Dryer vent cleaning is one of the many professional services that is offered at Griffith Energy Services. Homeowners in Cheverly, Maryland might see this service offering and wonder: Do your dryer vents really need to be cleaned?
The short answer is yes because, without regular cleaning, your dryer vents can become one of the most dangerous fire hazards in your home. Below, you will find everything you need to know about dryer vent cleaning, including answers to a few frequently asked questions.
How Often Do Dryer Vents Need to Be Cleaned?
Dryer vents should be cleaned at least once a year. Many experts recommend having your dryer vents cleaned twice per year to be safe. However, the exact frequency depends on the size of your vents and how often use your dryer gets.
The more often you use your dryer, the faster lint and other debris will build up in your vents. Therefore, if you are running your dryer every day, you may want to schedule three or four cleanings per year. Also, keep in mind that narrow vents will need to be cleaned more often than wide vents, as they can get clogged much more easily.
Why Do Dryer Vents Need to Be Cleaned?
Safety is the most important reason to have your dryer vents cleaned regularly. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, dryers are responsible for roughly 2,900 fires, 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million of property damage each year. Failure to clean the dryer vents is the leading cause of these fires.
So how do these fires happen? No matter how efficient your dryer’s lint trap is, it simply cannot and will not catch all of the lint your dryer produces. Inevitably, small particles of lint will become airborne and make their way into the vents. Over time, the lint buildup in your vents will begin to restrict the airflow and cause a variety of problems:
- The moist lint lining your vents can form the perfect environment for harmful biological growth.
- If you have a gas dryer, dirty vents make it more difficult for carbon monoxide to exit your home.
- The air restriction caused by lint buildup forces your dryer to work harder to dry your clothes, leading to longer dry times.
- The added strain on your dryer can cause it to overheat and break down.
- When your dryer overheats, the highly flammable lint in the dryer vents can catch fire, putting your home and family at risk.
How Can You Tell If Your Vents Need to Be Cleaned?
With carbon monoxide poisoning, fire, and appliance failure topping the list of potential hazards, it is clear that lint buildup isn’t something you should take lightly. Fortunately, by staying vigilant and scheduling regular dryer vent cleanings, homeowners can avoid these worst-case scenarios.
First, monitor how long it takes your clothes to dry. If a normal cycle (35-45 minutes) fails to dry your clothes completely, clogged dryer vents could be to blame. You may also notice that your clothes smell musty.
Second, watch for signs that the dryer is overheating. If the top of the dryer, the room the dryer is in, or your dried clothes feel excessively hot, your dryer is working harder than it should.
Third, check the lint trap and outside dryer vent opening. Debris accumulating in either location is a red flag. Also, if the vent flap stays shut throughout the drying cycle, then you know the airflow is restricted.
Finally, keep track of how long it’s been since your last dryer vent cleaning. Even if you haven’t noticed any of the other signs, your vents need to be cleaned at least once a year.
What Are the Benefits of Frequent Dryer Vent Cleanings?
Frequently cleaning your dryer vents offers benefits beyond fire prevention. Those with a gas dryer will lower their risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, a serious indoor air quality concern. Frequent cleanings can also save you money by improving your dryer’s efficiency. Your clothes will dry faster, and your monthly energy bills will decrease. Finally, your dryer will last longer. Free from the extra strain of clogged vents, your dryer will be less likely to break down and require an expensive repair or replacement.
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