Monday, January 18, 2010

Cleaning the Dryer

I recently received this email from a dear friend, and then promptly had my own dear husband take our dryer apart to clean it. It took about 30 minutes start to finish, and I feel much more at ease.

Just a quick note to tell a story straight from the "our" home.
I have been away from home for several weeks, returning home the day before Thanksgiving. As all of you moms know, that means my laundry is terribly behind. The stacks are almost as tall as I am! (Not joking!) And, everyone knows that this is a recipe for disaster. Of course, the dryer broke and those many loads of laundry sat there, mocking me! So we called the repairman, who makes calls to our area only once a week. We definitely live in the middle of nowhere!

He showed up yesterday, and all I could think about was getting to the ever growing mountains of laundry. So much to do. It's Christmas time, we have school to do, I STILL have unpacking to do from moving to our new home a year ago.... the list is always growing. And then he showed me my dryer.

Our dryer's heater went out, but that wasn't the amazing part. It was full of lint, absolutely full (which is a surprise, because I vacuum the thing out very often)I am not talking about the lint trap being full. The whole underside of the dryer was full. At least 3 inches of it, layered on everything, the wires, doo-dads and gizmos. (Yuck!) But that still isn't the amazing part.

After several expressions of surprise and shock (what fun to hear) and even a gasp, the repairman pointed out that the lint was heavily scorched. In the heater, along the front, and even in the plastic vent tube that leads to the outside. Lint is very flammable. It doesn't scorch, it ignites. When it does, it causes a flash fire that ignites the house- usually starting with the plastic vent tubing. It burns so hot and so fast and it happens in an instant. The repairman was surprised because we still have a house. He said it should have caught fire when it scorched. And he said that my dryer is the worst he has ever seen (what an honor for me!) He could not understand why it didn't burn, said it over and over again.

But we know why. God put those fires out before they could start. He protected our family from a loss that I cannot begin to wrap my mind around. We live 30 minutes away from everything. There would have been nothing left. If we had been asleep, it might have been even worse.

All of a sudden, all of those things that were pulling at me, all the jobs I had to see to, just were not so important. God had intervened on the behalf of our family and I saw it clearly.

SO..... Please join us in prayers of thanksgiving and praise for the protection that God has given us. I can't believe how He sees to all of the details and wonder how many times we have been so protected without ever knowing it! Some may say it's coincidence, or luck. They just don't know the care our Lord takes in preserving us.

AND..... Please clean out your dryers with a vacuum. Unplug it first!! Open the panels and clean it out. Yes, it's a pain. It will take time, but much less than cleaning up after a fire! (Besides, you don't want a repairman at YOUR house one day telling you this is the worst he has EVER seen!) And install a metal duct instead of the plastic one for venting to the outside. They will not ignite and burn. All lessons learned.

Time to add another chore to your Honey-do list!


Nel said...

Thank you for sharing this!

Terri said...

Wow! Thank you for posting that, Tracy. That is a wonderful reminder and one I haven't thought of at all!

50s Housewife said...

We clean out our duct (metal) fairly often but it's never occurred to me to take the dryer apart and clean it! Wow!

Tracy said...

This is yet another reason why I rarely use my dryer. In fact, it is Dh who will use it from time to time in winter....I hate the thing.

amulbunny said...

Our 22 year old dryer finally gave up the ghost and we got a new one about a month ago. We use our mini shop vac to clean out the lint trap. In our last house the vent went through the wall over the ceiling and then out, and when it got clogged, we had a heck of a time getting it cleared. Now the vent pipe is only 2 feet so it's a lot easier.

Thanks for sharing the story.

randi said...

yep, i think we need to do this! it has been years!


Lindsey said...

YIKES!! Thank you for posting this! This is definately something that my beloved and I will get done right away!!

Kelly said...

Thank you for this post. I didn't know all of this, but, apparently my husband did because when I shared with him he said that's why he's cleaned the dryer out several times. And, we do have a metal duct.