Proper Dryer Vent Maintenance

We all know how important it is to keep dryer vents free from lint buildup, but there is more to dryer vent maintenance than that. As Bob Formisano, writing for The Spruce, explains, “Plenty of lint makes it past the filter and gets trapped in crevices deep inside the lint filter trap and all along the dryer vent hose or duct as it makes its way to the outside vent opening. When the collections build up, they restrict airflow and lead to overheating, which can ignite the lint itself.” This sounds scary, but there are plenty of steps homeowners can take to avoid this risk. Read on for two important dryer vent to-dos to keep your home healthy and safe.

Dryer Vent To-Do 1: Inspect for Signs of Lint Buildup

Problems with lint buildup will not appear out of nowhere. Consider whether your dryer evidences any of the signs of buildup that Formisano notes so that you can act right away:

  • Your clothes take too long to dry or do not dry completely
    Your clothes are hotter than usual at the end of a normal dryer cycle
    The outside of the dryer gets very hot
    Your laundry room becomes more humid than usual

If any of these symptoms are afoot, you may need to take steps to address lint buildup.

Dryer Vent To-Do 2: Eliminate the Lint

Eliminating a good deal of lint buildup is within the reach of most homeowners. Start with your lint trap. Are you emptying it after every dyer cycle? If not, you need to get into the habit right away. Keep a small wastebasket near the dryer for convenience and to remind you treo empty the lint each and every time you pull a load out.

While you’re at it, grab a flashlight and peer down into the space where the lint trap is housed. Our guess is there is going to be quite a bit of lint buildup just beyond your reach, especially if you have not been emptying the trap each time. Grab your vacuum and the hose attachment with the slimmest nozzle and get to work.

Lastly, it is important to regularly clear out your dryer vent ductwork. This is one of the most common areas to experience lint buildup, but it can also be one of the most difficult ones to access. If you suspect or discover that you have a good deal of buildup in the ducts, we recommend saving yourself the trouble of cleaning it yourself and hiring a professional to complete the job safely and effectively.


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