheets are reputed to have a lot of chemicals as well. Just sniff one and you can tell that there's some kind of "fragrance" added.