How to Know You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent
Does anyone really enjoy doing their laundry? Maybe you are this mythical person, and if so, we are jealous of you! But if you’re like the majority of us, laundry is one of those tasks that we do only because we have to. The last thing we want to do is add yet another task on the laundry list -- but there’s one that is essential for the safety of our businesses and homes. When was the last time you really cleaned your dryer vent? We’re not talking about emptying the lint trap, which you should be doing after every load: we’re referring to the attached ventilation ducts and the nooks and crannies of your dryer itself. The U.S. Fire Administration reports thousands of dryer vent fires each year, with the majority occurring in autumn and winter months, and most were avoidable by cleaning the dryer system. Here are five key signs for how to know you need to clean your dryer vent, and how you can prevent dryer vent fires with these maintenance tips.
IT’S BEEN OVER A YEAR SINCE YOU DID IT.
Allowing your dryer vents to go uninspected for a year or more means you’re dramatically increasing your risk of a dryer vent fire. Not only is lint highly flammable, but it also provides a cozy place for rodents and pests to sneak their way inside your dryer vent’s hood flap on the exterior of your home.
YOUR DRYER LOADS ARE TAKING LONGER THAN USUAL.
Have you noticed that your laundry isn’t coming out as dry as it used to? If you haven’t increased the size of your loads, then it’s possible that a clogged ventilation system isn’t venting the heat and moisture properly from your dryer system, and that means it won’t run as efficiently as possible. That also means you’re wasting valuable dollars in your monthly utility bills as you use more electricity to dry your loads.
YOUR DRYER AND/OR CLOTHES FEEL UNUSUALLY HOT.
After a load, if it seems like your dryer itself or the clothes inside are hotter than normal, then it’s probably time to have your dryer vent inspected and cleaned. Again, if the ventilation system is clogged with lint and other debris, then your dryer is having to work a lot harder than usual, and that means it’s going to retain a lot of the heat it normally vents through the ductwork -- which also means that you’re at an increased risk of a dryer vent fire.
YOUR LAUNDRY ROOM IS SMELLIER AND MORE HUMID THAN NORMAL.
All that extra heat and moisture which should be escaping from your home into the atmosphere is getting stuck inside instead. That can signal that your dryer vent duct is clogged and/or that your dryer itself is caked with lint and dirt that is making the heat stay inside. That can be a red flag for your risk of a dryer vent fire. You should be especially careful if you notice a burning kind of odor because the debris might be close to catching fire if you don’t take action.
THERE’S LINT AND OTHER MATERIALS OUTSIDE YOUR DRYER VENT HOOD.
If you’re able to easily get to your dryer vent hood on the exterior of your business or home, and even if it’s elevated but you can make a quick visual inspection, then check for any lint or other debris that has been collecting in the area. This can be a sign that the interior of your vent system is even dirtier and that your hood vent isn’t opening and closing like it’s designed to. The cause might be a nasty buildup of gunk inside your ventilation duct all the way back to the dryer itself.
To keep your dryer and its attached ventilation system in safe shape throughout the year, make sure you use your lint trap and that you clean it after every load. This will go a long way to giving you the safest system possible, but it won’t do everything: at least once per year, clean out the entire length of your ductwork and get into all the crevices of your dryer to make sure that lint and other dirty particles are cleaned away.
Not sure how to do this? Don’t have the time or the right equipment? Or maybe you just want to have the peace of mind that it’s done the right way? Then contact your locally-owned AdvantaClean service provider today. Since 1994, we’ve been giving American homes and businesses from coast to coast the best dryer vent cleaning services available. Our indoor air quality technicians use all the techniques laid out by the National Air Duct Cleaner Association to make sure that your home is as clean, safe and dry as possible year-round. You can do it yourself, but it won’t be completely clean until it’s AdvantaClean!