Should You Clean Your Dryer Vent?
Most of our homes have washers and dryers, they are probably one of the most used and abused appliances that we have. Little thought is often given to their maintenance.
Both the washer and dryer should be regularly looked over for any problems. The one part of the drying system that is most overlooked is the vent. This is the piping that carries the exhaust air from the dryer to the outside of the building.
The air that is exhausted from the dryer is wet and carries the lint from the clothing. This combination of moisture and lint will eventually clog the venting. A clogged vent could cause several serious problems.
- Because of the decreased air flow the dryer will be less efficient. It will take longer to dry a load of clothes, sometimes taking several cycles to finish the job.
- Carbon monoxide could back up into a home. If a dryer vent becomes so clogged it will not be able to discharge the air.
- If a dyer vent is clogged the excess lint could overheat and could cause a fire. This happens more than people would think.
So the cleaning of a dryer vent is vital to the efficient running of the appliance and the safety of your house.
A dryer vent should regularly be taken apart and cleaned. Many times this will only mean pulling out some loose lint and debris. In an extreme case you will need a brush to clean the inside of the piping. If you are not comfortable with this you should call a professional.
Several reasons that some vents will contain more lint than others are:
- Putting clothes that are too wet into the dryer. The extra moisture will collect in the vent and collect the lint to the side walls of the venting.
- Venting that is too long. Dryers can only exhaust the air so far, so the lint will collect as the air slows down.
- Too many elbows on the exhaust vent will also slow the air down. Any condition that will keep the vent from exhausting easily is a problem.
- Venting that has screws attaching the joints. This will catch any lint hit’s the screws. These screws must be removed and clamps or foil tape used to hold the pipe together.
- Vinyl flexible venting will overheat and hold onto the lint. This venting is illegal, it should be replaced with aluminum flexible pipe or rigid piping.
- The vent termination (hood) is obstructed or crushed, this will slow the exhaust down.
Any of these conditions should be repaired by you or a professional.
Remember that these dryer vents need regular maintenance for the good of your home and the dryer’s efficiency. It’s one thing that we moms overlook most of the times.