The Importance of Cleaning Your Dryer Vent and Ducts
Reasons to Keep Your Dryer Vents Clean
Over time, dryer vents become clogged and filled with dirt from particles such as animal hair, human hair, lint and random items left in pockets. Debris and lint become airborne when a dryer tumbles the clothing. The air created by the dryer is routed through the dryer’s ventilation system. Along with the air, damp dirt and lint tend to follow.
When lint becomes wet, it typically adheres to the vent’s outer wall. As the lint build up continues to increase with time, the dryer’s air flow is reduced. This air reduction can cause a restricted flow, making the dryer work harder. Sometimes, the vents become completely blocked, and no air can move through the system.
The hot air produced by the dryer is meant to be released through the vents. However, a clogged vent will force the air to escape elsewhere, specifically into the house. In some cases, mold will form and allergies may become exacerbated.
In addition, vents clogged with lint take a heavy toll on the dryer itself. A dryer is designed to draw in air circulating behind the appliance. The collected air flows through a heating element that works similar to those found in ovens. The air, which is now hot, blows among the clothes tumbling in the dryer. Finally, the air will pass through the dryer’s vents.
If the hot air is restricted or cannot flow through the vents, the appliance gets hot. Although the air within the dryer becomes more hot, it will not dry the clothing since the moisture cannot travel through the vents. A dryer’s sensor will blow if the appliance hits a certain, preset temperature, which is an expensive repair.
In addition, a dryer that is working too hard due to restricted and inefficient air flow requires additional energy. The result? An increase in your electric bill or gas bill.
Lint is a flammable substance. The accumulation of lint will not only occur within the ventilation system, but also around the dryer. When the dryer draws in the surrounding air, as it is designed to do, the lint is also sucked in with the air. A dangerous fire hazard is instantly created as the lint passes through a dryer’s heating element.
Signs of a Clogged Dryer Vent
There are several strong indicators that your dryer’s ventilation system may be clogged, such as:
– One cycle does not dry towels and jeans,
– The appliance feels more hot to the touch,
– Each time the dryer is operated, the surrounding windows become fogged,
– There is a lint problem in the laundry room,
– When the dryer is running, the outside vent will not open,
– The sound of chirping birds can be heard from inside of the vent.
Ways to Prevent a Clogged Dryer Vent
The following recommendations can keep your dryer’s vent clog-free:
– Always clean the dryer’s lint trap after drying a load of laundry,
– The outside vent should be inspected for bird nests and lint build-up,
– Keep the gas connections or electrical connections, and the area around the dryer, free of lint and debris,
– Kinked hoses and plastic hoses should be replaced with the appropriate metal hoses,
– Do not operate the dryer when you are unable to monitor a drying cycle,
– Perform regular dryer maintenance, which will extend the appliance’s lifespan.
Remember, every manufacturer recommends that owners habitually maintain and inspect their dryer. Manufacturers strongly suggest hiring a professional to inspect and clean the dryer’s vents every 12-18 months. When you hire a professional, he will remove all the built-up lint in the dryer and the vents. He will also make sure the appliance is operating safely and efficiently.