Cleaning your dryer vent will not only enhance the efficiency of the machine but will also prevent potential fire hazards. When the machine is fully loaded with wet clothes, it contains over a half-gallon of water. As this water is being removed during drying, the clothes create lint. The lint will accumulate in crevices inside the filter trap, and along the vent hose.
This makes your dryer the major source of fire in your house. According to a study by the USCPC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission), electric dryers are over 2 times more likely to be cause of fire than gas dryers. The origin of the fire can be traced to two places: the lint trap and dryer venting. So if your dryer vent has not been cleaned in the past two years, it needs proper cleansing. Before we get to dyer vent cleaning tips, let’s understand the symptoms of a clogged vent first.
When to clean your dryer vent
The warning signs that there is a dangerous lint build up in your dryer venting system may include:
– Clothes take longer to dry.
– Clothes don’t dry fully.
– Clothes feel hotter than normal after the drying process.
– The dryer exterior becomes very hot.
– The exterior exhaust vent flapper fails to open fully showing low exhaust velocity.
– Burnt smell emanating from the dyer.
– Laundry room gets more humid than usual.
Things you will need
To effectively clean your dryer vent, you will need a brush specially designed for that purpose. Vacuum attachments alone may not work for you since they do not physically agitate the lint, which is required to separate the lint from the duct. Therefore, look for a duct cleaning brush kit that comes with a long bristle brush for cleaning the lint screen and specialized round bristle brush for cleaning out the round dryer duct. You also need to get a screwdriver and a nut driver for removing and reassembling the dryer venting system.
Dryer vent cleaning procedure
Clean the lint filter
You are most likely familiar with this step and probably may be doing it regularly such as after every load. In fact, this step is the farthest you have ever gone when it comes cleaning your dryer vent. While lint filter cleaning is important, it will not work in solving the lint buildup problem in the dryer or in the ducts. However, it is the first step in cleaning the venting system, so you need to do it.
– Pull the lint screen straight out to remove it.
– Clean the lint screen by brushing it with the fine bristled brush.
Vacuum the lint housing cavity
The next step is to get to parts of the dryer where all kinds of lint are hidden away; the lint housing cavity from which you pulled the lint screen out. You will need the brush with the long handle to reach this area.
– Extend the brush deep down into the cavity.
– Using a slight twisting motion, gently pull the brush out to expose the lint removed.
– Using a vacuum cleaner, vacuum the brush clean of any lint.
– Repeat this procedure till the cavity is completely lint-free
Disconnect parts of dryer vent
Disconnect the various parts of dryer ducting to remove the lint hidden inside. Some people try to clean this mess with all the ducting intact, but if you can easily disconnect the ducting, why waste your time, energy and money to use very long shafted brushes, only to end up with unsatisfactory results. Disconnecting the vent sections allows you to easily and effectively clean every section.
To properly disconnect and reconnect the ducting sections, follow these steps:
– Unplug the dryer.
– If you are dealing with a gas dryer, turn the gas valve off at the dryer.
– Disconnect the duct at the closest joint to the dryer.
– Pull away the dyer from the wall.
– Disconnect the remaining parts of dryer ducting.
Insert brush into dryer ducting
This is the point when it gets a little dirty. You will greatly reduce the number 1 risk of fire in your house by doing this.
– Start by fastening one end of the duct brush to the flexible fiberglass shaft that comes with the cleaning kit. The shaft has many threaded sections which you can fasten together according to your needs.
– The other brush end can be used to manually turn the brush by hand, or it may be fastened to a variable speed drill.
– Insert the brush into the dyer duct and rid it clean of any lint by pushing the cleaning brush back and forth while rotating it.
– Go gently and if you use a speed drill, ensure you slow down the speed. After most of the debris is removed, you may gradually increase the speed to make sure the duct is completely clean.
– Perform this cleaning process for each dryer duct section along with all the elbows. Make sure the exterior exhaust discharge cap is completely cleaned out without leaving any lint obstruction.
Reassemble Dryer Ducting
After the dryer duct is cleaned out completely, reassemble it. Use the following steps:
– Attach an adjustable 90 degree elbow to the dryer’s exhaust end. It is advisable to use a rigid flexible duct as the elbow and not a semi-rigid one. This is because the semi-rigid duct may kink when you push the dryer back into place, causing a major blockage to exhaust flow.
– Attach all rigid and semi-rigid metal ductwork sections using a 4-inch worm-drive stainless steel duct band clamp.
– Turn gas valve on if you are using a gas dryer.
– Plug in dryer.
– Ensure the lint screen is properly fixed.
Clean your lint filter each time you use your dryer. This will help not only to prevent lint from accumulating in the vent but also help your dryer to run efficiently. When cleaning the vents, you might also consider removing the dryer’s bottom front panel and clean there too. Also, clean the area around the filter. By cleaning the dyer vents, you are basically protecting your home from pollutants, smokes and fires. The energy cost will significantly reduce, and your dryer would last longer.
If this sounds like a lot of work, you would be correct. Then give us a call and let us do all your dryer vent cleaning for you.