Do you find yourself in a situation where your clothes are relatively damp after a full drying cycle? Is the outside of your dryer getting extremely hot during its job? Many people don’t realize that their dryer vents need to be cleaned out until it’s too late.
Cleaning your dryer vents isn’t just important for the cleanliness for your clothes. Over months and years of use, lint will accumulate in these ducts and in the event of mixing with hot air the lint can ignite, causing a fire hazard. Did you know every year $35 million of damages are caused because of dryer duct fires? This is a common disaster and in order to avoid it, you must do more than just clean the lint trap after each use.
Experts recommend you clean your dryer vent twice a year. Doing this on your own might sound like an intimidating process but we have some tips to help you do it relatively quickly.
Before you begin cleaning, it’s imperative that you first figure out whether your dryer is gas-powered or electric.
- Gas-powered dryers will be plugged into a standard 110 volt three prong outlet and will also be connected to a gas valve.*
- Electric-powered dryers will have a grounded 240 volt outlet. The plug will be much larger than a standard plug and will have either three or four prongs.
*If your dryer is gas-powered, you’ll want to turn off your gas supply valve before cleaning, and be careful not to disturb the flexible gas line. If at any point you’re unsure about what you’re doing, feel free to call a professional duct cleaner.
Tools you’ll need to clean your dryer vent
- Dryer vent cleaning kit - you can purchase this kit at your local hardware store (about $20).
- Power drill
- Vacuum or broom and dustpan
Step 1 - Locate your dryer vent
Before you clean your dryer vent, you’ll need to first locate the vent. Most dryers are connected to a short, 4-inch diameter pipe that connects to your wall. Hot air is pushed through this pipe and escapes from a vent on the outside of your home.
Take a peek into your outside dryer vent and look for any dust, debris, dead bugs, and lint. Wash any screens and clear out any noticeable obstructions from the vent.
Step 2 - Disconnect your dryer
After identifying your dryer type, you’re ready to unplug your dryer. Next, remove any clamps and tape that are attached to the exhaust and dryer vent pipe. Apply a gentle pressure when pulling the vent pipe from the wall, careful not to break the pipe.
Step 3 - Vacuum
You should be able to get a good look into your dryer vent from here. Use the host attachment of your vacuum cleaner to suck up any lint in and around the exhaust.
Step 4 - Clean with your brush
Grab your vent cleaning kit and attach the brush head to your power drill and insert the brush into the duct. Push the brush in as far as you can, you may need to maneuver the hose attachment to push the brush in farther.
If your brush does not reach through the entire duct, you may repeat this step from the outside vent.
Step 5 - Clean up and reconnect
At this point, you’ve probably brought out a whole load of lint. Use your vacuum or brush and dustpan to clean up.
Plug your dryer back into the outlet and reconnect your wall duct.
Congratulations, you have now cleaned your dryer vent. Turn on your dryer, and enjoy the sound of air flow and dry clothes after one full cycle!
To prevent future lint build up be sure to sweep around and under your dryer as often as possible and clean your lint trap after each cycle.
If you have any questions or need help cleaning your dryer vent, you’re in luck! Northwest Breeze offers easy and affordable dryer vent cleaning in Oregon.