Do you know where your dryer vent is located? If we took a poll, a lot of people would probably say it’s the lint trap that they clean out after every load of laundry. Others might say it’s the hose that connects the dryer to wall. In actuality, your dryer vent system includes the hose that runs from your dryer, through the wall(s) and to the vent hood that’s located on the exterior of your home. This is just one misconception people have when it comes to dryer vents.
Below are 4 misconceptions concerning the need for dryer vent cleaning.
- Dryer vents don’t need to be cleaned. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, clothes dryers caused an estimated 6,000 residential fires from 2010 to 2012. Of these 6,000 residential fires, on average, 10 deaths and 210 injuries occurred. And these fires caused an estimated $79.3 million in damages. The failure to remove lint buildup in the dryer vent system is the number one reason for dryer fires.
- I always clean out my dryer vent before I dry a load of clothes, so I don’t need dryer vent cleaning. Only about 70% of the lint in your dryer is trapped in the lint trap. The rest is blown through your dryer vent system where it can build up on the walls of your vent hose over time – eventually causing a variety of problems.
- The lint that doesn’t get trapped in the lint trap is expelled outside my home.Unfortunately, a clothes dryer only has so much power to push wet, heavy lint so far. Therefore, it’s inevitable that some of it is going to get left behind in your dryer vent system. In fact, as lint builds up in your dryer vent, the air flow is reduced even more, causing even more lint buildup.
- I’m getting a new dryer. I don’t need to clean my vents. When you get rid of your old dryer, that’s the best time to have your dryer vents cleaned by a trained service professional. After all, you want your new dryer to operate at its maximum efficiency. But if the vent system is clogged with lint buildup, your new dryer isn’t going to work as efficiently as you would like. In fact, some newer models of dryers are designed with a shut off. So if the vent doesn’t have the proper air flow needed for the dryer to work safely and efficiently, the dryer will shut off.
To make sure your dryer is working safely and efficiently, have your dryer vents cleaned at least once a year.
Why Dryers Have To Be Cleaned!
As you know from cleaning out your lint filter, dryers produce very large quantities of lint. Most people assume their lint traps catch all the lint, however, a significant amount of this lint is not caught by the lint trap and builds up inside the dryer-even on the heating element and in other places inside the dryer, causing it to overheat and possibly catch fire. As a rule, a fire starts from a spark in the machine. However, improper clothes dryer venting practices outside the dryer can play a key role in this process.
Many fires can be prevented with proper dryer duct cleaning. In Canada it is recommended that all North American style clothes dryers be cleaned on the inside by a qualified appliance technician. The Government of Ontario recommends that this service be done every year to remove lint from the rotating drum. The lint will build in other areas also. It is also true that a loose wire could cause a spark inside the clothes dryer. The time frame for this service would depend on many factors. The main factor is the style of dryer ducting you have. If your dryer duct is not 4 inches round, the lint may not flow as well as it should.
Introduction to Dryer Vent Cleaning
What I want to focus on is showing you how to remove dangerous lint build up in your dryer and dryer venting. Excessive lint build up occurs slowly and gradually. You don’t realize it is happening. You think that by cleaning out the lint filter after each use you are doing your job and maintaining the dryer.Not quite!
A full load of wet clothes contains about a half gallon of water. Lint is created from the clothes as water is removed during the drying process. This lint will build up in crevices deep down inside the lint filter trap, and all along the dryer vent hose. At the end of the day, yourdryer is the number 1 source of fire in the home.
In 1999 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPC) developed a report called the “Report on Electric and Gas Clothes Dryers.” In that report they determined that of the 15,000 fires studied in one year, electric dryers were over 2.5 times more likely to be the cause of the fire than gas dryers. Fires originated most frequently from two places: dryer venting and the lint trap. .
Take a look at our Video on us cleaning a Dryer Vent
What are the warning signs that dangerous lint build up is occurring in your dryer and venting system? Well, the symptoms may include:
- Clothes take longer and longer to dry;
- Clothes don’t fully dry;
- Clothes are hotter than normal at the end of the drying cycle;
- The outside of dryer gets very hot;
- The outside exhaust vent flapper does not open very much indicating low exhaust velocity;
- Laundry room becomes more humid than it is usually;
- Burnt smell is evident in the laundry room.
Many fire departments and insurance companies do require that dryer vents be inspected and cleaned regularly.
Dryer safety tips
The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires is failure to clean them.
Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.