A dryer vent is one of those things you don’t think about, until something goes wrong! Its job is to trap lint and dust while also letting moisture and heat escape while your clothes are drying. This not only helps your load dry faster, but also protects your house from the consequences of trapped heat.
When heat remains trapped inside your dryer, it can become a serious fire hazard. Combine trapped heat with moisture, and you also create an ideal place for mold and other germs to grow.
While there are basic things you can do to keep the vent clean from day to day, it is important to have dryer vent cleaning be done by a professional. This is the only way to handle dust and lint that fall beyond reach or collect past where you can see it.
Here’s a quick look at how to maintain your dryer vent between professional cleanings. We’ll also review signs it’s time for a cleaning, and how often you should schedule with a professional cleaning company
Maintaining Your Dryer Vent to Keep Your Home Safe
There are a few things you can do to maintain your dryer’s function and safety throughout the year. First, get in the habit of cleaning out the lint trap on your dryer often. While it may not need to be cleaned after every load, you should always clean it out after drying things that are more fluffy. Towels, heavy blankets, or sweaters cause lint to build up in your dryer faster than other things.
The lint trap is your dryer vent’s first line of defense. It catches dust and lint before it has a chance to end up in the dryer vent itself. In some dryers, it looks like an interior drawer whose handle is on the top of the dryer. In others, the lint trap is inside the dryer along the bottom edge of the opening or even along the door itself.
Along with keeping your lint trap clear and clean, you can also make sure the dryer vent is functioning well. To do so, you can pull your dryer off the wall and check on the dryer vent duct. This looks like a shiny tunnel that attaches to the back of your dryer.
While this duct is designed to twist and coil in small areas, you want to make sure it is not kinked in any places. You also want to check that it is fully attached to the back of the dryer. If the duct has come loose from the dryer, it can let all that heat, moisture, and dust blow back into the air.
Cleaning the dryer vent duct and the ductwork that runs through the house to move the heat and moisture outdoors is a complicated task.
Due to the electrical components of the dryer itself, the length and awkward shape of the ductwork, and the possible risks of cleaning it incorrectly, it is best to call a professional for a thorough dryer vent cleaning.
Signs It’s Time to Schedule a Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning
While waiting for things to go wrong is not a good idea, there are things that indicate it’s long past time to schedule a dryer vent cleaning. The first thing to look out for is if your clothes are taking longer and longer to dry. If your lint trap is clear and the problem persists, it can mean that the dryer vent itself is clogged beyond where you can easily reach.
Another thing to pay attention to is how it feels in your laundry room or around your dryer when it’s running. Does it feel humid? Dry heat is normal, but moisture in the air can also be a sign that build up in the vent is preventing the air from flowing through to outside as well as it should.
Other things to look out for are higher energy bills, a burning smell when the dryer is running, or the dryer itself becoming unusually hot to the touch when it’s running. All of these things are signs of a bigger problem that can also become a major fire hazard if it is not taken care of quickly.
How Often Should Your Home or Commercial Dry Vent Be Cleaned?
Now we come to the big question: how often should you schedule a professional dryer vent cleaning? If you are noticing any of the signs above, you need to schedule one right away, regardless of when the last cleaning was completed. But after that, the frequency depends on how often you use your dryer.
For some residences, having their dryer vents professionally cleaned once a year is enough to keep their homes safe. If you have a big family, pets, or run the washer and dryer once a day or more, you may want to schedule a cleaning at least every six months.
Commercial and industrial dryers can actually follow a similar schedule. Dryers built for use beyond the home account for the extra loads and heavy use by also having larger dryer vents and related components for managing dust, lint, heat, and moisture.
If you are unsure how often your dryer needs cleaned, it is best to schedule a consultation with a professional cleaning company. They can assess your machine and your usage then make an appropriate recommendation.
Trust Our Team for Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning and Keep Your Home or Business Safe!
At First Call, our professional dryer vent cleaning team can give your dryer vent the thorough cleaning it needs to improve performance and increase safety. We have the ability to clean multiple vents in the same visit if needed and can set you up on a schedule to be sure your vent stays in good shape.
Make us your first call for any of your professional cleaning and restoration needs!