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Cleaning Your Dryer Vent to Reduce the Risk of Fire

How to clean a dryer vent

Every year 15,000 firest start due to improperly maintained dryers.

In order to decrease the risk of a fire in your home, it is necessary to know how to clean a dryer vent properly. Every year over 15,000 fires, resulting in an average of 19 deaths, start in the laundry room because of improperly vented dryers or clogged dryer vents.

Why You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent

Your dryer works by bombarding your clothes with hot, dry air while venting moist air away from your clothes. During this process, your clothes release fibers, or lint, into the system. Dryers are equipped with a lint trap to filter out these particles, but some make it past the trap into your venting system. They can clog both the tubing and the vent hood that connects your dryer to the outside world. When clogging occurs, it significantly increases the odds of a home fire.

Signs of a Clogged Vent

Luckily, if you watch for particular signs, you’ll know when your dryer vent needs to be cleaned. A clogged vent will reduce the efficiency of your dryer, leading to noticeably higher electricity or gas bills and increased drying time. If your clothes, especially heavy towels, are hot and wet when they should be done drying, it’s a sure sign your vent is clogged. You may also notice that the outside of your dryer is hot to the touch. Even if you don’t see any signs of a clogged vent, you should clean out the system once a year to reduce the risk of fire.

Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

The first step to cleaning your dryer vent is clearing the lint trap after every load. Remove the trap and bang it over a trashcan to remove all the trapped particles, and then remove any lint that you can see in the dryer under where the trap goes before replacing the trap. Performing these two simple steps after every load will dramatically reduce the amount of lint trapped in your venting system. To clean the rest of your system, pull your dryer out from the wall and disconnect the vent tubing from both the dryer and the exterior vent hood. Clean any trapped lint out of the tubing. Finally, using a vacuum or a blower, remove any lint from the exterior vent hood. You can buy specialized vent cleaning kits that attach to your vacuum at any major home improvement store.

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