Just in the United States, more than 15,000 house fires occur every year due to clothes dryers. 92% of those fires are the result of un-cleaned and unmaintained dryer vents. Many people remember to clean the lint trap each time they do a load of laundry, but that is not the only step needed to prevent problems. The dryer vent is usually out of sight because it is attached to the rear of the dryer and vented to the outside of the home. It just isn’t on the forefront of every launderer’s mind.
When you think of your dryer, you probably picture the square machine that sits in your laundry room. But the part of your dryer vent that you see and empty regularly makes up less than 5% of the total dryer vent system. The rest of the system is hidden within walls, in crawl spaces or attics, and between floor joists. One spark of static electricity in any of these areas, and you could be facing a house fire.
Despite the amount of lint you sometimes pull from the trap after a particularly fluffy load, the lint trap in your dryer only catches about 60% of what’s produced. The remaining 40% goes into the dryer hose and the rest of the vent system. If this system is not cleaned on an annual basis, you head into problem territory.
How it Happens
The dryer heats up and creates steam from the moisture in your clothing. That moisture is pushed out the dryer hose and vent during every single load of laundry that you do. It creates the perfect amount of humidity to make lint stick to the inside walls of the dryer hose. The lint dries during each dryer cycle, and eventually becomes so thick that it must be professionally cleaned to prevent a house fire.
Signs of a Full Dryer Vent
- Your dryer doesn’t dry as efficiently as it once did.
- Clothes are damp after more than a 45 minute cycle.
- An overheating smell coming from the laundry room.
- Lack of air flow to the exterior vent.
Safety hazards aren’t the only reason to clean your dryer vent. A clogged or blocked dryer vent can severely limit the efficiency of your machine. It costs money each time you run your dryer, and with a vent that’s not clean sometimes you end up running the machine twice just to dry one load. Not only is this inefficient, but it can be inconvenient and aggravating.
I know you might be thinking, but I don’t know anything about cleaning the inside duct of a dryer vent! Luckily, chimney sweeps have the equipment and the training to clean dryer vents safely and thoroughly. Call me any time to schedule a time to clean your dryer vent.