dryer vent cleaning

Keep It Clean: A Guide to Dryer Vent Cleaning

You might not think of your dryer as a safety hazard, but it can pose a serious threat in the wrong circumstances.

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that close to 3,000 fires annually are linked to clothes dryers. Of these, a failure to carry out regular dryer vent cleaning is to blame for 34% of cases.

If you’ve never cleaned a dryer vent before, or if you’re overdue for a cleaning and need a refresher, consider this a wake-up call. Here’s how to clean your dryer vent to ensure your family’s safety:

1. Unplug Your Dryer

To avoid a nasty shock, make sure to unplug your dryer from its wall outlet before you get started. If your appliance is gas-powered, turn off its gas valve instead.

2. Move the Dryer Away From the Wall

With help, move the unit away from the wall. Once you have room to get around the back, locate the vent duct and disconnect it from the back of the dryer.

3. Clean Off the Lint

For this step, make sure you’re using the right equipment. If you’re going to do this job right, it’s worth investing in a tool designed to help.

A quality dryer vent cleaning kit helps remove the tiny fibers clinging to the duct, and most come with handy attachments that attach to the end of your vacuum cleaner. You can find one online or at most home improvement stores.

To clean off lint, you’ll want to move the brush in circles through the vent pipe, dryer opening, and wall piping. Think of it as the DIY version of HVAC duct cleaning: you want to remove anything attached to the walls of the pipe.

As you clean, make sure to avoid bending the duct too much, as cracks and crevices will become breeding grounds for more lint accumulation in the future. You should also inspect the duct for any signs of wear or damage, which you’ll want to patch up.

While you’re cleaning, take time for a little extra dryer maintenance and clear the dust from other areas as well. This includes your moisture sensor—which helps your dryer function and may appear as a thin metal bar under the door.

As a last step, you can also remove the vent cover from the outside of your home to clean it as well. Not all homeowners have a removable cover, but you can at least remove dust, dirt, or debris.

If your dryer has a complicated or lengthy vent, basic equipment may not be enough. When you’re worried your DIY tools aren’t enough to handle the job, call for a dryer cleaning team for peace of mind.

4. Reattach the Duct

Reattach the duct to the wall and the dryer unit with the proper screws or clips. You can also use aluminum tape as needed rather than duct tape, as the latter can become a sticky mess with the dryer’s heat.

Return the dryer to its normal position, and turn the electricity or gas back on.

5. Repeat

Just as you expect to do seasonal preventative maintenance on your HVAC, the average homeowner should clean their dryer vent every six months to a year. However, if you have a large household that goes through a lot of laundry, you may want to come back more often, just to be safe.

Add Dryer Vent Cleaning to Your Home Checklist

While it’s easy to overlook the humble clothes dryer, dryer vent cleaning is a critical item to add to your home maintenance checklist. Not only can this make your dryer more efficient (and save your wallet from high utility bills), but it can also ensure the safety of your home. Don’t skip your regular cleanings!

If you're looking for professional cleaning services, we can tackle the job. Our team has experience helping you handle all of your heating and cooling needs, and we'd be happy to bundle this service with duct cleaning or annual maintenance! Contact us to learn more.