How to Clean Your Clothes Dryer Exhaust Vent
Several chores are essential to running a household. Some, like sweeping and mopping floors and doing the dishes, can occasionally be put off for a little while when life gets too busy. But doing the laundry is always essential; after all, if the laundry isn’t done, you and your family won’t have clean clothes to wear to work, school – or really anywhere for that matter.
Amid the hustle and bustle of daily tasks, it can be easy to forget that doing the laundry means more than simply washing the clothes themselves; it also means properly maintaining the laundry appliances you use. Cleaning the exhaust vent on your clothes dryer may be one of the most important, yet most frequently overlooked of tasks.
In order to keep your dryer running smoothly, and to keep your house safe from a lint fire, it’s extremely important that you keep your lint trap and dryer vents clear of lint. Clearing the trap is a simple job, since you can easily take it out and clear it after each load of laundry. The vent, however, is a bit more difficult depending on how long you’ve gone between cleanings.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of house fires are caused by buildup in dryer vents each year. Always keeping your lint trap free from debris can help prevent this from happening to you. But it’s even more important that you pull out the dryer vent duct and vacuum both the duct and the vent opening at least twice a year or more depending on how big your household is.
Fire and mold prevention
Over time, if you forget to clean out your dryer vent, the lint can gradually back up and become packed inside your walls, sometimes causing moisture to build up as well. This moisture can lead to severe mold and mildew buildup; if it’s near any electrical wiring, it can possibly create a spark and cause a fire.
Even if the vent lint isn’t wet, it can still increase your risk for fire; a spark from faulty wiring or another source can set the dry lint ablaze in an instant. Even worse, because this type of fire starts inside the wall and likely won’t be immediately noticed, it can be more damaging and difficult to contain than fires started by many other causes.
Call a professional
Many fire departments suggest that if you haven’t cleaned out your dryer vents in a long time, or if you have never done it, you should have a professional handle the job for you to ensure that it’s completed properly. The cost will be well worth the ensuing peace of mind about your home’s risk of fire; afterwards, you can begin properly maintaining your dryer’s exhaust vent yourself.