HomeownerEducational: A-M

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer Vent Cleaning Educational Content

The National Fire Protection Association reports that dryers caused almost 14,000 house fires per year between 2014 and 2018. About one-third of the fires were caused by lint buildup. The duct that runs from the dryer to the outside of your house is out of sight. This makes it difficult to know if it is in need of cleaning. Watch for these warning signs:

Longer drying time. Have you noticed loads of clothes are taking more time to dry than usual? This can signal that something is restricting airflow in the dryer vent.

Extremely hot clothes or dryer after a cycle. If the top of the dryer or the clothes inside are very hot at the end of a cycle, you might have a problem. The dryer is overheating. This happens when its airflow is restricted.

Burning smell. If you notice a burning or singed smell in your laundry room, call a dryer vent cleaning company right away. Don’t use the dryer until the vent is cleaned. Lint is very flammable, and the heat from an overheated dryer can ignite it.

Clothes dryers blow hot air past clothes as they tumble in the dryer drum. This evaporates the water in the clothes, and the water vapor is carried away through the dryer vent. According to building codes, the dryer vent system must exhaust at a point outside the home.

The most important requirement for a dryer vent is that the vent must not be obstructed. Any airflow restriction poses an increased fire hazard. This is because the lint particles are flammable when they accumulate. Dryer vents are often made from flexible foil or plastic material that can kink or sag. These bent spots in the vent collect flammable lint, which adds to the airflow problem. A sagging vent can also collect condensation and leak or foster a mold problem.

Basic dryer maintenance isn’t too difficult. Clear the lint trap after every load of laundry. Make sure the dryer has plenty of space around it for airflow. Don’t let the vent bend, sag, or kink. Most dryer manufacturers recommend having your dryer vent professionally serviced every year. During a typical service visit, the technician will inspect and clean the dryer vent. They will also clean the lint trap and booster fan, if needed. Some dryer vent cleaning companies also offer mechanical inspections of the vent system. Some provide repair and installation services. Keeping the vent clean helps your dryer run safely and efficiently.