Although maintaining a properly cleaned dryer vent is essential to the safety and well-being of every homeowner, it is one of the most frequently neglected home maintenance tasks. Each year, over 25,000 fires begin in the home as a result of a clogged dryer vent. The most common culprit for this problem is lint, and the more lint that is blocking your vents, the greater the likelihood that your home will have a dryer-related fire. In addition, the blockage raises your monthly energy bill anywhere from $18-25 per month, since it takes more energy for the machine to completely dry your linens. Simply cleaning a dryer vent is not only a great way to cut down on the potential for disaster in your home, it is also an extremely good move for your wallet.
The purpose of a dryer is not just the quick heating of clothing, helping to avoid the accumulation of mildew, but to eliminate the moisture that is released as the wet linens are heated. The moisture is removed from the clothing and sent outside the home through the dryer’s vent system. When that system is clogged or otherwise malfunctioning, clothing and linens will not dry in the appropriate amount of time. If you need to run your dryer for more than one full cycle in order to assure all the water has been removed from the contents, chances are good that you have a clogged vent. In some cases, the moisture will accumulate and leak out of the unit, accounting for large puddles on the floor. If you notice signs of this, the appliance’s duct work should be immediately examined clean dryer vent.
In most cases, it’s a good idea to have your dryer’s duct work professionally cleaned, rather than attempting to do it yourself. Many times, the duct work isn’t easily accessible, and if a homeowner isn’t experienced in cleaning the system, it may do more harm than good. In older dryers, the ducts tend to be made of plastic, vinyl, made of foil, or shaped like an accordion. Through the course of the years, studies have shown that these types of ducts play a huge role in the development of dryer fires, and it is recommended that homeowners replace them with smooth, straight metal ductwork.
By having a professional attend to your laundry room and appliances once or twice a year, you greatly reduce the risk of fire and other damage to your home as a result of a dryer that isn’t working properly. All you have to remember to do is to empty the lint trap!