When jotting down chores for a housework to-do list, cleaning the dryer is oft-forgotten or -ignored, despite it being an essential task around the home. Unknown to many, a clogged dryer or dirty dryer vent can be a significant fire and overall health risk hiding in plain sight. Taking care of your dryer and the vents will not only prevent danger, but it can also lengthen the life of your machine, and keep it running efficiently.
Today, we tackle the reasons why every home should schedule a professional dryer and dryer vent cleaning job regularly.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dryer?
Regular maintenance is vital for keeping your machine in tip-top condition. To help the air inside your dryer to move freely, clean the lint trap after every use. However, this is not enough to keep your machine running smoothly as small fibres can still get stuck, clogging up your dryer vents. On top of that, cleaning the moisture sensors that automatically shut off the dryer when your laundry is dry helps ensure the dryer is working correctly.
How often you clean your dryer and the vents depends on how much you use it and the heaviness of the loads you run. For regular home use, an annual cleaning should suffice. However, if you’re running heavy loads many times a day, you should increase the number of times you have your dryer inspected and cleaned by a professional.
Signs that Your Dryer is Dirty
Learning to look for the red flags that tell when there is something wrong with your machine helps you address these issues as needed. Check out some of these signs that indicate your dryer and the dryer vent needs professional attention:
- Your vent hood flap doesn’t open properly
When debris or lint becomes visible outside the opening of the vent or around the dryer hose, the duct hood flap will not open as it should. This is a red flag indicating it is time that your dryer should be cleaned because if the outside vent doesn’t open while the dryer is running, airflow becomes restricted due to lint buildup.
- It takes longer for your loads to dry
A dryer is designed to push out hot moist air to help dry your laundry. If your vent is blocked by lint, the air will stay in your machine, causing your load to remain moist and hot. This means that the cycle will run twice or three times longer than it should. When the run time for the machine takes longer, the dryer runs longer as well, putting more wear and tear on the machine.
- Something smells like it is burning
Lint is very flammable and can build up in the lint trap, drum casing, and the exhaust tube. If the machine gets too hot, it can catch on fire and cause a burning smell. If you notice this odour, immediately stop the cycle and have your machine inspected.
- The load and the outside of the dryer both feel hot
If the clothes feel very hot after you run a cycle, this may indicate that the vent is not working well. If your dryer’s system is clogged, it can cause the blower and heating element in the dryer to wear down faster. It also wastes electricity.
Benefits of Keeping Your Dryer Vent Clean
Keeping your dryer and dryer vents clean is not only a maintenance requirement, you can also reap the following benefits:
1. Prevents Home Fires
If lint is not removed from the dryer venting system, the system can clog up. This causes your machine to overheat, potentially causing a fire in your home. The good news is, having your vents cleaned regularly can reduce the chances of a dryer fire erupting in your home.
2. Eliminates the Potential for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A poorly maintained gas dryer also poses risks for carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless, and toxic gas that is almost impossible to detect without special equipment. Carbon monoxide poisoning causes flu-like symptoms and prevents oxygen from being delivered to your organs. Even minimal exposure to the gas can cause many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing, while higher doses can lead to death.
3.Lowers Your Hydro Bill
The accumulation of lint in your vent may cause the dryer to work inefficiently or stop working. Aside from running time increasing, your clothes may not be dried completely at the end of a cycle. The clogging of your vents, thus, causes your hydro bill to rise as you would have to run a single load multiple times or because a single run time would take longer than how long an efficiently-working machine.
4. Minimizes Damage to Your Clothes
Clogged dryer vents create more heat, causing your clothes to be exposed to more heat, causing them to be damaged. When clothes are exposed to more heat than is recommended, the fibres of the fabric will break apart. When dryers are clogged, longer running time means your clothes will be exposed to dryer heat for a longer time.
5. Gets Rid of Possible Allergens
If your dryer is working properly, moisture is supposed to be eliminated during the drying process. If your clothes aren’t dried after a complete cycle, allergens may be produced. Vents have to cleaned and installed correctly to make sure that every drop of moisture is removed.
Additionally, if there is a buildup of lint in your vent, the clogging can cause condensation. This mixes with the lint, creating a sort of paste that sticks to the walls of the vent, causing allergens to grow. This also causes the vents to clog more.
6. Prevents Animals from Building Their Nests
When the exterior duct hood of your vent doesn’t close properly, birds, rats, and other small animals may find the space as a comfortable nesting area. Regularly cleaning and inspecting your dryer system will keep your machine in perfect working order and avoids allowing pests from making a nest in your home.
Dryer Safety Tips
To prevent possible dangers with your machine, observe these dryer safety tips:
✘ Do not use your dryer for clothes that have been exposed to highly explosive chemicals or even large amounts of cooking oil.
✘ Do not run your dryer right before leaving your home.
✓ Clean your dryer’s lint trap after every use.
✓ Schedule for a professional cleaner to come in and clean your dryer system annually, or as needed.
✓ Be sure that the dryer system and the vent is installed correctly.
✘ Do not let your dryer vent inside your home (or in the attic), as the exhaust contains too much humid air that can cause mould and mildew to form.
If you smell burning and suspect that it is coming from your dryer, get your entire household outside and immediately call emergency services.
Remember that cleaning your dryer vent is not a DIY project. It is a complicated job that requires specialized skills, competencies, and equipment so it can be performed efficiently and effectively. Enlisting the help of a professional cleaner also prevents unnecessary damages on your system and limits your exposure to toxic substances.
If you are looking to have professional cleaners take care of your dryer vent in Ottawa, Dr. Duct is at your service. Call us at (613) 845-0707 to make an appointment.