Protect Your Home from Fires: When and How to Clean Your Dryer Vent
A dryer vent is the pipe that carries hot air from your dryer to the outside of your home. The lint that collects in this pipe can cause fires, so it's important to keep it clean.
If you have a gas or electric dryer, you should also check for carbon monoxide leaks every few months by using a CO detector (available at hardware stores). If there's any sign of leaking gas or carbon monoxide coming out of your vents, call an HVAC professional immediately!
Signs you need to clean out dryer vent
If you notice any of the following signs, it's time to clean your dryer vent:
Strange smells coming from your laundry room. You may smell a musty odor or something else that's unpleasant. This is often caused by lint buildup in the ductwork, which can lead to mold and mildew growth if not cleaned regularly.
Longer drying times for clothes--or even worse, wet clothes when they come out of the dryer! If this happens frequently, it could indicate that there is too much moisture in your system and some of it is getting trapped inside instead of being blown out through the vent opening as intended by design engineers at Whirlpool Corporation (who originally designed these products).
How to Clean Your Dryer Vent
To clean your dryer vent, follow these steps:
- Unplug the dryer and disconnect it from its power source.
- Remove the lint trap at the back of your machine, then vacuum out any debris that's accumulated inside it (you may need to use an extension cord if there's not enough room to reach).
- Use a vent brush or other cleaning tool designed specifically for this purpose.
When to Call a Professional
If you're unable to access the vent, or if it's too long or complex for you to clean on your own, call a professional. They will be able to inspect and repair any damage that may have occurred during installation or from everyday use.
If there is any visible damage in your dryer vent system--such as holes, tears or kinks--a professional should be called immediately so they can make repairs before they become worse.
How Often Should I Clean My Dryer Vent?
You should clean your dryer vent at least once a year, or more frequently if you notice any of the signs of a clogged vent.
If clothes take longer to dry than usual and feel damp when they come out of the dryer
If you notice lint or debris in your laundry room, laundry room floor, or around the back of your dryer (this is especially true if you have pets)
The Benefits of Cleaning Your Dryer Vent
When you clean your dryer vent, you'll be reducing the risk of fire. A clogged dryer vent can cause lint to build up in the ductwork and catch fire. This is especially true if you use a gas dryer, which has an open flame that could ignite any combustible material that has accumulated in your ducts.
If you're looking for ways to improve efficiency, cleaning out your dryer hose is one way to do so! If there are any obstructions or debris in your venting system, it will take longer for hot air from inside the machine to escape into outside space--which means longer drying times for clothes or other items being dried by this method. Additionally, this extra time means more energy used (and thus higher bills).
Finally, safety first! Cleaning out old lint from inside vents reduces risk of fire hazards.