How Often Should You Clean a Dryer Vent? 5 Easy Steps
Have you noticed your laundry room suddenly feeling like it’s about to scorch? While warm towels are a normal part of laundry day, you might notice that the air around you, the dryer, and the freshly laundered clothes all feel hotter than they’re supposed to. You might even smell a faintly singed scent like something’s about to catch fire. If you notice any of these signs—or if it’s been a year or more since your dryer was last inspected—it’s probably time to clean out your dryer vent. Fortunately, it’s a quick and easy fix that will only require a vacuum cleaner with the hose attachment and perhaps a screwdriver and an unused toilet brush.
When to Clean Out Your Dryer Vent
It’s recommended that you clean out your dryer vent at least once a year, but more than that if:
The 5 Steps on How to Clean Your Dryer Vent
1. Disconnect the Hose from the Back of the Dryer
Turn your dryer off and unplug it from the wall. Find the dryer duct and pull it out of the wall. Depending on the model, you may need a screwdriver to disconnect the vent clamp.
2. Vacuum Out the Vent
Using the hose attachment, vacuum out the vent. If the attachment isn’t deep enough to satisfactorily catch the lint, you might consider using a new toilet brush to scrub out the rest of it.
3. Take Note If the Duct Work Needs Replacing
If it’s good to go, re-attach it to your dryer and keep moving. If not, plan a trip to your local hardware store before proceeding.
4. Remove the Exterior Vent Cover
Find the exterior vent cover outside your house. Take it off, and vacuum from this side using the hose attachment. Put the exterior vent cover back in place and return inside for the final step.
5. Let the Dryer Run for 15-20 Minutes
Test out the dryer. If the dryer is working properly and not getting too hot, then you’re finished. If it’s not working, check the connection. Be extra confident that the hose on the back of the dryer is firmly reconnected before starting another load of clothes. If it’s loose or becomes detached, it could start a fire.
How to Take Care of Your Dryer
While cleaning out your dryer vent isn’t an arduous task, you understandably don’t want to be undertaking the project every couple of months. To give yourself more time between cleanings, you should always make sure to clear the lint tray before starting a new load of clothes. You should also keep the area around the lint filter vacuumed regularly to prevent build-up. Periodically inspecting the dryer duct is also a good idea because a cracked pipe can leak heat, creating a fire hazard.
Regularly cleaning your dryer vents lets your clothes dry faster, reduces the amount of electricity you use, and prevents built-up lint from catching fire. If the clothes aren’t drying or it’s been more than a year since you last cleaned the vent, take time to vacuum out the duct.
Featured Image Credit: Robert Kneschke, Shutterstock