Dryer fires in the home contribute to over 15,000 fires each year. The cause in most of these cases is not due to a faulty dryer, but rather, because of the accumulated buildup of lint. Drying laundry produces a great deal of lint, and if the lint becomes trapped within the dryer’s vent, this creates decreased air flow which can lead to overheating. When the heating element in the dryer overheats, this can cause the accumulated lint in the venting to ignite, causing a fire.
If your clothes seem to be taking an unusually long time to dry, or come out still wet, feeling very hot, and having a somewhat musty smell to them, this is an good indication that it’s time to call a professional dryer vent cleaner. You may also be noticing that you are having to run your laundry loads through more than one drying cycle for them to dry completely. Another telltale sign that the dryer vent needs to be cleaned is when you are noticing a lot of lint inside the dryer door after the load has completed drying. If you have noticed these signs, it may very well be worth the money to have a professional dryer vent cleaning company come out to take a look.
The dryer vent cleaning professionals will perform an inspection of the dryer itself, and of the venting system, to determine if the vents do in fact require cleaning. If so, they will perform the necessary cleaning, giving homeowners peace of mind that the risk of fire has been taken care of, as well as allowing their dryer to perform efficiently once again. This will save a lot of wear and tear on the dryer and its heating element, making your appliance last longer. It will also reduce the amount of energy needed to perform clothes drying, therefore, saving you money on your utility bills.
There are also several things homeowners can do on their own to help ensure the safety of their dryer and the cleanliness of the vents. First of all, do not use flexible dryer vent hoses. These are not recommended for use with clothes dryers, as the accordion style allows for much flexing and bending, and the folding areas allow for much lint to become trapped. They can also easily become crushed, further restricting the flow of air, leading to overheating. Instead, install a semi-rigid metal hose, and minimize the length of the exhaust ductthat leads outside of the building. Make the venting as straight and short as possible to reduce the risk of lint buildup as well as reduction of air flow. Another important factor is to allow enough space behind the dryer for the venting. Make sure not to crush the venting by trying to get the machine as close to the wall as possible, as this can crush or bend the dryer vent and cut off the air flow.
Dryer vent cleaning at home should also be performed on a regular basis. Before and after each load of laundry, make sure to check the lint trap and remove any remaining lint. This is especially important after a heavy, fluffy load such as towels, which can almost completely fill the lint trap. Also, make sure to check the outside vent area on a regular basis, to make sure the trap door of the vent is unobstructed and free from lint buildup as well. Another measure you can take at home is to unplug the machine periodically and vacuum around and behind it, and with an attachment, vacuum off the lint trap screen as well a place the hose attachment as far as possible into the lint trap area to remove any remaining lint. Even with regular home vent cleaning, it is still a wise idea to have a professional dryer vent cleaner take a look at your machine every one to three years.
Regular dryer vent cleaning can greatly reduce the risk of dryer fires, as well as make your dryer operate more efficiently. By keeping your dryer running at top performance, you also create shorter drying times which reduce the amount of energy used. This not only saves the homeowner money on electricity and gas expenses, but also keeps the dryer running better, for a longer period of time without requiring replacement. If your dryer is still eventually drying your laundry, but yet does not appear to be performing as well as it once did, chances are you do not need a new dryer, but rather, a professional dryer vent cleaning.