Most people have it that the bleach in their laundry room is the most dangerous item. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but there is yet item that is far more dangerous and causes damage far more often to most homes every year – dirty vents. Not cleaning out your vents can cause dryer malfunction (this goes without saying) and even worse, it can lead to electrical fires. This is very scary, right? I mean on top of ensuring you do not have dirty and smelly clothes in your home, one also has to worry about the dryer causing fires as well? It might sound unfair but this is the harsh reality. And in addition to fires, a dirty dryer vent just might end up costing you thousands of dollars in replacements and repairs. Who wants to spend cash on a new dryer every year even when they can afford it?
That said, a properly maintained dryer can last for a long time and be used without any fire breakouts. With dryers, there are many reasons why they can break down. As such, in the event that you suspect the build-up of lint, it is best to call in a professional to cater to your dryer or better still, roll up your sleeves and get to work – convert it into your small DIY project and save yourself some money. The best part is that the process is simple and straight forward. Even better, we have detailed all the steps you need to implement for a successful and efficient cleaning. But before we get into that, there are several things you need to note.
Important Points to Note
First and foremost, for your everyday dryer use, ensure that you have a lint filter installed. In addition to this, make sure you have the lint filter cleaned before and after every cleaning cycle. Also, you should ensure that the vent pipe runs unrestricted, and is not bent along its length.
Lint building up in the vent pipe should be cleared every year or whenever you notice your clothes are taking a little longer than usual to dry. Also, when it gets to a point where you run a load of wet clothing through a normal dryer cycle and after it they are still wet, this could be a sign you need to clean the vent pipe.
Before you embark on the cleaning, you should do your fair share of reading. Gain the relevant knowledge and familiarize yourself with the parts of the dryer and the use of the special tools required for the project.
How to Properly Clean a Dryer Vent
Turn Off The Power
When dealing with any electrical appliance, this should be the very first step you take. For your dryer, you should ensure that the gas line for the gas powered dryers and electrical plugs are turned off. Safety when conducting the dryer vent cleaning process cannot be stressed enough.
Move The Dryer Away From The Wall
Moving the unit away from the wall will provide you with sufficient room to access and work on the dryer vent. You should, however, pull out the unit as far as the dryer vent can allow.
Detach The Vent
When detaching the vent pipe, there are several bits to pay attention to. First and foremost, check for any cracks on the transition duct. The transition duct is a hollow pipe connecting the vent to the dryer also if this transition duct is made of plastic, it is wise you replace it with a flexible foil or a UL approved duct. Why should you replace the plastic duct? Well, plastic is stiff and for the most part fragile and may just break anytime. The transition duct should be as short as possible and not bent or crimped to allow all air to escape successfully. The vent pipe should be held in place using a clamp.
Now, to detach the vent pipe from the dryer, you will need a screwdriver to loosen the clamp and then detach the vent.
Get Rid Of The Lint
Lint in the dryer and the vent should be gotten rid of. To get rid of the lint, you can reach into the pipe and pull out the lint. For an even thorough cleaning, you could use a vacuum hose. Most often than not, a lot of the lint is closer to the mouth of the vent. However, it is good practice to reach into the vent as far as you can. Lint build-up at any point along the length of the vent is enough to be a safety hazard and negatively impact the performance of the dryer.
If there is lint at the back of the dryer, you might have to call in a professional service to remove the back panel and clean the inside of the dryer. With access to this part of the dryer, you can also inspect the space for jewelry and coins which have a habit of getting lodged.
Replace The Dryer Vent
Replace the dryer vent as well as the clamp paying keen attention to do it just right.
Remove As Well As Clean The Exhaust Vent
Now, it is time to clean the vent extending to the exterior of your home. Remove the cover and reach inside the vent as far as you possibly can and remove any lint present. You can make use of a vacuum hose if you find the need to. To remove the cover, you might have to get some screws out of the way or scrape some caulk lining.
Replace The Vent And Cover
This process should also be handled with great care. The cover should have a screen preventing it from birds, rodents, and bees from entering and converting the space into their home. Replacing the caulk lining scraped off may not be necessary though doing so might help to maintain the energy efficiency of the home by eliminating any and all possible air leaks.
Double Check The Work
Plug back all the electrical connections of the dryer and let the unit run free for about 10 minutes while on the fluff setting. During this process, some loose lint may finally dislodge and is as such not a great idea to situate yourself directly at the mouth of the exterior vent. You should, however, be keen to notice the low of air out of the vent. If you notice any lint spewing into your home, the reassembling might be incorrect and needs to be redone.
How Often Should The Duct Be Cleaned?
The dryer vents should be inspected as well as cleaned every year. However, this is dependent on the size of the unit and the dryer use. Heavier dryer use translates into frequent cleaning projects.
Awesome! Did all that sound the least bit complicated? Of course not. However, if it did, you are better off calling in a pro to handle the cleaning for you.