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Does Your Dryer Vent Need Cleaning?

Many homeowners make one mistake. They assume that all they need to do to maintain their clothes dryer is to clean the lint trap frequently. Even if you empty the lint trap after every single cycle, it may not be enough. As long as there is air coming through the vent, it is also carrying microscopic pieces of lint that affects the dryer vent. Consequently, when that lint builds up in the ventilation system it can put your family at risk!

Does Your Dryer Vent Need Cleaning Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsSigns of a Dirty Dryer Vent

  1. Is your dryer is unusually hot or heating up the room where it’s installed? If so, it isn’t venting properly. The dryer vent should carry that excess heat out of the house and release it outside.
  2. If your dryer releases moisture into your home, making it more humid and causing steam on the walls and windows near the appliance, it isn’t venting properly. The water vapors should be carried through the dryer vent to outdoors.
  3. Does it takes more than once cycle to dry a moderately sized load of laundry? The dryer vent is clogged. The average dryer should last ten years, according to manufacturers. So, there’s no reason for a dryer to become worn out when it’s less than three years old.
  4. If your dryer vent flap doesn’t open to let the air escape, there is most likely a clog in the vent.

When to Call a Professional

The best way to use and care for your clothes dryer is to start by calling a professional. When you have the appliance professionally installed, you insure it’s installed correctly. A professional will abide by manufacturers’s specifications and local codes. Most homeowners don’t know that the dryer vent should be no more than 4 inches in diameter, no more than 25 feet long, and each 90 degree angle adds 5 feet to the total length.

Other regulations and recommendations for dryer vents:

  • Dryer vents should be independent of other systems.
  • They should terminate OUTSIDE the home, not in crawlspaces, attics, or basements.
  • The outdoors termination hood should be equipped with a back-draft damper.
  • Metal transition ducts should be used between the dryer and exhaust duct.
  • Flexible dryer vent ducts should never be used in an attic, a crawl space, or inside a wall.

When a dryer vent isn’t installed correctly it is an invitation for clogs. A too-long vent or a hose with too many turns can mean more spaces for lint to build up, clogging the vent completely. This allows hot air to ignite the flammable materials inside!

The Only Nationally Recognized Credential for Dryer Vent Safety

Dryer vents have become so much of a fire hazard that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) created the CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician, the only credential of its kind. At Pristine Sweeps our technicians are trained and experienced dryer exhaust technicians. Our first priority is the safety and comfort of our customers.

If you have any signs of a clogged or damaged dryer vent, you should find a C-DET professional right away. Call 206-574-8414 today, or make an appointment online.

Make Sure to Have Your Dryer Vents Cleaned!

There are a number of ways fireplace owners protect their families from accidental house fires, from installing smoke alarms to having their fireplaces regularly swept and maintained. However, all homeowners – not just those who have fireplaces – should have their dryer vents regularly cleaned to prevent house fires.

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Clogged dryer vents cause fires

As our dryers dry our clothes, small amounts of fabric are shed. These fabric fibers are what create the lint that is found in the lint trap after each load. However, over time lint can also accumulate in the dryer ductwork and vents. If too much lint accumulates it can constrict the dryer’s airflow, causing the dryer to create hotter and hotter air to dry the clothes. This progressively hotter air can ignite the highly flammable lint, starting a dryer fire that may quickly spread throughout your home.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are thousands of house fires caused by dryers each year. These fires cause more than $200 million in damages along with numerous injuries and deaths. Fortunately, the risk of dryer fire can be greatly reduced with proper dryer vent maintenance.

Signs your dryer vents need to be cleaned

Many homeowners may not recognize the signs their dryers need to be cleaned. Luckily, there are a number of signs that may indicate it is time to get your dryer vents cleaned. Likewise, even if you are not experiencing any of these symptoms it is still recommended to have dryer vents cleaned at least once per year.

  • A single load of clothes takes more than a full cycle to dry
  • The drying time needed for a single load exceeds 45 minutes
  • The laundry room becomes significantly warmer when the dryer is in use
  • The lint trap is full or has larger than normal amounts of lint after a single load
  • The dryer or the clothes themselves have a noticeably musty odor
  • There is an excessive buildup of lint or debris around exterior vents

If you’ve noticed a decrease in your dryer’s performance, consider having the dryer vents cleaned before purchasing a new appliance. If the dryer vents are clogged, purchasing a new appliance will not solve the issue! Instead, have your dryer vents cleaned first and potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars.

Ways to prevent dryer fires

In additionally to having your dryer vents professionally cleaned at least once a year, there are a number of things that homeowners can do to reduce their risk for dryer fire.

  • Clean the lint trap after every dryer load
  • Keep the area around the dryer clean and clear. Avoid stacking laundry next to or on top of the dryer, and regularly clean behind the dryer
  • Consider replacing plastic or foil accordion-style ducts with rigid or semi-rigid varieties
  • Call a dryer vent cleaning service as soon as you notice any signs of clogged ducts

At Pristine Sweeps, we can do more than just take care of your fireplace and chimney needs. If you need to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, contact us today to help keep you and your family safe!