How to Clean Dryer Vents
There is a simple way to benefit your household significantly that you may not know about! It’s something extremely important and yet entirely overlooked by a majority of people. This “secret” is a way to save money, save time, and most importantly, protect your family and your home. Here it is: You need to clean dryer vents at least once a year.
Why is it so important to get a dryer vent cleaned?
How can something so simple make such a vital difference? Well, here’s some background about dryer vents: Air is sent into your dryer, heated up to dry the clothes, and then the air needs a place to exit. That is the purpose of the vent: to provide a means of escape for hot, moist air. As long as nothing blocks its way, the air travels through the vent, then outside through the exhaust duct. Unfortunately, things do often get in the way. The main issue is lint (fibers or debris from the laundry). When a dryer runs, lint always separates from the clothes. While a lint screen does catch most lint, some travels into the vent with the hot air. Lint builds up, congesting the dryer vent and duct. That means the air passes through much slower than it should.
Problems poor ventilation causes:
Your dryer is having difficulty ridding itself of moisture. Therefore, it can’t dry the clothes efficiently. It will take more cycles than it normally would to fully dry your clothes. So first of all, this costs you extra money. Every time the dryer runs a new cycle, you are losing between forty and seventy cents!
Not only do extra cycles cost you extra money. Extra cycles also waste your time. Doing laundry is a hassle. You want to be done with it as soon as possible, right? You want to move on with your day. Well, a slow dryer makes that difficult.
Now, the most important reason to keep your dryer clean is safety. The fact is, lint build-up can be extremely dangerous. Lint is a particularly combustible material. When air is trapped in the dryer and heat accumulates, there is a risk of the lint catching on fire. According to the United States Fire Administration, 34% of clothes dryer fires are caused by the failure to clean dryer vents! And as reported by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are on average 15,500 clothes dryer fires per year. Thus, 5,270 of those fires are caused by failure to clean out dryer vents!
Lint is not the only thing that can clog up the air’s passageway. Little animals like to make their homes in the warm, cozy quarters of the tube outside. It’s not unusual that a bird will even build a nest inside it!
Along with fire risks, poor ventilation in your dryer threatens your safety in other ways. One is the forming of mold from lint build-up. Mold in the home can be detrimental to your health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says “For the most part, one should take routine efforts to prevent mold growth in the home.”
More dangerous is the possible exposure to carbon monoxide, which is highly toxic. The Chimney Safety Institute of America notes that if ventilation is blocked in your dryer, carbon monoxide gas has no way to exit. Therefore, it’ll infiltrate your household and threaten your health.
It is clear that clean dryer vents are absolutely necessary. In fact, a clean dryer vent can save your life! Here are ways to keep your dryer vent spick and span, as well as other ways to ensure your safety.
How to Keep Clean Dryer Vents:
- Before or after EVERY cycle, clear out the lint screen. Pull out any and all of the lint that is clinging to it. 60% of lint from your clothes is caught by the screen, so it is crucial that is frequently emptied. Keep your eye out for lint throughout the whole interior of the dryer; it’s possible that some has been caught in random places. Also, make sure you never run the dryer without the screen in place!
- Check the exhaust duct outside. Watch it while the dryer is running; you should see exhaust air flowing out. If not, there is a blockage. With a long vent brush, swish the inside of the exhaust duct through the outside portal. Even if you do see air exiting the exhaust duct, clean it just in case there’s any blockage.
- To further clean out your exhaust duct, unplug your dryer and pull it out from the place where it sits. (Note: this tip might not apply to you, depending on the structure and placing of your ducting. If you aren’t sure how to detach and reattach the ventilation, call someone who does. Using a screwdriver, detach the hose from the exhaust duct. Use the vent brush to pull out all the gathered lint. Also, take out the lint screen from inside the dryer and clean out that space in the dryer with the brush. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of this on your own, please call The Furnace Man Ohio to do it for you.
- While your dryer is still unplugged, sweep up any dust, lint or dirt that has gathered in its area. This could be on the floor or on the walls. Also, check the back of the dryer. The goal is to have a completely lint-free area for your dryer. Push your dryer back to its spot and plug it in when you’re finished cleaning.
- Your exhaust duct should be metal rather than plastic. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly recommends a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct because it provides the best airflow.
- The National Fire Administration gives these helpful tips: (1) Don’t leave your dryer on when you leave the house or when you go to bed. In other words, try to be around when your dryer is running, to make sure it’s running securely. (2) Be sure your dryer is plugged in properly and that everything is connected correctly. If you are unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to call a professional to inspect!
The professionals at The Furnace Man Ohio can clean your Dryer Vents
Remember, safety is the first priority in any household. Do everything you can to ensure safety. Dryer vents and ducts are almost completely hidden, which makes them easy to overlook or forget. Mark your calendar to remind yourself to clean it or to have The Furnace Man Ohio professionals 937-427-4105 clean it—at least once a year. We service Dayton Ohio and the surrounding areas.