Why should you consider having your dryer vents cleaned?
Two reasons - home safety and saving money.
1 - Safety
According to a 2003 report, clothes dryers could be a possible fire hazard:
"The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600 fires, which resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers."
Amongst other recommendations, they say:
- Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes
- Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically
- Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up
- Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimise the amount of lint accumulation.
Fire in the home or business premises is something you definitely don't want.
Your clothes dryer needs more maintenance than say, your dishwasher...
Dryer vent cleaning will remove dangerous lint build up in your dryer and dryer venting.
Excessive lint build up occurs so slowly and gradually you don't realize it is happening. Cleaning out the lint filter after each use is not sufficient. A duct clean is important.
As your clothes are being tumbled around in the hot air, small pieces of fibers come off the fabric and get trapped by a lint trap. The pieces that make it through the trap can stick to the sides of the damp exhaust tubing, causing lint build up. This blocks the free flow of air, leading to excessive heat and a possible fire hazard.
2 - Money
As the blockage narrows the free passage of exhaust air, your dryer has to work harder and longer to dry your clothes. Two problems soon occur.
First, by running your dryer for longer it consumes extra electricity - often up to $20 dollars a month.
Second, because the dryer is working harder for longer periods of time, it will wear out faster than normal and will need to be repaired, or worse still replaced, costing you unnecessary additional expense.
How to spot if your dryer has clogged vents and ducts:
What are the warning signs that dangerous lint build up is occurring in your dryer and venting system?
- Clothes take longer to dry or don't fully dry
- Clothes are hotter than normal
- The outside of the dryer feels hotter than normal
- The outside exhaust vent flapper does not open very much
- Laundry room is more humid than usual
What to do if you see these signs:
You have a choice.
Either clean the system yourself or have a professional do it for you.
If you wish to do it yourself, you can, but you'll need: time, knowledge of what to do, and the cost of tools. You'll have to buy a dryer vent cleaning tool kit containing brushes, rods, and vacuum adapters. You'll need a vacuum blower and power drill plus instructions on how to do the job effectively and safely.
Or, for a few dollars more, you can save time and headache by hiring a professional dryer vent cleaning service to do the dirty work for you. The benefits of this are: your time, a professional job that is guaranteed and - importantly - inspection of the entire dryer vent line to make sure the tubing is intact, in good working order and is exhausting hot air properly.
A full dryer vent line inspection is particularly important in condominiums where the dryers in each condo share the same exhaust line.
What to look for when choosing dryer vent cleaning services:
1 - Get quotes and references before selecting one
2 - Make sure the dryer vent cleaning company is accredited by trade organisations
3 - Check that the dryer vent cleaning company has positive feedback on review sites such as Yelp and Angie's List.
Be sure and be safe...
According to the above report, fires originated most frequently from two places: dryer venting and the lint trap.
By keeping both areas clean and in good working condition, the chances are good you will not have to worry about a fire, you'll save money and have a safer home.