Thousands of house fires every year are attributed to clothes dryer fires, and it’s something that probably doesn’t even cross your mind that often! We all remember to check the lint trap after a load of laundry, but do you think about the vent to the outside?
Most of these fires be attributed to a simple lack of maintenance, so don’t skip this step! When’s the last time you checked yours? Not cleaning your lint trap and dryer vent is not only a fire hazard, but a full vent increases your drying time, resulting in a higher utility bill too! If your laundry is taking longer to dry, or the top of your dryer is hot after drying, you need to check your vent ASAP.
The lint filter inside catches most of the lint, but some small pieces inevitably sneak past and get stuck in the dryer duct crevices, restricting airflow when enough build up, and then can result in overheating. As you can imagine, with enough heat, you can start a fire. Vents should be cleaned at least once a year, more often if you have more people in your home and do more laundry. This is a great “spring cleaning” project!
Here are 5 easy steps to prevent this problem:
- Locate your exhaust duct outside – follow the ductwork behind your dryer if you’re not sure where it exits.
- Disconnect the dryer- UNPLUG, then remove the vent pipe from the back. If you’re unsure, or have a natural gas dryer, call a professional to be safe! Pull it away from the wall for easier access.
- Get to cleaning- buy a cheap dryer vent cleaning kit to make it easier. Using the hose attachment on your vacuum or a shop vac works to!
- Tidy up & Reconnect – clean up all the lint you pushed out, and put everything back. However, if your dryer used a soft foil vent to link to the wall, get rid of it. These are a known risk. Use a 90° aluminum elbow.
- Pat yourself on the back and test your dryer – now put this on your calendar to repeat the same time next year!
When in doubt, you can totally hire a dryer vent cleaning service too! Always remember to clean your lint trap with every load of laundry, and even vacuum the lint filter from time to time! All of these things will not only make your dryer more efficient, but prevent dryer vent fires.