How Often Should You Clean The Dryer Vent

how often should you clean the dryer vent image

Can you still remember the last time you checked and cleaned the lint filter on your dryer? How about your dryer vent? Are you even aware they need maintenance? If your answer is no, then it is time to clean your dryer vent.

Laundry can be tiresome. And it’s no brainer that you may overuse your washing machine or dryer to their breaking point. However, it is vital to clean your dryer vent. If you can’t do it, then it’s best to hire a dryer vent cleaning service. That clogged dryer vent you took for granted for a few seasons can cost you a fortune. It consumes more energy since your dryer doesn’t perform well when it is congested. What’s alarming is that dryer fires are the leading cause of house fires. Find out the whys and hows of cleaning your dryer vent in today’s article.

Why Should You Clean The Dryer Vent

The US Fire Administration reports around 2,900 clothes dryer fires incidents each year. The tragedy accounts for an estimated 100 injuries, five deaths, and a whopping $35 million in property loss. The agency also highlighted that a clogged dryer vent is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. Most of the cases occur during the fall and winter months. The statistics get worse come January.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) also released a report on dryer fires in 2017. The NFPA said that from 2010 to 2014, US fire departments reported an average of 15,970 homes that caught fire because of clothes dryers. During the incidents, the highly flammable items that ignited were dust and lint accounting for 26% of the total.

Aside from the fire hazards, you save energy bills when you clean your dryer vent. Lint build-up causes your dryer to work twice as hard. A dryer vent duct needs to be checked regularly to increase the dryer’s efficiency. Indeed, regular dryer vent cleaning causes the appliance to consume less energy during the dry cycle.

You also extend the life of your dryer when you clean the lint in your dryer vent. By doing this, the machine doesn’t overheat and is less likely to break down.

Your dryer ducts collect dirt and other debris. When you have your dryer vents cleaned, it is unlikely that dust will blow into your home. Hence, it can save your household members from any allergens.

How Often Should You Clean Dryer Vents 

dryer vent being cleaned with a round brush and a pile of lint on the floor

You have to clean your dryer vent at least once a year. It’s also best to hire a dryer vent cleaning professional to inspect or maintain it. However, there are some factors you need to consider that would require you to clean your dryer every six months.

If you have never cleaned your vent duct, the amount of dirt inside might shock you. Here are some reasons why your dryer may be accumulating more lint:

  • If you frequently use dryer sheets or fabric softener, you may be accumulating more lint in your dryer. These laundry essentials may also clog your dryer vents quickly.
  • Having a large family size also contributes to increased lint accumulation in the dryer vent. A family with four children has more loads of laundry to wash compared to a small household.
  • One of the liabilities of having fur babies is pet hair on clothes. Pet hair gets stuck in the dryer filter often and causes a clogged dryer vent. If you are a fur parent, you should always vacuum your house and clean that dryer lint trap every after use.
  • You probably noticed that your lint trap is always full when your laundry load consists of beddings or towels. These items produce lint that gets clogged in the dryer vent duct. Hence, it’s best to clean the lint trap every time you wash your towels and sheets.
  • If you are buying new clothes often, then you should always clean your dryer vent. Newly purchased clothes produce more lint compared to old ones.

How Do You Know When Your Dryer Vent Needs Cleaning

Here are telltale signs that your dryer vent needs cleaning:

  1. Doing your load of laundry takes more time than usual.
  2. You can catch a whiff of a burning smell coming from your dryer while you are using it.
  3. Your clothes and dryer feel hot to the touch after drying.
  4. The vent hood flap does not open properly.
  5. You get an excessive amount of lint build-up every time you clean the lint trap vent.
  6. There is a noticeable debris build-up around the dryer hose.
  7. It has been over a year since your dryer vent has been inspected.

What To Expect During A Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning Service

dryer vent being professionally cleaned

Dryer vent cleaning does not just involve removing dirt from the clogged dryer vent and filter. Other things need to be checked and cleaned. While the do-it-yourself (DIY) method is a common thing today, you might still need a professional dryer vent cleaning expert. An annual appointment with a dryer vent cleaning specialist can save energy bills and prevent potential house fires.

Below is a step by step process on what to expect from a professional dryer vent cleaning expert:

Step 1: They first inspect the dryer vent opening. It involves going outside and inspecting the dryer ducts thoroughly.

Step 2: They would then clear any obstacles. All the dirt, debris, leaves, and pet hair accumulated on the outside dryer vent are removed. The hot air pushed from the dryer goes through these pipes. The air then escapes through the dryer ducts on the wall of your house outside.

Step 3: Lint and other debris that has accumulated on the entire length of the vents are taken out.

Step 4: Then they clean the area behind the dryer.

Step 5: The final step involves cleaning the dryer lint trap and the dryer drum thoroughly.

DIY Dryer Vent Cleaning

Cleaning your dryer vent duct is one of the simple things you can do to improve the air quality in your home and reduce your risk of having a house fire. However, it is best to take some precautions. 

Should you prefer to clean your vent ducts, you will be needing these materials:

  • Vacuum cleaner and air blower
  • Crevice vacuum with chisel attachment
  • Brush kit
  • Dryer vent cleaning kit
  • Can of air duster and dusting cloths
  • Power drill
  • Gloves, mask, and trash bag
  • Appliance cleaning attachments
  • Tools: screwdriver (flat and Phillips), pliers, wrench 
  • Foil duct tape

DIY Steps on Cleaning Your Dryer Vent At Home

vacuuming a flexible dryer vent hose
  1. Unplug the appliance before cleaning it.
  2. Take out the lint trap screen and scrape away any trapped lint.
  3. Using a vacuum hose attachment, remove any debris that may be stuck within the mesh.
  4. You can also scrub the mesh with a dryer brush before you vacuum it again.
  5. Remove the lint trap.
  6. Sweep inside the lint trap vent using a dryer brush with a long handle.
  7. Vacuum the vent exterior.
  8. Pull the dryer away from the wall. Doing this will provide enough space for you to remove the dryer duct.
  9. Vacuum any visible debris in your laundry room. Then go behind and under your washing machine and dryer. 
  10. Carefully detach the large flexible duct that you can see from the back of the dryer.
  11. Vacuum what you can see from the dryer duct.
  12. Check the outside vent to make sure that no debris clogs it.
  13. Use your vacuum, air blower, and lint brush to remove any lint that may be blocking the exterior vent.

In Conclusion

Properly cleaning your lint trap vent at least once a year decreases your chance of fire hazards. Moreover, you are extending and maximizing the use of your dryers. Doing this also reduces any airborne allergens at home. You can clean your dryer vents at home. However, it is still best to ask for help from a professional dryer vent cleaning service to check any problems with your appliance.

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