5 Important Reasons To Clean Dryer Vents And Lint Traps

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Like any appliances, clothes dryers need to be cleaned for optimum performance.  If you take care of your dryer, there will be no sudden and costly trips to the laundromat.

Maintaining cleanliness of two components of the clothes dryer, the lint trap and the dryer vent and duct will help for all kinds of reasons.  

According to Home Depot,

“Dirty or clogged dryer vents and ductwork don’t just reduce your dryer’s performance. The combination of heat and accumulated dryer lint and dust can lead to a fire hazard.”

Preventing fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are two important and necessary reasons.  

Other reasons include improving indoor air quality, lowering electricity bills, and decreasing the drying time of the clothes which will extend the life of the dryer and your clothes.

Preventing Fires

According to Consumer Reports Magazine,

“Every year, firefighters across the country respond to around 13,820 home fires caused by clothes dryers, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and about 27 percent of these fires are caused by an accumulation of lint.  Dryer fires are responsible for seven deaths, 344 civilian injuries, and $233 million in property damage annually.”

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This mostly has to do with gas dryers.  If the dryer vent or duct is clogged with lint or other debris, this prevents exhaust fumes from venting out of the house.  This harmful gas, carbon monoxide, can build up in the home creating a possible fatal risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Improve Air Quality

If the dryer vent or vent duct is clogged, the indoor air quality of your house is polluted with dust mites and chemicals, possibly creating allergens.

Lower Electric Bills

One of the symptoms of a blocked dryer vent, vent duct, or lint trap is that it takes longer to dry the clothes.  If you have to run the clothes through two, three, or four times to get the clothes completely dry, the electric bill will be that much higher.

Decrease Drying Time

  • Extend the life of your dryer.
    • Because a dryer has to work harder and longer when a vent or lint trap is blocked, this puts greater wear and tear on the parts of the dryer, causing failure sooner than later.
  • Extend the life of your clothes.

How To Clean And How Often?

Consumer Reports Magazine, when testing the appliances, says that some dryers have dryer vent block sensors but sometimes alerts can be sporadic.

For example, LG’s Flowsense and Samsung’s Vent sensors can detect completely blocked vents but not partially blocked.  The same holds for Maytag and Whirlpool dryer check-vent features.

Some Maytag and Whirlpool dryers also have a “Check Lint” or Check Lint Trap” indicator on the control panels to remind you to clean the lint trap.

Relying on sensors to let you know that the dryer vent or lint trap needs to be cleaned is probably not a good idea.  Incorporate a routine, depending on how often the dryer is used, for cleaning the dryer vent duct and lint trap.

  • Clean dryer filters, lint traps, every time you use the dryer.
    • Pull out the lint trap, usually located on top of the dryer, at the front of the dryer opening, or inside the door.
    • Remove lint, hair, and debris from the lint screen.
  • Clean dryer vents and ducts, at the very least, annually.
    • Disconnect the dryer from the electrical outlet and/or turn off the gas valve.
    • Pull the dryer away from the wall.
    • Disconnect the dryer vent duct from the back of the dryer.
    • Vacuum, the hole in the back of the dryer, the duct, and the vent outside the house.  If the vent duct is long, use vacuum hose extensions to get as much as possible, both from the dryer and vent openings of the duct.
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