Did you know that a dirty or clogged dryer vent can cost you money? If your vent is full of lint, hair, and dust, there is not enough airflow for your dryer to operate properly. Often, you may need to run your dryer twice to dry a load fully. This means you are paying double the energy costs to dry a single load. But more importantly, a dirty vent is a fire hazard because the lack of airflow can cause the dryer's heating element to overheat and ignite the lint within your vent.
A Clean Dryer Vent Protects Your Home and Family
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 14,000 home fires a year are caused by clothes dryers; and, 27 percent of those fires are caused by dirty vents. Dryer fires cause around $233 million in property damage each year.
How to Clean Your Dryer Vent
Many new dryer models have a check-vent feature. However, you cannot always rely on this notification system to tell you it is time to clean your vent. As the technology will not always alert you until the vent is completely blocked. You should clean your dryer vent at least once a year! If you have a larger family and pets, this should be done biannually.
If you have never cleaned your dryer vent, or it has been a while since you’ve completed this process, here's how:
Locate both ends of your duct. One end of your vent connects to your dryer. The other end is located on the outside wall nearest to where your dryer is installed.
Disconnect your dryer. Before disconnecting the vent hose from your dryer, you need to unplug your dryer. You need to be careful if you have a natural gas dryer not to disturb its gas line. Pull the dryer away from the wall to disconnect the vent.
Get cleaning. Once you have clear access to both ends of your vent, you can go ahead and clean it. There are specialized dryer vent cleaning kits that are reasonably priced and available at most big box home improvement stores. If you have a flexible dryer vent, you should replace it instead of cleaning it.
Clean up and reconnect. As you clean your dryer vent, you are likely to make a big mess. When possible, use a shop vac or a trusty broom and dustpan to clean up the mess. Otherwise, you could clog up your regular household vacuum. Reattach the vent, tighten all connections, plug your dryer back in, and slide it back into place.
Once your dryer vent is cleaned out, you should notice that your dryer will regain its drying power and your cost for operation will significantly decrease.
For more information on household energy savers, check out our blog.