Regular dryer vent cleaning will protect your home from a dangerous house fire.
Every year, thousands of Americans lose their homes to house fires caused by something most homeowners don’t even realize could be a problem: their clothes dryers. Well, more specifically, the lint that can build up in their dryer’s exhaust vent. Lint is highly flammable and can build up in your dryer vent over time, even if you regularly clean out your lint trap or lint filter on your dryer.
There’s a lot more to your dryer vent than the flexible plastic tube or the shiny aluminum duct going from your dryer to the wall. The vent duct actually continues through the wall to the outside of the house.
The only way to know if you have a lint-clogged dryer vent is to move your dryer and disconnect your vent hose or pipe and inspect it.
Dryer Vent Cleaning Inspection
Carefully pull your dryer away from the wall. Be careful not to damage the vent hose or pipe when you do this. Once you’ve pulled your dryer away from the wall, unplug the power and unhook the dryer vent from the back of it. Look into the vent piping itself and the dryer’s vent outlet. A flashlight is extremely helpful for this. Look for clumps of fluffy gray lint and dust. The walls of the pipe and outlet should be clean. If they aren’t, you’ll need to clean them.
Dryer Vent Cleaning Methods
There are a lot of ways to clean out a dirty dryer vent. From dryer vent cleaning using anything from a leaf blower to a hand brush. There are also professional cleaners who offer dryer vent cleaning services. But you definitely don’t need to be a professional to clean the lint out of your dryer vent.
The Dryer Vent Cleaning Brush Method
This method will give you the most detailed and thorough cleaning. There are a lot of different kinds of brushes you can use, from hand brushes to rotary brushes that connect to a cordless drill.
A hand brush takes the longest, but will allow you to do the most detailed and thorough dryer vent cleaning. This method won’t work if you have a very long dryer vent. Once you have brushed all of the lint out, you can use a vacuum with a hose attachment to clean up the mess.
Most of the rotary brushes have segmented, flexible doweling that you can use to snake the brush through long, winding dryer vents. They aren’t necessary if you only have a short vent from your dryer to the outside of your house, but they are ideal for longer runs. You can also buy extensions to clean even the longest dryer vents. The best of these kits includes an adapter to allow you to brush and vacuum the dryer vent at the same time with a wet dry vac. With the drill-driven brushes, make sure you pass the brush all the way through and bring it all the way back to you. Some homeowners like to do this from both the inside and the outside to do a very thorough dryer vent cleaning. Make sure you do a thorough job.
The Leaf Blower Method
Some homeowners remove the cover from their outside vent and blow the lint out with a leaf blower. You can do this by sticking the end of your leaf blower into the vent piping where your dryer was hooked up and turning it on high. Let it blow for a few minutes to get as much of the lint out as possible. This dryer vent cleaning method is quick, but doesn’t clean the walls of your dryer vent as well as the brush method does.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to clean your dryer vent regularly.