If you are like me and are forbidden from hanging your clothes outside, on the patio of your apartment, then the next best way to save money from the clothes dryer is to keep the vents clean.
Clogged up vents cause your dryer to work harder to dry the clothes you have tossed in it, sometimes you have to run the dryer twice to get a load of clothes dried enough to hang up. Just taking the time to clean out these vents cuts down on the electricity costs of running a dryer twice to dry a load of laundry, but also keep the dryer from wearing out earlier. And let's not forget the peace of mind that the dryer won't cause a house fire. (news video)
Start with taking out the dryer vent and cleaning off the lint. Then wash of the filter under cold water with a brush or rag. The reason you want to wash the filter is to remove the film on the wire mesh that builds up from dryer sheets. The cleaner the filter, the dryer your clothes.
|flickr/cc - joanna8555|
Next, pull the dryer away from the wall and unhook the longer vent on the back. Using the wand from a vacuum, suck out any lint built up within the vent tubing and also from the vent that flows to the outside. If necessary, check the venting on the outside of your home and clean away any lint that has built up as it flowed to the outside.
So, keeping the lint filter clean is one simple way to increase the efficiency and lifespan (and decrease the operating costs) of your dryer. Just removing the lint from the filter isn't always enough & the fine mesh of most dryer filters can be clogged in ways that aren't obvious at a casual glance.
While you're at it, don't toss out the dryer lint, there are other uses for dryer lint, per Jeff Yeager (video) and remember, that lint you see is money out the vent, as much as $70,000!