Whether gas- or electric-powered, clothes dryers are among the most popular household appliances. Their invention forever changed the face of laundry. What was once a dreaded task, involving bending, stretching, and carrying heavy loads of wet clothes out to the backyard clothesline, clothes drying was simplified into placing the laundry into a big cylinder and pushing a button.
Dryer Life Expectancy
The average residential dryer, whether gas- or electric-powered, is expected to last approximately 13 years. This figure is based on average use, routine maintenance. and following the dryer usage specifications found in the user manual.
Ways to Extend the Dryer’s Life
Routine maintenance is imperative. This includes cleaning the lint filter after every use, cleaning the exhaust line, and keeping the vent free of dust, fleece, and debris. It's important to have a properly designed vent for maximum performance. Special tools are available at hardware stores to facilitate cleaning the exhaust line. Avoiding dryer overload and making sure clothes are properly spun (and not dripping wet) before putting them into to the dryer also adds years to the life of your dryer.
Repair or Replace?
Appliance manufacturers will inevitably suggest replacing appliances at the first hint of a problem; new sales are vital to their existence. In reality, there are some repairs that are simple and relatively inexpensive compared to replacing an appliance. Dryers are no exception to this rule.
The best way to determine when to replace or repair a dryer is to have an appliance professional you can trust provide advice. A trusted, experienced repair person knows when a part and its cost are worth the trouble and can provide guidance regarding when it's time to bite the bullet and buy a new dryer.
In lieu of personalized trusted counsel, logic must be used. If the dryer cost $200 new and it is seven years old, it would be difficult to decide whether or not to spend $100 to repair it. The dryer is a bit past middle age and has other aging parts. However, if a replacement unit now costs $300, the call is difficult. The best decision would be based on finding out how long the replaced part is expected to function coupled with considerations about the current overall performance of the dryer.
New vs. Refurbished Replacement Parts
Another consideration in appliance repair is whether to use new or refurbished/rebuilt parts. Some parts are only available new; however, some are available at considerable savings when they are rebuilt or refurbished. Before deciding, research consumer feedback on the part you are considering and/or talk to an appliance professional who can provide an informed and unbiased opinion.
Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.