About the importance of dryer vent cleaning

Do you know why regular cleaning of dryer vents is so important? As a tenant, you understand the importance of checking your smoke detectors, changing your air filters and keeping up with other preventative maintenance in your home. But how much time do you spend cleaning your dryer vent? If you’re like the average resident,...
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nora@mydistinct.com
September 17, 2020
3 min read

Do you know why regular cleaning of dryer vents is so important?

As a tenant, you understand the importance of checking your smoke detectors, changing your air filters and keeping up with other preventative maintenance in your home. But how much time do you spend cleaning your dryer vent? If you’re like the average resident, the answer is probably, “not much.”

Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, nearly 15,000 structural fires occur each year as a result of an issue with a clothes dryer, and clogged, dirty dryer vents cause 80% of the fires.

Warning signs that it’s time to clean your vent

    • Clothes are taking much longer than normal to dry. It will often take two or three cycles to dry them.
    • Clothes have a strange, burning smell to them. This could be a sign that your dryer vent isn’t properly able to ventilate the warm air out of the appliance.
    • The laundry room feels excessively hot when the dryer is running. Again, this could be a result of a clogged vent that isn’t letting hot air escape.

    Problems caused by a clogged dryer vent

      • Fires. The lint from your clothes can build up inside the dryer vent. This material is highly flammable and can cause a fire.
      • Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. When the dryer vent is clogged, dangerous CO gases aren’t able to escape. Instead, they build up inside the vent and may seep out into the laundry room and into other areas of the home.
      • Wear and tear on the dryer. When it takes two or three cycles to get your clothes dried, this puts a lot of strain on your dryer. It can lead to excessive wear and tear on the unit.
      • Skyrocketing utility bills. Keeping the lint trap and vent cleared allows the heated air to move through the dryer efficiently, but a clogged vent or dirty lint filter could force the machine to use as much as 30% more energy. A dryer that is running more often than it should to dry clothes will use a lot of energy. This will be reflected on your monthly utility bills. Think about it: if your machine takes twice as long to dry clothes, you’re using twice as much energy. That also results in a shorter lifespan for your dryer.
      • Don't let mold fester in your vents. Dryer vents are responsible for blowing any moisture from the dryer outside, but if it’s clogged, moisture can collect, turning into wet spots or even puddles. Lint that soaks up any humidity will get moldy. Wet lint sticks and compacts, making any existing clogs far more difficult to clear.

      Dryer maintenance tasks can be handled by the average resident. Be sure to clean the lint out of the lint trap between each drying cycle. Regularly clean the dryer’s vent cap on the exterior of your home. Ideally, you want to clean your dryer vents at least once a year; and it doesn’t hurt to have an HVAC specialist do it for you. They can better ensure the vent is completely free of blockage and that your dryer is running optimally. Regular cleaning and maintenance reduce wear, which can help you avoid unnecessary repairs in the long term and more importantly reduce the risks of fires.

       

       

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