Like most appliances, dryers require a little bit of regular maintenance to ensure they work their best and use the least amount of power necessary. Not only that, but a clogged dryer vent can cause a fire! Clean dryer vents are cheaper, safer and more efficient. Yet, how do you know if it’s time for a cleaning? Read on to find out!
How Dryers Work
Dryers are pretty simple machines. They spin your clothes around in hot air, while an exhaust vent sends the dampened air directly outside. To do this, a round, flexible exhaust tube connects from the back of your dryer to a wall duct leading outside. (After all, you don’t want hot, moist air coming back into the home!) As your cloths tumble in this hot air, little bits of fiber stick to the lint trap. Occasionally, some pieces make it past this filter and either cling to the sides of the tube or blows out the vent. Ideally, you’ll have a short, straight tube that leaves little room for error. Even so, you will still need to have it cleaned periodically.
“How Can I Tell If My Dryer Vent Needs Cleaning?”
There are a few tell-tale signs of a dirty or clogged dryer vent:
- Your laundry takes more time to dry.
- Heavy items like towels feel hot, but damp at the end of cycle.
- The dryer feel hotter when it is finished drying a load.
- There is visible lint and debris surrounding the trap.
- The lint trap is not picking up much lint anymore.
- Your dryer stops mid-cycle.
- Lint is present on your clothing after drying.
- Your clothes have a musty smell.
- More than a year has passed since the last cleaning.
How To Clean Your Dryer Vent
Busy homeowners can call an HVAC specialist to clean their dryer vents. (If you need a referral, just call our office and ask!) A professional will come to your house, remove the outside vent cap, insert a long vacuum tube into the ventilation pipe, and eradicate any loose debris. Firmer debris stuck on the sides of the tube will then be scraped out with a snake brush and vacuumed away. You can expect to pay $75 to $200 for this service.
If you decide to do it yourself, don’t forget to unplug your dryer from the wall outlet. It should be fairly easy to open the access panel to clean around the machine components. There are a number of dryer vent cleaning tool kits that include everything you need, including brushes, rods, vacuums and dryer adapters for about $20.