Dryer vent cleaning is necessary to ensure that line of ductwork is clear of debris such as highly flammable dryer lint or other debris to reduce the risk of fire. If your dryer is not drying clothes properly, there are a couple of things you can do before calling a professional. First of all identify where your dryer vents to the outside and check for obvious clogs in the vent. This may not be so easy if you’re living in an apartment or townhome, but we have some advice for you too.
Have you ever noticed the tube coming from the back of your dryer? Wondering where that goes? Do you have a vent on the outside that you’re not sure of the purpose? It’s probably your dryer vent. The heat builds up in the dryer and has to have a place to vent. It’s also the place excess dryer lint goes when you don’t clean the filter after every use. If you can locate this ductwork and follow it to where it vents to the outside, you can visually inspect the elements to see if you need a cleaning. This will be easier to check in a single dwelling home than an apartment or townhome, but it is not impossible.
First make sure your duct work is free of tears or disconnection. A disconnected line is the easiest thing to identify and fix. It is just what it sounds like: your ductwork line has disconnected somewhere along the line. A disconnected or downed duct line is not the end of the world. Just reconnect the duct line. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is replace the duct with a longer tube as this is the reason most of the duct lines become disconnected in the first place. Disconnects must be repaired before any professional cleaning is done.
Disconnects are often the first sign of trouble with apartment or multi-dwelling style home such as town houses or apartments. This is because this style of dwelling often vent their dryer lines up through an attic space which can make it difficult to locate the downed ductwork. These spaces should be inspected regularly to make sure everything is connected. Disconnected duct lines can lead to a buildup of highly flammable dryer lint in enclosed spaces, a serious fire risk.
A rip or tear in a line may also be responsible. Tears in the ductwork can usually be fixed temporarily with electrical tape, but need to be replaced as soon as possible. Replacing the duct is not a big deal either since these flexible ducts are readily available and not expensive. Downed or torn ducts can cause other problems such as water damage when water pools in the excess space or mold from the cold air escaping. These are usually signs something is going on with your ductwork.
Next, locate where the dryer vents to the outside. In most single family homes, the dryer is vented directly to the outside by a short flexible duct that attaches to the back of the dryer. In multi-family dwellings, however, such as apartments or townhomes, the dryer is often vented up through the ceiling into the attic. This is convenient, but can cause other problems in the home such as water damage and mold. If you see these signs, it is likely the result of a downed or dirty line. Dryers that vent through an attic have more chance of becoming clogged or disconnected because they are venting up instead of directly out.
Once you’ve located the outside vent, inspect the vent for dirt and clogs. It’s not unusual for rodents to make a home in the outside vent, and if this has happened, it’s definitely time for a good cleaning.The first thing to do after you’ve located your vents and ducts and checked for obvious clogs, is to observe the air flow from the vent. This is while your dryer is running. If you don’t feel any air flow, chances are you have a clog somewhere deeper in the line or disconnected line.
Before calling a professional, you can attempt to clean your dryer vent by following these steps: unplug the dryer. Disconnect the dryer duct. Use a circular brush to clean the inside of the flexible dust. Vacuum the smaller debris and any debris that has fallen out into your home. Reconnect the duct and plug in the dryer.
A professional cleaning should cost somewhere between one and two hundred dollars for a thorough job. This may be the only option for apartment dwellers if your ductwork goes up through the walls and into the ceiling. Talk to the property owner about your options.
Whether you do it yourself or call a professional, dryer vent maintenance should be part of your semi-annual or annual cleaning. Not only will this keep your dryer running correctly, it will extend the life of your dryer and ensure you get all the good out of it. Plus it will reduce the risk of fire and keep your home running well.
Dryer not drying your clothes properly? Before you call a professional, you might want to check your dryer vent and duct work. Lint and other debris can get into the vent and connecting duct, clogging it and preventing the dryer from functioning like it should. Not only is this a serious fire hazard, it may be damaging your dryer and causing other house problems.
Dryer vent cleaning should actually be part of your regular home maintenance, but I bet you never heard of it. Like cleaning out the lint trap after every use, making sure your dryer vent and duct are free of dangerous debris should be part of your annual home check up. Cleaning out the vent will help keep your dryer running longer, extend the life of your dryer, and lessen the risk of dryer fire.
Dryer lint is highly flammable, which is why it’s so important to clean the lint trap with each use. Thoroughly or professionally cleaning your dryer’s vent once or twice a year may also help extend the life of your dryer and keep it performing up to standard.
How do you locate your dryer vent? There is a flexible duct line on the back of your dryer that leads from the dryer to the outside vent. In most single-family dwellings, this just vents directly to an outside wall. Follow the line of duct work until you find your exterior vent. If the vent is blowing little or no air while the dryer is running, chances are you have a clog or disconnected line.
If you can access the outside vent, you can inspect it visually and manually to assess whether there is an obvious clog. Sometimes outside vents are the homes of little critters too, so there’s a chance you’ve had a little visitor in your duct work. If so, it’s definitely time for a good cleaning.
How do you know if your vent needs cleaning? The first sign is usually that it takes clothes twice or even three times as long to dry as normal. They may not dry at all if the vent is severely clogged. If your clothes are drying, they may be getting too hot, or the dryer itself is getting too hot with each cycle. Another sign is a burning smell coming from the dryer or clothes. You may want to cease use until you get the vent cleaned out.
How do you clean the dryer vent? You can try it yourself or contact a professional air duct company. It should cost you between one hundred and two hundred dollars to get it cleaned professionally, but they will do a really thorough job. Here are the steps if you want to try it yourself:
Unplug the dryer and disconnect the dryer duct. Use a vacuum to clean the back of the dryer and any lint or debris that has fallen out. Dryer lint is highly flammable so it is extra important that you clear all of it from the line and from any area it may have gotten into your home. Brush out the duct with a soft circular brush to knock debris loose then vacuum for smaller contaminants. Reconnect the duct and dryer.
A professional air duct cleaning company will bring a high powered vacuum and a flexible whip brush to clean the inside of ducts. If you decide to go with a professional, make sure they are licensed and insured. Most companies do a free inspection and estimate so don’t let disreputable contractors take advantage of you.
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