dryer vent on fire

The Forgotten Chore

Do you have a dryer in your home? If so, you likely think nothing of performing routine maintenance on it. You might try to stay up to date on furnace cleaning, gutter cleaning, and you probably always clean out the lint filter in between loads of laundry, but when was the last time you had your dryer vents cleaned? Depending on how often you use your dryer, it is recommended to clean the vent at least once a year to prevent excess build up of lint.

Why is it so important to keep dryer vents clean?

-          Clogged dryer vents are extremely dangerous. Clothes dryers are the cause of more than 15,000 fires in the U.S alone, according to the Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Centre. Almost every one of these could have been prevented with routine dryer vent cleaning.

-          Decrease the environmental and financial burden. It has been estimated that cleaning your lint screen can decrease energy use by up to 30%. The same can be said of keeping your dryer vent clean. This reduction in energy use saves money on your monthly utility bills, in addition to prolonging the life of your dryer.

-          Keep animals out of your home. Especially in the winter, your warm and cozy dryer vent is a welcome home to rodents and birds. By keeping your dryer vent clean and free of excess lint, you’ll make your dryer vent is a less desirable place to live.

-          Prevent harmful fumes and molds from entering your home. When your dryer vent is clogged with lint, the damp air from the dryer cannot properly exhaust outside, resulting in moisture build up in the vent. This can create toxic molds that ventilate into your home, and if your dryer runs off gas, it could even lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

How do you know when to clean the dryer vent?

Before anything extreme happens, you’ll notice a few different signs that your vent needs cleaning. Without prior knowledge, these signs may seem like an indication of a faulty dryer or a broken part, but before you consider buying a replacement, try cleaning the vents first.

-          Your laundry takes longer than usual to fully dry. One of the signs that your dryer vent is clogged is an increase in the time it takes to completely dry a load of laundry. This increase usually happens slowly over time and may be hard to notice until it’s taking almost double what it should to complete a cycle.

-          Your clothes, dryer and laundry room feel hot and moist. If the hot air is not being exhausted properly out of your home, you’ll notice that the room and machine feel warm and humid. Your clothes will also probably feel hotter than they should.

-          Your clothes smell strange, or burnt. Another indication that your dryer vents are clogged is a funny smell to your clothes. If they come out smelling burnt or musty, it’s due to the fact that the damp air is not able to ventilate outside.

Typically, if you clean your lint screen after each usage, you should only need a professional cleaning once a year. It’s a small expense that can save your home and your life, while ensuring your clothes are laundered safely and effectively. To save yourself the hassle of having multiple contractors in your home, it’s generally recommended to book your dryer vent cleaning at the same time as your furnace cleaning service.


For more information on dryer vent cleaning, contact Flanagan’s Furnace & Duct Cleaning today!