Everything You Need to Know about Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

May 14 2019

Here’s a scary statistic: each year there are 2,900 home fires caused by laundry dryers, resulting in an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage.

Now for some good news. It’s very easy to prevent the leading cause of dryer fires by keeping your dryer vent clean. In this article, we’ll explain how to do that.

What you’ll need:

  • Vacuum with a crevice tool
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Dryer vent brush (found at most home improvement stores)

What causes dryer fires in home?

Most dryer fires occur when lint gets trapped in the vent, which restricts the dryer’s airflow and can catch on fire. The lint trap of your dryer catches most of the lint that comes off your clothes, but it needs to be cleaned and some particles still get through and can cause a blockage in the vent line or exterior vent outlet.

Some signs that there is a lint blockage in your dryer vent include:

  • A burning smell coming from dryer or vent
  • Clothes taking longer to dry than normal
  • The machine is hot to the touch
  • Low airflow coming from the outside vent

How to clean your dryer vent

  1. Remove lint from filter – Before running a load of laundry in the dryer, make sure you clean out the lint filter. This is usually located on the front of the machine. You should be able to slide it out and remove the layer of lint with your hands.
  2. Vacuum lint trap – While you have the lint filter removed, use the crevice tool of your vacuum to suck up any lint that is stuck in the lint trap.
  3. Clear our dryer vent – Pull your dryer away from the wall. At the bottom of the machine is the dryer vent. Using a flathead screwdriver, loosen the clamps that hold the metal rings that attach the vent pipe to the vent outlet of the dryer. Once detached, hold the vent pipe vertically and use the dryer vent brush to clean out the line. Use the vacuum to remove any remaining lint.
  4. Clean exterior vent – Locate the vent cover on the exterior of your home. Use the dryer vent brush to clean out the opening, removing any lin that may have collected.
  5. Reconnect and run your dryer – When reconnecting, be sure the clamps are securely fastening the vent line the vent outlet of the machine. Run the dryer for 15 minutes to push out any final loose particles.

Other precautions to prevent a dryer fire.

Your home is also at a higher fire risk if your dryer vent is not set up properly. Examples of improper installations include vent lines that are too long (these allow more room for lint to get trapped), low-quality foil duct extenders, and squeezing the vent line by pushing your dryer too close to the wall.

By taking the necessary precautions and performing routine maintenance to your dryer, you can reduce your risk of having a fire.

At Emergency Plumbing & Solar, we want everyone to be comfortable and safe in their homes. Whether you need help with a single clogged drain or a complete home remodel, we’re happy to lend our expertise. Give us a call today at (808) 691-9309.