How often should a dryer vent be cleaned? Just like everything else in your home, your dryer needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.
In this guide, we’ll discuss:
- Why your dryer vent should be cleaned regularly
- How often you should clean your dryer vent
- Supplies you’ll need to clean your dryer vent
- And how to clean your dryer vent in six simple steps
You’re likely already wiping down the top of the appliance and emptying the lint tray—but sometimes we forget about the messes in our home that go unseen, such as a dirty dryer vent.
If you’ve never cleaned a dryer vent before, the task may seem intimidating, but luckily it’s quite simple!
What You Need To Know About Cleaning Your Dryer Vent
Have you ever gone to put away your laundry, only to realize it hasn’t fully dried?
This can be a sign of a clogged dryer vent. When the vent is clogged with lint, there is less airflow within the system, and laundry will take longer to dry.
It’s important to clean all parts of your dryer regularly to keep it running smoothly.
A clean dryer vent also eliminates a common fire hazard from your home. Four percent of fires in the United States are caused by washers and dryers.
When the vent becomes clogged, as we talked about above, the combination of heat and low airflow can cause a potentially fatal disaster.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires are reporting annually, with the leading cause being failure to clean the dryer.
The peak times for these events are the fall and winter months, with peak being in January.
How Often Should a Dryer Vent be Cleaned?
Dryer vents should be cleaned every six months at minimum depending on model and usage. For reasons of safety, to avoid potential fire threats, and to maintain effective dryer operation, a dryer vent should be cleaned frequently. Depending on elements such dryer type, usage habits, and vent duct length, the suggested frequency of cleaning may change. In general, follow these rules:
- Typical Home Use:
- It is advised to clean the dryer vent at least once a year for the majority of households and typical domestic dryers.
- Heavy Use:
- Your dryer may need to be cleaned more often if it is used frequently, such as several times a day or for large loads. For heavy users, every six months might be a good interval.
- Long Vent Runs:
- Lint may gather more quickly in the vent duct of your dryer if it is long or has several bends. If this is the case, think about cleaning the vent every three to six months.
- High-Efficiency Dryers:
- Cleaning might be less often with high-efficiency dryers because they include moisture sensors and are frequently more effective. For your individual model, check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Visual Inspection:
- To guarantee proper airflow, examine the external vent frequently. A vent may be clogged and require cleaning if there is a noticeable lack of air flow.
Remember, a clean dryer vent not only improves efficiency but also reduces the risk of lint buildup, which can lead to overheating and potentially cause a fire. If you’re unsure about how often to clean your dryer vent, it’s a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in your dryer’s user manual or consult with a professional dryer vent cleaning service.
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Dryer Lint Trap
The lint trap is easily accessible within your home, and should be cleaned every time you use your dryer.
Simply remove the tray, and slide any lint off of it with your hands. It helps to keep a small trash bin near your laundry station so you can just toss the lint away. If things start to look messy, grab your vacuum to clean any fallen lint from the dryer or floor.
You can also clean the inside of the lint trap with a dryer brush if it’s looking too lint-covered.
Once everything’s nice and clean, replace the lint tray and you’re finished!
Supplies You’ll Need For Cleaning Your Dryer Vent
How To Clean Your Dryer Vent (6 Steps)
1. Find the Vents
Your dryer will have two vents: one on the back of your dryer, and one located on the outside of your home. Before cleaning them, you’ll have to make sure they’re accessible.
This includes knowing where they’re at, and also pulling out your dryer and moving anything outdoors that may be in your way.
2. Unplug your Dryer (and Turn Off the Valve for Gas Appliances)
Before touching anything, you want to cut off the power supply to your dryer. This will keep you safe while working with the vent.
For electric dryers, simply unplug the dryer from the wall. If you have a gas dryer, unplug the appliance and shut off the gas valve before you get to work.
3. Disconnect the Dryer Duct
Once your appliance is without power, you can get to work!
Disconnect the dryer duct so that you can access the vent and begin cleaning it.
- Loosen the Clamp:
- Using a screwdriver or pliers, loosen the clamp securing the duct to the dryer exhaust outlet.
- Slide the clamp away from the dryer.
- Detach the Duct:
- Gently pull the duct off the dryer exhaust outlet. If the duct is rigid, you might need to twist and turn it while pulling to detach it.
4. Vacuum out the Lint
You should now be able to see the inside of your dryer vent, which likely has a layer of lint inside. Use your vacuum extension to vacuum this, as well as anything that’s clinging to the back of your dryer. Don’t worry about the floor quite yet—it’ll probably get messier as you go.
Stick the vacuum hose as far into the vent as you can, focusing on the outer edges where lint piles and clings.
5. Use a Long Dryer Brush to Clean the Remaining Lint
Next, use your long dryer brush to clean the parts of the vent where your vacuum couldn’t reach. Push the brush into the duct and twist it back and forth while pulling it in and out of the duct to gather all of the lint.
You may have to remove the brush to clean it off before pushing it back in to clean the remainder of the duct.
You can start this process from your laundry room, or the outside vent. Choose whichever will be easiest for you.
6. Clean Up and Reassemble
Lastly, vacuum any lint that’s fallen onto the ground and clean any leftover lint off of your dryer brush.
If needed, wipe down the back of your dryer with a damp cloth and mop the floor behind and underneath where the appliance usually sits.
Dry the floor and reattach the duct before pushing your dryer back into place. Remember to plug it back in or turn the gas valve back on, as well.
If you have any questions about cleaning your dryer vent or anything else related to your home appliances, please contact us if you have any questions!
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