As a homeowner, you understand the importance of cleaning your gutters, changing your air filters and properly maintaining your lawn. But how much time do you spend cleaning your dryer vent? If you’re like the average homeowner, the answer is probably, “not much.”
Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, nearly 15,000 structural fires occur each year as a result of an issue with a clothes dryer, and clogged, dirty dryer vents cause 80% of the fires.
Warning signs that it’s time to clean your vent
- Clothes are taking much longer than normal to dry. It will often take two or three cycles to dry them.
- Clothes have a strange, burning smell to them. This could be a sign that your dryer vent isn’t properly able to ventilate the warm air out of the appliance.
- The laundry room feels excessively hot when the dryer is running. Again, this could be a result of a clogged vent that isn’t letting hot air escape.
Problems caused by a clogged dryer vent
- Fires. The lint from your clothes can build up inside the dryer vent. This material is highly flammable and can cause a fire.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. When the dryer vent is clogged, dangerous CO gases aren’t able to escape. Instead, they build up inside the vent and may seep out into the laundry room and into other areas of the home.
- Wear and tear on the dryer. When it takes two or three cycles to get your clothes dried, this puts a lot of strain on your dryer. It can lead to excessive wear and tear on the unit.
- Skyrocketing utility bills. A dryer that is running more often than it should to dry clothes will use a lot of energy. This will be reflected on your monthly utility bills.
Dryer maintenance tasks can be handled by the average homeowner. Be sure to clean the lint out of the lint trap between each drying cycle. Regularly clean the dryer’s vent cap on the exterior of your home. Call a dryer cleaning professional to have them maintain your appliance at least once a year.