Why You Should Keep Your Dryer Vents Clean

When was the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent? We’re not talking about the filter that’s located inside your dryer (that should be cleaned out before each use)—but the vent that connects to your dryer’s filter and carries heat outside of your home.

While your dryer vent’s purpose is to carry hot air from your dryer outside and away from your home, it is unavoidable that this vent will accumulate some lint and debris over time. Unfortunately, lint and debris buildup inside the vent can lead to a host of problems, ranging from potential fire hazards to reduced efficiency and heating capability for your dryer.

If it’s been many years since your dryer vent was cleaned, or if you cannot remember ever having this vent cleaned, then you’re probably overdue for a professional dryer vents service. Keep reading to learn the most important reasons why you should keep your dryer vents clean.

Protect Your Home and Loved Ones

The most important reason to keep your dryer vent clear of debris is to avoid fire hazards in your home. Unfortunately, lint from clothing that often gets trapped in dryer vents is very flammable. As lint builds up and creates a clog, this can also create a severe fire hazard that could put your home and your loved ones at risk.

Unfortunately, the United States Fire Administration reports about 2,900 dryer fires reported each year, failing to clean the dryer listed as the leading cause. You can avoid becoming another statistic by ensuring your dryer vent stays clean and clear of flammable debris.

Avoid Unwelcome Guests

Another main reason why you should have your dryer vents professionally cleaned. When lint builds up to the point of clogging your dryer’s vent line, this can also prevent the duct hood flap on the exterior of your home from opening and closing correctly. If this flap gets stuck in the open position, you could end up with some unwelcome guests in your home or attic. Raccoons, squirrels, and other creatures have been known to make their way into dryer ductwork in an attempt to create nests. If this is not a problem you want to deal with in your home, all you have to do is keep your dryer vent clean and inspect your home’s duct hood flap for proper function a few times a year.

racoon in chimney

Avoid Premature Wear and Tear

And of course, when your dryer has to work harder to dry your clothes, you may also experience premature wear and tear on the appliance itself. This may result in you having to replace your dryer after just a couple of years or spend your hard-earned money on costly repairs.

One of the most common issues related to this premature wear and tear is a damaged heating element. When a dryer’s vent is clogged with debris, this can cause the dryer’s heating element to blow, which prevents the dryer from putting out hot/warm air. Replacing a dryer’s heating element can be expensive, often ranging anywhere from $170 to $280 or more.

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Improve Energy Efficiency

Your dryer has to work harder to effectively dry your clothes if there is a lot of lint and other debris built up inside the vent. This is because clogs can prevent heat and moisture from being carried away from the dryer itself, resulting in clothes that take longer to dry. Unfortunately, this can also mean higher energy bills for you as your dryer needs to run longer cycles to achieve the desired results.

When Should You Clean Your Vents?

Now that you have a better understanding of why it’s so important to keep your vents clean, you’re probably wondering how often you should be cleaning your dryer vents. For starters, make sure that you’re getting into the habit of cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap after every use. This will help to reduce the amount of lint and debris that makes its way into the vent in the first place.

From there, the frequency with which your dryer vent should be cleaned can vary a bit based on how much you use your dryer and how many people are in your household. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to have your vent inspected and cleaned once a year.

Some “red flags” you should be on the lookout for that could indicate that your dryer vent requires cleaning. If you’ve noticed, for example, that your clothes are taking longer and longer to dry, this could be a sign that your vent is clogged. The same applies if you’ve begun to notice a slight burning smell when your dryer is running or when you take your clothes out of the dryer at the end of a cycle.

Meanwhile, if your dryer feels hot to the touch after it’s run a normal cycle, this is something that should be considered as a potential problem as well. While the inside of your dryer may be warm after running, its exterior should remain relatively close to room temperature.

Finally, if your dryer has begun to shut off in the middle of a cycle, this could be a sign of restricted airflow caused by a clog. Many modern clothes dryers have sensors that will automatically trigger a shut-off if dangerously high temperatures are detected.

Lets do a quick recap!

The following are signs that could indicate a clog in your dryer vent:
  • clothes taking longer to dry
  • a burning smell coming from the dryer
  • the dryer that is hot to the touch
  • dryer shutting off mid-cycle

Should You DIY or Hire a Professional?

While there’s nothing wrong with using a vacuum hose or other unique tool for cleaning lint out from your dryer vent on your own, it’s still a good idea to have your vent professionally cleaned once a year. A vent cleaning company will have the tools and experience needed to get the job done correctly so you can enjoy added protection and peace of mind.

Ready to schedule your annual dryer vent cleaning? Contact us today to find out more or to set up your appointment!

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