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3 Tips for Keeping Your Dryer Vent Clean

Clogged dryer vents are not just an inconvenience, but they can be a safety hazard as well. If your dryer vent isn't cleaned properly it can result in laundry loads that don't dry completely. It can also lead to longer drying times which can drive up your utility bill faster than you may imagine. After all, dryers are one of the most energy-draining appliances in the home. A clean dryer vent will let your machine operate more efficiently, cutting down on the electric bill and ensuring your clothes get dry the first time.

Lint buildup can also create a serious fire hazard. Thousands of house fires are started every year as the result of a dryer malfunction. Here are 3 tips to help keep your dryer vents clean, your home safe, and your machine operating at peak efficiency:

1. Maintain the Lint Trap

Good dryer maintenance should start with your lint trap. It's important to clean it out between each load whether you think it's necessary or not. Since clothing lint is extremely flammable it's important to avoid any accumulation of the stuff, and the lint trap by design is where most of it gets caught. A blocked dryer vent can also have a negative impact on the movement of air which can decrease your dryer's efficiency.

In addition to clearing the trap, it's important to occasionally use a soft brush on the catcher as well. Simply run the brush over the soft mesh of the removable insert to clear out any bits that get stuck there and to remove any residue from dryer sheets that may affect the trap.

Don't forget the trap housing too! Most people overlook this part, but it's important to clear the lint out of the housing for the trap as well. Run over this area with a brush as well, using a slight twisting motion to pick up any hard-to-get pieces. A vacuum cleaner can be used to pull the lint out of the brush and to remove any larger lint deposits from the housing. A Lint Alert will let you know when it is time to clean your vents again with flashing lights to indicate the air flow.

2. Keep the Duct Clear

When it comes to cleaning a dryer vent, another area that is often overlooked is the dryer duct. If you're keeping your lint trap clear, small particles and bits of lint can get sucked through the mesh trap and get lodged in the hose that leads to the vent. This build up can turn into a fire hazard if it gets out of hand. It can also clog up the vent which will keep the hot air from being properly expelled. This block in airflow is what slows down your dryer's heating speed leading to longer cycles and clothes that never seem to finish drying.

Fortunately keeping this duct clean is pretty simple. First, unplug your dryer from the main electrical outlet - this is always an important first step when performing any dryer maintenance. Then pull your dryer out from the wall and disconnect your duct from the dryer and from the wall vent. Remove any clumps of lint by hand and use your brush from earlier to wipe down the parts you can reach. Be sure to check both end of the hose and to remove any lint caught in the wall vent as well.

This only needs to be done occasionally. A good way to see if your duct needs clearing is to watch the outside of your wall vent while a cycle is running. If air hot doesn't seem to be flowing from the vent freely then it's probably time for a cleaning

3. Know When to Call a Professional

No matter how well maintained your dryer is, it's still a heavily used machine that will eventually need some professional maintenance. Just as cleaning it yourself can prolong the efficiency of your dryer, having it properly inspected and cleaned by a professional can keep it from prematurely breaking down all together. Professionals have more expertise and better equipment and so will be able to clean your dryer vent more thoroughly than you can on your own.

You may need to call a professional if you've already done everything to ensure a clean dryer vent, but your machine is still:

  • Not drying clothes properly

  • Taking a long time to complete a cycle

  • Seems to be overly warm on the top

  • Is leaving a bad smell on your clothes after a cycle

  • Is making any strange noises while running

If you need a professional to come fix a dryer, perform routine maintenance, or clean a dryer vent, contact HomeSafe Dryer Vent Cleaning. We have been cleaning, repairing, improving and installing dryer vents across North Texas since 2009. Call HomeSafe today for professional dryer vent service!

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