What is a dryer vent fire and what causes it?
Vent fires are a serious hazard in the home – they account for about a large portion of all house fires. Some sources say between 30-50% of them are caused by the vent being clogged.
Get to know the signs.
- Clothes still damp after the cycle.
- Low setting seems to have zero heat.
- After Cycle the clothes are super hot.
- An off or stinky odor when the drying is done.
If you notice any of these, it is time to give your dryer a service or hire a professional heating company to help you.
Why clogged vents reduce efficiency
Clogged vents lead to reduced efficiency and increased energy costs. This is pretty much an obvious conclusion. Most things, when a part of them is clogged, do not function properly… think arteries, toilets, etc. So why wouldn’t a dryer be the same?
Assuming you have just bought a home, you might want to take this as a first step… take a look at the vent and make sure it has been cleaned recently.
NO ONE WANTS THEIR NEWLY BOUGHT HOME TO BURN TO THE GROUND
…SELL YOUR HOME AND THEN WATCH IT BURN DOWN SOON AFTER.
(It would be horrible to know someone died because you didn’t do one simple task.)
If you are preparing your home to sell, or about to list your home for sale, and including appliances in the sale, doing this is a courtesy that will have the new homeowner thanking you.
A FEW THINGS YOU WILL NEED
- A multi-screwdriver is top notch, some are called 5in1 or 10in1’s. If you don’t have one, get one, no homeowner repair kit/junk drawer is complete without one. Otheriwse just gather a couple phillips screwdrivers, (that is the plus shaped one), and a couple flat head drivers.
How to clean a dryer vent
- The best way to clean a vent is to hire an expert, but if you’re feeling adventurous GO FOR IT!!!
- If your vent has been clogged for a while or it’s really dirty, use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment and hose extension. Otherwise, it might just need a duster. In some cases using a special vent brush that attaches to a drill is needed.
- If there’s no visible blockage remove screws from metal cover on top of duct opening and look inside at what might be stuck in there – this will help determine where to start cleaning.
- Vacuum out any dust that may be blocking airflow through the pipes (use caution notto damage anything,)
- Repeat as needed until things look better.
- Remove the lint catcher screen thing. Every dryer is different.
- Vacuum out the entire area inside, as far as your attachment can reach.
- If you can pull the dryer away from the wall, remove the ducting and take it outside fora good cleaning.
- If you can’t get to the back of the dryer, you may have to go outside and remove the vent cover to clean out the hose duct.
- If this is a second floor dryer vent, hopefully you don’t have to work from the outside.
- Cleaning process varies depending on what you find inside; if nothing is obstructing airflow, then just vacuum out any accumulated lint and debris from inside pipes using attachments available on most vacuums.
- Repeat steps 2-5 as necessary until satisfied with results!
It is really that simple!
OK maybe not. It really depends on how your dryer is hooked up and the size of the room and whether your vent is on the second floor, etc.
IN SOME CASES YOU WILL NEED A LADDER
We recommend that you only use a ladder if you are comfortable and have experience, otherwise, ask your son or neighbor, or… you called it… hire a pro.
Preventing clogs in the future
- The importance of regular maintenance for your dryer, including cleaning out the lint trap after every use and checking your ductwork for any blockages or leaks (which can also cause fires!)
- If you have decided to go with a professional cleaning service, don’t forget to schedule one for the future as well. Make a set schedule for your next dryer vent cleaning and you will never have to worry or think about it again.