It’s important to clean your dryer every year. This ventilation and duct system collects a lot of debris over time, as it builds up it reduces the efficiency of your dryer. It can also increase allergens on your clothes and in your home. And most noteworthy, lint buildup inside these vents is a leading cause of house fires.
Signs your dryer vent needs cleaned:
- Clothes are taking a long time to dry
- The laundry room feels warmer than normal
- Clothes are very hot after drying
- The dryer feels hotter than normal
- Energy bills are increasing unexpectedly
Where is the Vent?
On the back of your dryer you’ll find a large (usually a flexible aluminum) hose that is connected to a duct in your wall. This duct leads to a vent outside your home. This vent and duct system is the area we are talking about. Hot air and moisture are sent from your dryer through the duct and out the outside vent.
Your dryer’s lint trap catches most of the debris from your clothes, but some material will make it through. As lint and debris build up in the hose and duct, the risk of fire increases.
How to Clean a Dryer Vent
There is no standard location for a dryer vent, so the cleaning process if unique for every home. Typically the vents take the shortest route from the dryer to an exterior wall. However, sometimes these vents are on the roof, or on a more distant exterior wall. The longer this duct, the more difficult the cleansing process will be.
The cleaning process is simple. First you disconnect the flexible hose from the dryers. Then, using a vacuum and combination of extension hoses and brushes, you remove as much lint and debris as possible. This cleaning should be done all the way through the vent, inside the connecting hose, at the dryer connection point, and at the vent where the duct exits the home. It’s a good idea to use a brush to loosen debris stuck inside the hose and duct. Most hardware stores sell brushes specifically designed for this purpose.
Some people opt to do this cleaning themselves using an at-home kit. Others may hire a professional appliance or HVAC company. Which every option you decide on, make sure this cleaning isn’t neglected. Once a year is a good rule of thumb, but if you use your dryer frequently, you may want to clean the vent more often.
The most important step you take when drying your clothes is cleaning out the lint trap with every load. This quick and easy step is your first defense against insufficient drying. If you have to run the clothes through more than one dry cycle, the most likely cause is lint buildup inside the dryer vent.