How Often Should Dryer Vents be Cleaned?

24 Jan, 2021 / Comments: Comments Off on How Often Should Dryer Vents be Cleaned? / By


Not a lot of people give much thought to the importance of cleaning their dryer vents. They may clean the lint off the trap after every other use, but that is about it. Giving a complete and thorough cleaning to the entire dryer vent rarely gets done by the average homeowner. It’s not that you would purposefully neglect it. It’s just that there are so many chores that go along with owning a home, and it can be hard to remember them all.


While all of them may be important in some way or another, only a few are critical. Dryer vent cleaning should be among those crucial tasks, for reasons we will discuss below. In addition to reducing the risk of fire drastically, there are several benefits to cleaning your dryer vent, including:


      • Significantly lowering energy costs
      • More extended running and more efficient performance
      • Faster drying time for your clothes
      • Less lint
      • Fewer allergens


Homeowners should have their dryer vent cleaning performed at least once a year. Several organizations recommended this household maintenance, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). However, if you live in a larger household or commercial building, the dryer vent cleaning should be performed more frequently.


Ways a Vent Could Get Dirty


The apparent reason is that some dirt, dust, or debris has entered into the vent and restricted the flow. However, this clog could be anywhere between the laundry room and the exterior of the home. On the outside, sometimes these issues can be animal nests or other obstructions. Regardless of what they might be, it would be best if you had them addressed as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem could lead to serious concerns.


Dangers that Could Arise from Dirty Vents


First and foremost on the list is fire. It is reported that over 15,000 dryer fires per year are started by excess lint or otherwise clogged vents each year. Sometimes they may be brought under control quickly and cause minimal damage. But sometimes it costs people their homes and, in the most tragic cases, even their lives. Lint is highly flammable and, if introduced to a flame, can quickly ignite and spread. Electrical issues may also develop if the dryer has to work too hard to draw the amount of energy. The heating element may even burn out as a result of these things.


Signs You Need to Clean Yours


Now that you know how vents get dirty and what can happen when they do, it is time to look at a few indicators that might be happening to you. Below is a list of the most common signs that you need a dryer vent cleaning. Although there may be other reasons and symptoms not listed here, this is an excellent place to start:


      • It Takes Longer to Dry Loads
      • Your Clothes and the Outside of the Machine Are Very Hot
      • The Flap on the Vent Hood Doesn’t Open Correctly
      • You Smell a Burning Odor
      • Laundry Room Feels Hot When Dryer Is Running
      • There is Lint on the Floor Behind Your Dryer
      • It’s Been Over a Year Since Your Last Cleaning or Inspection


If you are experiencing one or more of these issues, you should strongly consider cleaning your vents. You can bring in a professional to do a thorough, warrantied job, or you can do it yourself with suggestions from the following section or anywhere else. Regardless of how you decide to handle it, make sure that it is done correctly and that the problem is resolved. Having the proper airflow on the dryer duct is not something that can be overlooked. With that being understood, here are several tips on the appropriate cleaning of a vent:


How to Properly Clean a Dryer Vent


There are two main parts of cleaning a dryer duct; the filter and the vent. The filter is the easy part, so you want to start with that one first. Even though most people know that you are supposed to clean the filter after every cycle, many still do not do it. It is just like people who tell the car dealer that they changed their oil every 3,000 miles on their trade-in when they most likely, did not.


And even if you are good about wiping away the lint and dust from the filter, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t still dirty. If you own pets and deal with a lot of hair or shedding, it may be necessary more often than usual. You may also want to consider cleaning it more regularly if you wash heavy soil work or recreational clothing. Hunting and fishing gear and certain types of labor materials may put an extra burden on the dryer.


Over time, a film can form over the filter screen, which needs to be thoroughly cleaned. You can test for this by pouring a small amount of water onto the filter. If it falls through, then the filter is fine. If the water pools up, then it is time to clean the filter. This is done using warm water and a brush. The filter is clean once water will run through it. Allow it to air dry and then return it to the dryer.


Next comes the hard part; the vent. It’s not so much that the vent is hard to clean. It is just that it entails much more than the filter. First off, every section of the dryer vent needs to be verified to be working correctly. This means checking behind the dryer, at the external vent outside, and possibly everywhere in between. Sometimes animals or their nests obscure the airflow and must be removed. Whatever it takes, even calling in a professional, must be done to correct this issue.


If you want to get your dryer vent cleaning performed by a professional, please call the Vent Gator team.

Comments are closed.