Dyer Vent Cleaning - Prevent a Fire by Cleaning Your Dryer Vent
By John Mctighe
Did you know--- Only 60% of the lint is captured in the lint trap of residential and commercial clothes dryers. The other 40% is vented outside. Over time, the damp lint accumulates to the inside of the duct. The result is like a clogged pipe that becomes more restricted over time which can cause a fire hazard! According to the National Fire Protection Association, 16,000 fires start in the laundry room each year.
Also, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 84.4 million in property damage annually. This is a reality that needs to be taken seriously. The State Fire Marshal recommends that your dryer vent be cleaned or inspected once a year to ensure your safety.
Here are some signs your dryer vent might need cleaning:
- If it takes longer than one cycle for your clothes to dry, or the clothes are very hot after drying, this is a good sign your vent needs cleaning.
- If the clothes have a musty smell after drying.
- If your dryer shuts off or stops during a cycle, the element may be getting too hot from the duct restriction.
- If there is a great deal of lint escaping from the back of the dryer.
- If the outside vent has lint covering the outside of the vent cover.
Here are the benefits of a clean dryer vent:
So, how do you go about cleaning your dryer vent. Here are the steps if you plan to do it yourself.
- Reduce laundry drying times
- Avoid dryer element replacement costs
- Improve the quality of dried clothes
- Save money on utility bills
- Prevent a dryer fire!
1. Get the right tools. For this job you will need a shop vac and extension hose of at least 10 to 15 feet, depending on the length of the dryer vent outside to your dryer. Next, you will need a flexible cable with a brush on the end (can be found online) to snake through the duct, and finally, a dust mask and gloves to protect yourself from the airborne lint.
2. Disconnect your dryer from the flexible duct and clean the back of the dryer and any lint that has accumulated under the dryer. Check the flexible duct and replace it with a new one if it is damaged or has holes. The first part of the process will involve running the flexible cable and vacuum from the inside of the house by your dryer. The second part of the process involves the same thing only from the outside by your dryer vent that goes to the outside.
3. Run the flexible snake with brush through the dryer vent duct as far as you can go, be careful not to push past any turns or angles that might cause the cable to get stuck in the ductwork, otherwise you will have a difficult time getting it out. Vacuum out the loose lint with the shop vac and hose. Run the hose as far into the duct as you can go.
4. Locate where your dryer vents to the outside of the house. Remove any dryer vent hardware to access the duct.
5. Repeat the process from the outside, running your flexible cable into the duct (toward the dryer) and vacuum out the loose lint. Follow this by hooking the dryer back up to the flexible duct inside the house and turn the dryer on, any remaining lint will blow out of the duct. Finally, replace any hardware on the outside of the house.
You may be surprised by the amount of lint you vacuum out. In some cases you might remove several POUNDS of lint. In any case, you will save yourself the chance of a fire disaster, and keep your dryer running smooth for years to come.
John McTighe has 15 years of experience in the cleaning and maintenance business. If you have would like any information on dryer vent cleaning you can visit his blog at Cleaning and Maintenance. Also, you can visit their web site at Dryer Vent Cleaning for more articles and resources about the subject. Mr. McTighe resides in Fargo, ND.
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