How Do I Get Started with Cleaning My Dryer Vent Ducts?
Why Dryer Ducts Need to Be Cleaned
The U.S. Fire Administration has done studies, which have shown, that every year more than 2,900 home fires are started from clothes dryers, and the most typical leading cause of these fires is a buildup of lint due to lack of easy proper maintenance from the owner.
Every load of laundry that passes through your washing machine and onto your dryer contains lint. Lint is small particles of cloth and fiber that get loosened from your clothes by the aggressive and agitating shaking of the water in your washing machine.
As we pointed out above, the lint filter in your dryer, that you remove and clean lint from, cannot catch every piece of lint. Also as we mentioned above, the lint that does makes it past the filter usually gets caught somewhere along with the dryer ductwork, however, it can also get trapped in crevices deep inside the lint filter.
If any lint is trapped outside of your filter, it will most likely make its way to the outside vent opening. If the lint begins to accumulate or builds up, it will eventually restrict air from properly flowing through, which can and will most likely lead to overheating and could potentially ignite the lint itself.
Below, we have a few warning signs that you should be on the lookout for if you believe dangerous lint buildup has occurred in your ductwork, if you do experience any of these signs, we highly recommend that you receive a thorough cleaning from one of our highly experienced HVAC technicians:
- Clothes take longer to dry or don’t dry fully
- Clothes are hotter than normal at the end of the drying cycle
- Outside of dryer gets very hot
- Outside exhaust vent flapper does not open very much, indicating low exhaust velocity
- Laundry room becomes more humid than usual
- Burnt smell is evident in the laundry room
The ductwork that connects dryers to outside vents used to be typically composed of flexible plastic or metal foil, however, they are now forbidden by most local building codes.
These vent tubes were popular for a few different reasons. One of the most typical reasons was because they were easy to route in difficult areas, however, what people weren’t aware of for a long time, was that because their inside surfaces are ribbed, lint can easily get caught or attached and cause fires if they begin overheating.
Your home most likely doesn’t have one of these, however, if you do have one of these flexible ducts installed, we highly recommend that you try and replace it with metal ductwork that does not have ridges, and is approved for this use. This being said, if you do have this ductwork and are unable to either remove or replace it, then we highly recommend that you take proper care of it, by cleaning it regularly from one end to the other.