There are some facets of home maintenance that are automatic, such as having your chimney swept and inspected, and having your furnace tuned and inspected. Dryer vent cleaning, however, often falls by the wayside, either because homeowner question the importance of dryer vent cleaning, struggle to make time for one more service, or simply forget to schedule a dryer vent cleaning appointment. Ignoring your annual dryer vent cleaning and inspection can have disastrous consequences.
Why dryer vent cleaning is necessary
As warm air flows out of your dryer, it carries with it the fine lint particles from your clothing that aren’t caught by the lint screen you clean between each load of laundry. Over time, that lint builds up within your dryer vents. As the lint build up, the hot air can no longer escape from your dryer. The lint overheats and can catch fire, or the carbon monoxide that should be exiting the dryer vent is forced back into your home.
Dryer vents also can become clogged from the outside. Animals can nest inside the dryer vent, or plants can grow up into the vents. The vent flap itself can become stuck, preventing hot air from escaping the dryer.
Because of those dangers, the National Fire Protection Agency recommends having your dryer vents cleaned once a year, more often if you do high quantities of laundry. In fact, it’s estimated that clogged dryer vents cause more than 15,000 house fires each year, leading to more than $230 million in property damage, and more than 50 deaths.
Other benefits of dryer vent cleaning
Clogged dryer vents also cause your dryer to run less efficiently. When your dryer can’t “breathe,” clothes dry more slowly. Clean dryer vents will lead to less time spent drying clothes, which saves you time and lowers your energy bills. Additionally, clogged dryer vents overtax your dryer, which can cause it to fail prematurely. That means clean dryer vents save you money, too!
Signs your dryer vent needs to be cleaned
While dryer vent cleaning is recommended at least once a year, there are indications that your dryer vents are due to be cleaned more frequently. Clogged dryer vents will cause laundry to take longer to dry than normal, your laundry likely will feel hot to the touch when you remove it from the dryer. The laundry room itself may feel overheated when the dryer is running, and you may smell a burning odor. A more subtle sign is that the smell of your fabric softener sheets may seem abnormally strong.
A quick visual inspection also can help you determine if your dryer vent is due for a cleaning. If you see lint blowing from the vent, or if the vent flap isn’t opening while your dryer is running — a sign of proper airflow — your vents should be cleaned immediately.
Call Jack Pixley!
We may be the company you think of for your fireplace and chimney services, but if you can’t remember the last time your dryer vents were cleaned, or if you’ve noticed some of the above problems, call Jack Pixley Sweeps. We can clean your dryer vents, too!