Maintain Your Clothes Dryer For Israeli Winters: Keep Off The Clothesline

I usually use the dryer only during the cold seasons. The Israeli spring and summer are amazing, and I don’t require the dryer during those months. Take it out, hang it up, that’s it – the sun and breeze take care of the rest. When I do use the electric dryer, I love putting on a pair of clothes immediately when they come out. As Bob Dylan said: “Oh, what a wonderful feeling”. All warm and toasty. Now that’s something that a clothesline can’t provide.

However, an appliance like a dryer can also come across issues which may incapacitate it. Sometimes it seems that all appliances are a blessing and a curse. When they’re functioning properly, all is well. But when they break down, they can be very disruptive to our daily routine. You have to admit that we’ve become dependent on the electrical grid in too many ways.

I agree that a dryer isn’t as essential an appliance as a stove or oven, for instance. For those of us who have a dryer at home, we have that option to dry the laundry quickly and thoroughly, without being dependent on the weather. This is’t just about the winter months either. A dryer can certainly be essential especially for larger families, even though it sometimes malfunctions or breaks down.

Common Issues

Mechanical control panel

Door gasket – Similar to other appliances such as a freezer or washing machine, a dryer also has a gasket, also known as a door sealer. When the seal is worn or torn, it won’t allow the door to close properly. In some cases, you could try re-arranging the gasket and simply place it back where it was. In more complex cases, where the gasket needs to be replaced, be sure to contact a professional.

Digital control panel – Also known as an electronic card. In more modern dryers, the card manages the device’s various components, according to the specific program. The card provides information on the machine’s functionality, and notifies the users of any issues. In the event that the card is malfunctioning, the dryer will not work. In this case, a certified technician must take out the card, examine it, and if necessary send it to a lab to have it fixed.

Mechanical control panel – Different buttons or dials could become loose or dislodged. You can attempt to fix this on your own, by fiddling with the loose button or dial, placing it back in its proper place using pressure. You could even use the dryer without the button, because – in most cases – the missing plastic case will not actually stop the dryer from working. Be sure not to use excessive force though. If there is no response from the machine or if the button or dial cannot be replaced, it’s best to just call a technician.

Heating element – There is a heating element which dries the clothing by raising the temperature inside the drum. When drying times are significantly lengthened or if the dryer vents air that is too cold or too hot, then assume there’s trouble with the heating element. Only a licensed technician is permitted to handle these issues.

Thermostat – The thermostat’s job is to monitor and regulate the heating element by heating or cooling the device according to the program chosen by the user. The heating element and thermostat are two parts of a single system – the heating system. This is why the signs of a malfunctioning thermostat are similar to those of a malfunctioning heating element. In this case, too, it is best to call for a professional in order to get the problem solved quickly and efficiently.

These are the most common issues, but they are certainly not the only ones. There are times when a dryer is working for hours during a laundry marathon and it’s putting in some serious overtime. The belt, the motor, the timer – all these things can cause a break down or other malfunctions.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance

Now that we have gone through the most well-known problems, we can talk about preventive maintenance. A dryer is an expensive device, with sensitive components, and no-one in looking to replace it after two years. One needs to know how to use and maintain the dryer, so that it may continue to function properly for years to come. In fact, most of the issues which we mentioned earlier can be solved by performing proper maintenance. Well, what are the primary parts which require attention?

Filter – This is the only component which requires constant care, ideally after every cycle is run. Fibers and dirt that come off our clothes are caught in the filter and it’s imperative to keep it clean. In the event that there is lint build-up, it can cause the dryer to malfunction or even start a fire. Once every few uses, it is even recommended to clean the filter’s housing.

Drum – While most of the lint is caught by the filter, some residue is always left behind in the machine’s drum. Be sure to clean out the drum once every few months, to ensure that no harm will come to it in the future.

Exhaust vent – This is the hose which expels hot air from the dryer, to the outside. Over time, there is a possibility that residue will also build up in the hose. It’s recommended that you clean the vent once every six months in order to ensure that no fibers or pieces will obstruct the proper function of the dryer.

Compared to other kinds of appliance, dryer maintenance does not require too much time or technical know-how. However, it must be done. While it is true that the filter is the only component which requires constant care, it is important to maintain the other parts of the dryer as well, at least once every few months. This will ensure the proper function of each part and keep it operating on an optimal level.

The Fallback

Hang your laundry

Even though I did say that a dryer can be essential, you need to remember that even if it does break down, you can always hang your laundry outside. Unlike other appliances, the sun and wind can do the same exact job.

Winter, spring, summer, or fall – take care of your dryer, ahead of time. That way, you will guarantee that no technician or electrician will have to come near it. This is not a trivial matter, rather a surefire way to save you hundreds, if not thousands, of shekels.

If this article from Efes Takalot was helpful to you, here are some more on air conditioning in Israel and oven maintenance!

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