Cleaning Your Dryer Vent: Why It’s Important and How Often
If you are planning to buy a home, you need to consider the life span of the items in the property. You want to know if the items require repairs and what it would cost to undertake such repairs. This is important because the information will give you some guidance in the course of your negotiations for the property. For this, you will need home inspection consultants to assess the items and prepare a detailed report.
One such item in the home is the dryer vent. This article explains why regular cleaning of the dryer vent is important for every homeowner and how often this should be carried out.
Why cleaning your dryer vent is important
The dryer vent is the tube that removes hot air and moisture from your dryer to the exterior of your home. It runs from your dryer to an external vent from where its contents are discharged into the atmosphere. If the dryer vent passage is clogged, it may lead to other problems. Therefore, cleaning the dryer vent should be part of your regular home maintenance routines.
Consequences of clogged dryer vent
Here are some of the problems that may arise as a result of a clogged dryer vent.
- Risk of dryer fire
In a US Fire Administration report on fire in residential buildings arising from clothes dryers, it was pointed out that accumulation of lint in the dryer exhaust vent reduces airflow. This poses a potential fire hazard. Lint is made up of small fibers from clothes in the dryer. When this is mixed with debris generated from the clothes as they tumble in the drum, a reduction in the exhaust vent airflow ensues. In addition, lint is a highly combustible material. If it accumulates in the dryer vent system, overheating might occur, and this could lead to a fire.
- Poor air quality in the home
When the dryer vent system gets clogged with lint or debris from the nests of small birds and other animals, there is the likelihood of fumes from the vent backing up into the home. Carbon monoxide and other harmful gasses that should have been released outside the home through the vent will become hazardous to the home’s occupants. Regular vent cleaning will prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, a distinct risk in view of the colorless and odorless nature of the gas.
- Mold formation
A clean dryer vent is vital if moisture is to be fully expelled into the air outside the home. If moisture is trapped in the dryer vent due to blockage of the passage, moisture will condense into pools of water within the dryer vent. This then mixes with excess lint to produce a perfect medium for the growth of mold and mildew. The release of mold spores into the air inside the home can lead to a couple of health problems. These include allergic reactions in vulnerable individuals and respiratory problems in asthmatic patients. Proper cleaning of the dryer vent ensures that there is adequate airflow and ventilation in the system so as to prevent the development of mold.
- Reduced dryer efficiency
If your dryer vent is not cleaned regularly, it will be less efficient. The dryer will require multiple drying cycles or longer periods to dry your clothes. In addition, more energy will be needed to run the dryer. This will lead to an increase in your energy bills.
How often should you clean your dryer vent?
You should have your dryer vent cleaned out at least once a year. However, in many situations, it will need to be cleaned several times a year. If your clothes are taking much longer than usual to dry or you observe the presence of debris around the dryer hose, your dryer vent almost certainly needs to be cleaned. If you are in doubt, ask an inspector.
Here are additional factors you should take into consideration when deciding how often your dryer vent should be cleaned.
- If you have a large family
In this circumstance, you are likely to use your dryer more frequently. A higher amount of lint will accumulate when the machine is used on multiple drying cycles. The dryer vent will then need to be cleaned out more often for optimal performance.
- Nature of your laundry
You should clean your dryer vent more frequently if your laundry often comprises bulky items such as towels and blankets. Bulky clothing generates more lint, which can cause the dryer vent to get clogged very quickly.
- Household pets
Fur and pet hair in homes can clog the dryer vent much sooner than in houses without pets. It is therefore necessary to clean the dryer vent more often if you have pets in your home.
How to prevent your dryer vent from being clogged
The following home maintenance tips will help in ensuring that your dryer vent does not get clogged.
- In between loads, allow your dryer to cool off for about a quarter of an hour when you are carrying out your laundry.
- Use a liquid fabric softener if you utilize dryer sheets for your laundry.
- Position the dryer closer to your external wall and change your vent pipe to a solid one if you currently use a flexible vent pipe.
Final thoughts on cleaning your dryer vent
It is essential for every homeowner to undertake regular cleaning of the dryer vent. It will save you from the consequences of a clogged dryer vent. Furthermore, you will be able to ask for a higher price when you decide to sell the property.
If you are in doubt about how often your dryer vent needs to be cleaned, an inspector can give you the right advice. At Pro Inspect Solutions, we provide homeowners with home inspection services and maintenance advice on how to keep their homes running smoothly. We deploy state-of-the-art inspection technology for our inspection jobs. Book your home inspection today by completing the contact form on our website.