Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer Vent Cleaning – How to Get Lint Out of Your Dryer Vents

Dry_Vent_Pic-279x300Unlike the dishwasher or clothes washing machine, the dryer needs a little ongoing maintenance to keep it in safe, proper working condition. How does a clothes dryer work? The way your dryer works is pretty simple – it spins clothes around in hot air while an exhaust vent sends damp air outside. A round, flexible exhaust tube connects to the back of your dryer and then to a duct in the wall that leads somewhere outside — so all the hot, moist air coming out of the dryer ends up outside. As your heated clothes tumble in the hot air, lint (tiny bits of the cotton or other fibers that make up your clothing) comes off the fabric and most of it gets caught in the lint trap as the exhaust air passes through it. The lint trap is usually accessed either inside the dryer door or on top of the dryer — it usually looks like a plastic or wire screen. Whatever gets past the lint trap goes out the exhaust vent and duct and either clings to the sides of the tube (it is wet with condensation and can be sticky) or blows out the exhaust vent outside.

Dryer Vent Problems – How do you know when to clean your dryer vents and ducts?

Since your dryer has to blow exhaust air out through the ducts, the shorter the ductwork the better. The total recommended length is normally less than 25 feet from the back of your dryer to the outside vent cover — that’s with a straight running exhaust duct. If you have bends and turns, it should be an even shorter distance. The more turns and the further the distance, the harder your dryer must work to move exhaust air and loose lint — and the harder your dryer works and the longer it runs, the sooner it will wear out and have to be replaced or repaired. If your dryer has clogged vents and ducts, there are usually a few signs you’ll see:

  • Loads of clothing will take longer to dry;
  • clothing will be very hot and still damp when dryer finishes (heavy items especially, like towels);
  • the dryer itself will feel hotter;
  • there may be NO lint on the lint screen (ie, the exhaust system is clogged)

A lint-clogged dryer can often consume $20 worth of extra electricity every month trying to dry your clothes – so it makes good sense to keep your dryer clean.

So what kind of maintenance do you need to do for your dryer? Lint tends to build up in 3 areas: inside the lint trap, inside the flexible duct hose behind the dryer, and inside the in-wall duct work leading to the outside vent flap. The first step is to clean the lint trap after every load of laundry. How do you clean the lint trap? You pull out the lint trap and scrape out the lint with your fingers or bang it over the trash can to clear it out, then replace it. When you pull out the lint trap, look around inside the dryer in the pocket where it sat — if you see more loose lint there, take it out (you can use your hand, a brush, or your vacuum). By doing this simple cleaning regularly, you will avoid 90% of dryer vent problems. Each year (or sooner if you suspect a problem) you should unplug your dryer and pull it out from the wall, then disconnect the exhaust tube from the dryer and the wall and clean it out with a vacuum. That cleans out area #2. Area #3 is the in-wall ductwork that leads to the outside. Clean out this area using a vacuum or blower along with a dryer brush or auger (see below), put everything back together and in place, and you’re done.

Dryer Fire Hazards – Do You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent?

You can read the fire hazard and safety warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They recorded more than 15,000 dryer-related fires back in 1998. Basically, they confirm the things we have already covered about keeping your dryer vent and duct clean — like cleaning the lint trap after each use, cleaning out the ducts and vents regularly, cleaning behind the dryer, having the right kind of duct material, and using caution when cleaning oil or chemical soiled items. Further reports have shown that most dryer fires occurred with older dryers without thermostats (or broken thermostats), with crushed or kinked hoses in the back of the dryer, and often with a missing lint screen. So by keeping your dryer clean and in decent working condition, chances are you will not have to worry about a fire.

Call or contact us today to schedule dryer vent cleaning or a heating or air conditioning repair appointment or call us if you have questions regarding our heating and air conditioning services, we’ll be more than happy to assist you! We look forward to serving you! (904) 908-5252