I had plenty of things going on yesterday. The dogs were going to the groomer, to have their nails clipped and to get rid of the smells of all the gross things that they love to roll in. I had a visit planned with my friend, Judi. There was a package at the airport, mail to pick up at the Post Office and a couple items I needed from the store. I had class notes to go over, and materials to prepare. The focus of my day, though, was “The Big Dryer Project.”
It was way last spring when an ink pen leaped of its own accord out of the basket, that sits on top of the dryer for mismatched socks and miscellaneous items found in pockets, and dropped down the chute where the lint filter goes. I was emptying the lint filter at the time. The pen dropped all the way down and got stuck in the fan that keeps the air moving out the exhaust tube. I didn’t know that at the time. I only knew that whenever I tried to use the dryer, it made a huge racket sounding like it was about to take off, or break apart at the seams.
But, it was spring. The weather was fine. And I have a clothesline. I knew that eventually I’d have to deal with the dryer. But not immediately. So, over the course of the long summer, while drying clothes outside, I made my plans. I turned what was going to be a small – though daunting enough – project, taking the back panel off the dryer to find and remove the pen, into a big project. I decided that, since I had to pull the dryer out anyway, I should take that time to prime and paint the laundry room floor. I should also replace the elbow at the back of the dryer, and the flexible aluminum vent hose.
The bigger the project became, the easier it was to continue to put it off. Until rainy September. One week, my clothes hung on the line for eight days! The next week, it was even longer. I finally carried them in – damp – to finish drying while slung over the backs of my dining room chairs. And decided I could procrastinate no longer. Still, it took a few trips back and forth to the hardware to find the right bit to fit the hex head sheet metal screws in the back of the dryer. And assemble everything I needed: new aluminum elbow, hose clamps, flexible vent, primer and paint.
Finally, Sunday after work, I was ready to get started. After walking the dogs…writing my blog…making a couple phone calls…and fixing dinner. Shortly after dark, I started. First, there was the gigantic mound of laundry, gathered from over two weeks now, to move out of the way. I got a dish to hold the screws as I removed them, no time for searching for wayward hardware. The dryer had been unplugged for weeks, in anticipation of this job, so then it was only necessary to put it away from the wall.
Leaving a pathway through to the bathroom was a major consideration for every aspect of this job. The laundry room is a wide hallway leading to the bathroom. With closets built into one side, and the alcove for washer and dryer on the other, it becomes just a normal width hallway. When the laundry basket is on the floor – as it is whenever the washing machine is in use – it becomes an even narrower space. Quick access to the bathroom, at my age, is a necessity.
With the dryer pulled out into the room, it was easy to see the job at hand. First, I pulled off the existing vent and removed the PVC elbow. I removed the sheet metal screws one-by-one, then gently pulled off the the metal plate from the back of the dryer. There was the pen, firmly lodged between the blades of the fan. I managed to work it out of there without hurting anything, and replaced the back. I swept the floor and walls where the dryer goes, resulting in a gratifying mound of dryer lint. Midnight, I washed then primed that section of floor, and went to bed.
Monday, dogs to the groomers, then home to put a coat of paint on the floor. To town, for all my other running around, pick up the sweet-smelling but unhappy dogs, then home. With brand new hose clamps, I fastened the new aluminum elbow to the back of the dryer, then the flexible vent to the elbow, then the dryer could be pushed back into place. The most difficult part of the entire job was squeezing out from behind the dryer after plugging it in. Then,it was quick work to hook the other end of the flexible vet to the wall-hung contraption that catches the lint. Done! Now to the laundry! By the time I left to visit Judi, both washer and dryer were working just as they should be. Success!