Dryer vent fires have surpassed chimney fires as the leading cause of all house fires in the United States. Dryer vents are one of those things that you can’t afford to neglect because they’re out of sight, out of mind. When you consider that the lint trap on a dryer (even a new one) only eliminates or stops 80% of the lint, you can see why cleaning your exhaust system once a year is so important.

Dryer lint is very combustible and, under the appropriate conditions, can cause a dryer fire, which commonly spreads through the vent system and quickly spreads throughout your home. When you use a dryer, approximately 1/2 pound of water is removed, lint is captured by your lint trap, and air is blown through your dryer exhaust system. This excess lint accumulates in your dryer and the exhaust or venting system over time. Because the airflow is restricted, your dryer has to work harder and the engine overheats. Your dryer is now a prime possibility for a dryer fire due to excessive lint buildup.

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Tips for Dryer Safety and Inspection

  1. Check for tears in your lint trap and clean it before each drying cycle. If the lint on your lint trap is damp, it may be time to clean your dryer vents. In addition, the lint screen should be lightly scraped and rinsed with mild dish soap once a week.
  2. Inspect your outside vent hood on the side of your house while the dryer is running. Are the flaps moving, and do you notice any airflow? If not, it’s time to clean your dryer exhaust system and inspect your dryer.
  3. Look for lint on the floor near your dryer. This is an indication that your dryer exhaust system need cleaning.
  4. If your garments take more than one cycle to dry, it is possible that your dryer exhaust system has to be cleaned right soon.
  5. Never dry garments or rags that have been soaked in combustible liquids. It has the potential to create an explosive situation in your dryer.

Recommendations for Cleaning Dryer Vents

You can clean your vents with brushes with rods that can be linked to a high powered drill, which are available online. Most of these solutions are subpar and perform poorly for dryer vent runs longer than 10 feet. Because of the various scenarios that can and will arise when cleaning dryer vents, it is critical that you hire a professional. Some of these issues include incorrect vent types, loose or unconnected vents, and vents with excessive angles and bends. Depending on the situation, a dryer vent cleaning professional will normally have several types of cleaning tools. It is critical that you ask the dryer vent professional if they will perform on-site repairs or upgrades, since nearly half of the work encountered will require this.

Repairs to Dryer Vents

Rerunning or changing out the dryer vent exhaust duct work, adding or changing a vent hood that exits the site of the building, going into the attic or crawl space to do repairs, cleaning from the top of the roof starting from where the duct exits towards the dryer, and even tearing into the wall or ceiling to repair a vent that has come loose are some of the repairs that may be required. If you aren’t a handy person who can handle all of the aforementioned repair things, hire a dryer vent professional.