Most homeowners know that they need to have their chimneys cleaned and inspected at least once a year to reduce the risk of accidental chimney fire. What many may not know is that there is another appliance that should also be regularly cleaned and inspected – your dryer.
Just like your fireplace, dryer vents should receive regular maintenance and cleanings. Doing this greatly reduces your risk of dryer fire and therefore improves your family’s safety.
Why clean dryer vents
After every dryer load, it is not uncommon to find significant amounts of lint in the lint trap. Removing this highly flammable lint is an important part of keeping your dryer running safely and efficiently.
What many homeowners may not know is that the same lint found in your dryer trap can also build up in your dryer vents. Over time, this lint can create blockages which can restrict airflow. Your dryer, in turn, has to continue to produce more and more heat to overcompensate for these blockages. The increased amount of heat produced by the dryer can cause the flammable lint clogging the vents to ignite.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, clogged dryer vents are responsible for thousands of house fires per year. These fires cause more than $200 million in damages, 400 injuries, and 50 deaths; because dryer fire is almost entirely preventable, most of this could have been prevented with regular dryer vent cleaning.
Signs your dryer vents need to be cleaned
Knowing when and how often to have your dryer vents cleaned can be difficult to understand. However, your dryer’s performance is often the first sign that it is time to have your dryer vents cleaned.
- Clothes take more than one full cycle to completely dry
- The laundry room is noticeably warmer than the rest of the house when the dryer is in use
- The lint trap begins collecting more lint than usual
- Your dryer or the clothes themselves have a strong, musty odor after a dry cycle
- Lint or other debris can be seen around vents or ductwork
If your dryer is experiencing any of these symptoms or you’ve simply noticed a decrease in efficiency, clogged dryer vents may be to blame.
Benefits of professional dryer vent cleaning
While there are many home projects that you can do yourself, cleaning your dryer vents shouldn’t be one of them. Dryer vent systems – especially those in apartments or condominiums – can twist and turn several times before reaching the outside vent; because of this, special equipment and expertise is required to clean them.
During a professional cleaning, a certified technician will thoroughly clean the entire vent system, making sure there is not flammable lint or blockages left behind. This also includes checking the entirety of the system for any places when the tubing may be kinked, crushed, or clogged. Likewise, the termination – or place where the venting system stops – will be checked to ensure it is not connected to any other vents and is up to current safety and building codes.
If your dryer isn’t working the way it used to, the dryer vents – not the machine itself – may be to blame. Contact Mason’s Chimney Service and Certified Air Duct Cleaning today to get your dryer vents evaluated before you purchase a new machine.