Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

As with any appliance, maintaining it in its best working condition is vital. In addition to the inconvenience of having machinery break down and requiring a visit from a repairman, poorly-working appliances pose health and fire hazards.

As with any appliance, maintaining it in its best working condition is vital.  In addition to the inconvenience of having machinery break down and requiring a visit from a repairman, poorly-working appliances pose health and fire hazards. 

The basic structure of a dryer consists of a large drum to spin your clothes, the mechanics to move the drum, a heating element, dryer setting controls, a fan, a lint trap and a vent for the hot air to be removed. It sounds simple enough, but if you don’t keep your dryer vents clean, it can be deadly.

When you dry your clothes, all the tumbling causes small fibers to come off and get caught in the lint trap. Not all lint is caught here. Some continues into the exhaust tube and is blown outside. Overtime, lint can build up in the tube. As the buildup increases and the dryer vents become clogged, risks build, too.

One of the first things you may notice is the increased time it takes your clothes to dry.  As your dryer runs longer, your electric bill grows.   You may also find an increase of moisture from warm air not being able to leave the dryer efficiently. This can cause mold to grow inside your home, which could lead to health issues.

If you have a gas dryer, there is a danger of carbon monoxide building up.  If it can’t vent to the outside, it has no other place to go but back into the home.  The most dangerous problem of a clogged vent is that lint is extremely flammable.  As the dryer struggles to get rid of the hot air, the whole unit overheats.  The combination of overheating and combustible material can ignite a fire.

Thousands of homes are destroyed every year due to fires caused by dryers.  Make sure your dryer vents and exhausts are cleaned on a regular basis.  Check and clean your dryer vent before and after each load of laundry.  At least twice a year, clean the exhaust tube that exits from the dryer.  If you are unable to clean these vents yourself, consider hiring a professional. Not only can he give you peace of mind for safety, a professional may also be able to help you decrease your electric bill.

For assistance in maintaining and cleaning your dryer, you can contact Handyman Matters at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code on our website to find a location in your area.