Most people never give it a second thought. You don’t need it until you really need it. What is it? Dryer vent cleaning.
If the airflow is restricted due to a clogged vent, poisonous exhaust gasses can back up into your home.
And then there’s the issue of lint, a highly flammable substance.
34% of fires are caused by dryer lint accumulating and not being cleaned out, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
What Happens When a Dryer Vent is Blocked?
Clogged dryer vents can contribute to devastating and costly scenarios:
- Higher utility bills. Impaired energy performance means more effort is being made from your dryer, driving up your energy bills each month.
- Decreased lifespan. Because your dryer is working hard to compensate for the blockage, its lifespan declines, forcing you to eventually pay for a new unit.
- House fires. Lint is easy to set a flame on and should be disposed of regularly. Otherwise, you run the risk of a potential house fire, as mentioned earlier.
- Pests. Little critters like mice are looking for soft, warm spaces to habitat and build nests. Lint and dust offer the perfect environment.
Warning Signs that You Need Your Dryer Cleaned ASAP
Don’t remember the last time you cleaned your ducts? Schedule a dryer vent cleaning service from professionals to help keep you and your family safe.
And, before you do, always watch closely for these signs.
1. Longer drying cycles
It’s taking longer and longer to dry your clothes, bed sheets, and towels. It’s getting annoying. Not only that, the entire room feels hot and humid. This is because the air is prevented from circulating due to the debris stuffed in your vent.
2. Burning smells
No. You’re not having a stroke. It’s probably the dryer, especially if there’s a strong, musty smell due to the humidity. If you smell something burning, the lint has already sparked from the heat.
It’s important to get your dryer cleaned by a professional immediately.
3. Dryer is hot to touch
The clothes aren’t getting dry, but the dryer is overheating. Congested or clogged dryer vents prevent heat from being transferred out. As a result, the dryer is incredibly hot to the touch.
The issue doesn’t always have to be clogged vents. It could be a broken heating element, a damaged thermistor, or a ventilation block. It’s important to have a professional inspect your dryer to determine the root cause and best solution.
4. Visible lint or debris build-up
Lint, dust, and debris are piling up fast – all over the place. It’s hard to ignore and easier to spot as it billows out of the external vent and protrudes from your internal duct tubing.
Signs like these are obvious, but ensuring your vent is blocked isn’t.
How can you test to make sure a vent is really blocked?
The Dryer Vent Blockage Test
Put your hand on top of the dryer. If it’s hot to the touch, you have a clogged vent.
If the dryer is heating, but you notice that it takes over 55 minutes to dry a load of laundry, you’ve probably got a clog in the vent.
Lastly, look to see if you have excess lint on your clothes. That’s a telltale sign.
How to Clean Out Your Dryer Vent (7-Step DIY Guide)
It’s highly recommended that a professionally trained and certified duct cleaning specialist take care of this for you. Why?
Hiring a pro helps you to A.) avoid any potential damage to your duct and B.) guarantee a thorough cleaning.
You can technically clean the exterior part of your dryer vent yourself.
Here are seven logical steps to cleaning your dryer vent:
- Find the outer vent
- Unplug the dryer’s hookups
- Unscrew the outer vent grill and vent cover
- Use a bristle brush to clean the inside area
- Use a small shop vac to suction out the lint
- Wash the vent cover with soap and water (dry it off)
- Screw the vent grill back on its original spot
It’s a good rule of thumb to have your dryer vents inspected and cleaned by a professional NADCA-licensed company at least once a year.
If you use your dryer frequently, you might need to do it twice a year or even once a quarter (in extreme cases).