Why clean dryer vents? Because it can prevent fires and it can save you money. It is estimated that over 15,000 home fires each year are caused by dryer vents that are partially or completely clogged with lint. These are fires that are easily prevented with a little preventative maintenance that home owners can often do themselves. Lint is extremely flammable. Heat can build up in a dryer vent if the airflow is restricted which can cause the lint to ignite.
When airflow is restricted your dryer has to work harder and may take more than one cycle to dry clothes which uses more energy. The tumbling action of dryers is hard on clothes and if your dryer has to run longer to dry your clothes they are experiencing unnecessary wear and tear.
Most people clean their lint trap after every load of laundry. However, lint also accumulates in the duct work and vents between your dryer and where the hose vents to the outside. The vent, hose and duct work should be cleaned or at least inspected annually. To properly clean the duct work and hose the dryer needs to be disconnected from the hose and moved away from the wall so lint can be removed from the hose and any duct work which is within the walls, attic or basement of a home.
Although regular cleaning or at least inspection of your dryer vents is recommended, there are some indications that your vents need to be cleaned but always consult a professional dryer vent cleaner if you are not sure if your vents need to be cleaned.
The following are indications that lint may be restricting your dryer vent and you could be at risk of a fire:
- clothes are taking longer than normal to dry
- clothes seem hotter than usual at the end of a drying cycle
- the flapper on your exterior dryer vent doesn't open when the dryer is on