How Often To Clean Dryer Vent

Clean Dryer Vent
By | May 30, 2024
5 min read
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Imagine: you load the laundry into the dryer, start it up, and then… nothing. The dryer doesn’t work. You check the fuses and the plug, but it’s useless. Finally, you call a repairman and he finds the cause: the dryer vent is clogged.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem that can lead to serious consequences. In 2017, the U.S. National Fire Protection Agency conducted a study and found that between 2010 and 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 15,970 yearly home fires that involved dryers or washing machines. The data also showed that these fires caused an average of 13 deaths, 444 civilian injuries, and $238 million in direct property damage.

Most of these fires could have been prevented if dryer vents were cleaned regularly. A clogged vent prevents hot air from escaping, which can cause the dryer to overheat and result in a fire. Additionally, a clogged vent reduces the dryer’s efficiency, leading to higher energy costs.

So, how often should you clean the dryer vent? Our experts shared their opinions. Read on to find out more.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dryer Vent?

How often should a dryer vent be cleaned? The necessity to clean a dryer vent varies and is influenced by several factors but generally takes place annually. Key variables that determine the cleaning schedule include:

  • Laundry Volume: The more laundry loads you have per week, the more frequently the vent should be cleaned.
  • Vent System Characteristics: The length of the vent, the number of bends, and the type and configuration of the transition vent behind the dryer all impact the buildup of lint and debris.
  • Home Environment: Homes with pets or high lint-producing clothes may require more frequent cleaning.

Properties like summer homes or cottages may not require frequent cleaning and can extend beyond the typical 3-year period. Systems used more rigorously, or those with longer vents might need cleaning every 6 to 9 months to maintain efficiency and safety.

We also recommend considering more frequent cleaning if:

  • You have a large family that requires multiple daily loads;
  • There are pets in the home;
  • There are frequent purchases of new clothing, which often lead to increased lint;
  • The laundry mainly consists of bulky items like blankets and towels.

You should know that some manufacturers stipulate annual cleaning of the vent system to keep the appliance warranty valid. Always check the specific requirements for your dryer model.

As homeowners like you, we know all too well how easy it is to put off or remember certain home maintenance tasks, especially if they seem unimportant. We’ve given you the answer to the question “How often to get the dryer vent cleaned?” but you won’t be able to give this process the full value it deserves until you understand its necessity. So let’s take a look at why cleaning your dryer vent is important and what signs you need to pay special attention to when it’s time to book a service.

Why Should You Clean Your Dryer Vent?

As a professional dryer vent cleaning company, we come across countless homeowners who underestimate the importance of dryer vent cleaning. While it may seem like a simple job, neglecting your dryer vent can lead to a host of problems, both for your home and your health. Why is it so? A clogged dryer vent restricts airflow, forcing the dryer to work harder to push hot air out. This leads to longer drying times, increased wear and tear on the dryer, and higher energy bills. A clean dryer vent will allow your dryer to operate more efficiently, saving you money and extending the life of your appliance.

Did you know that clogged dryer vents can cause mold in your home? Due to excessive lint, the dryer cannot ventilate properly, trapping moisture inside, thus creating an ideal environment for mold growth. The flourishing of this fungus and the lint and dust that gets back into the house through clogged vents significantly degrades the air quality and are extremely harmful to your health (especially if you suffer from asthma or allergies). 

However, a fire hazard is the worst thing you can face by neglecting to clean your dryer vents regularly. The statistics above speak for themselves. What is the main cause of these fires? Let’s find out.

What causes a fire in a tumble dryer?

One of the most common causes of dryer fires is lint buildup. Lint is a highly flammable material that can accumulate not only on the specialized filter but also in the drum and dryer vents. A dryer machine has a gas or electric heater that heats the clothes and the water in them, thereby drying them. When the machine’s vents become clogged, air cannot escape, which can cause the lint to catch fire. It only takes a few moments for a blaze to break out. That’s why it’s important to clean your dryer regularly, including the drum, the exhaust vent, and any other potential lint accumulation areas. 

However, there are also other causes of dryer fires: improperly installed piping; insufficient maintenance of the dryer and worn-out components that can lead to overheating; and failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the machine (such as covering the dryer with a cloth on top).

How do you know if your dryer vent is clogged?

It’s actually quite simple. Pay attention to your clothes – if they are still slightly damp after the drying cycle, this indicates insufficient airflow in the dryer and the vents and possible clogging. Another obvious indicator of a clogged dryer vent is lint around the vent or on the outer vent cover.

What Signs Can Indicate That You Need Emergency Dryer Vent Cleaning?

Regular, scheduled dryer vent cleaning can help you avoid many problems and save you time and money. However, if you haven’t done so before, there are a few red flags that may indicate that you need professional help (or that your dryer vent needs attention sooner than scheduled):

  • Clothes are taking longer to dry or do not dry at all;
  • The outside exhaust is not completely open;
  • The dryer and the clothing are excessively warm to the touch;
  • Burnt smell in the laundry room;
  • Visible lint buildup around the dryer hose or outside vent opening;
  • The dryer stops after a few minutes of the cycle;
  • Increase in energy bills attributed to the laundry cycle.

Is your dryer not working as it should? Find out more about possible causes and solutions in our blog post “What to Do if Dryer is not Drying”.

Why Should You Rely on Professionals to Clean Dryer Vents?

Although you can find many guides for manually cleaning dryer vents, there are several reasons why you should opt for professional services. First of all, this is a rather complicated process that requires attention and certain knowledge. Before starting the cleaning process, experts examine your appliance and determine whether it runs on electricity or gas. This is important because if your dryer is gas-fired, you need to turn off the gas supply valve during cleaning and be careful not to damage the flexible gas line when moving the appliance. Besides, our long-term experience has shown that when people without the proper knowledge and tools try to clean the dryer themselves, they can inadvertently damage the dryer vent, or the brush gets stuck inside, resulting in higher replacement costs.

Professional dryer vent cleaners have the proper training and equipment to remove all lint and debris from the vent, including hard-to-reach areas. The tools used by professionals offer a thorough cleaning that goes beyond what can be achieved with regular household tools. They will also check the vent for damage and make sure it is properly sealed. Hiring a professional to clean your dryer vent is the best way to guarantee a safe and efficient cleaning process. Green Ductors’ certified team has over 8 years of experience in the industry to help make your life easier and safer!

Conclusion

Cleaning the dryer vent is a vital aspect of home maintenance that should not be overlooked. By regularly servicing your dryer vent, you can ensure the safety of your home and family by reducing the risks associated with a clogged vent. Moreover, it can help you prolong the life of your dryer and reduce utility bills in the long run. 

“How often should I clean my dryer vent?”. Aim for at least an annual cleaning, but adjust the frequency depending on your household’s clothing drying needs and the signs of lint buildup. Keeping your dryer vent clean is an important step in maintaining a safe and efficient home. Green Ductors’ professional team is ready to help you!

If you found this article helpful, consider sharing it with friends and family to spread awareness about the importance of dryer vent maintenance. 

The founder, CEO, and author of articles for the Green Ductors blog. Dedicated to his work, Dmytro strives to make people more aware of the importance of maintaining the best possible air quality. By treating readers like friends, he communicates even the most complex information in an easy-to-understand way to make your reading experience not only useful but also enjoyable. Check out the articles written by the hand of our founder Dmytro.

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