Clothes from clean dryer flying in bubbles

How to Clean Your Dryer Vent Duct?

Maintaining your home and all its appliances can seem like a never ending to do list, but if you do a few simple tasks can reduce the need for calling in a professional to fix your appliances.  These simple tasks can also reduce the likelihood of a home fire, which is well worth the time and effort to prevent. Maintaining your appliance is key to extending their life cycle. For your clothes dryer cleaning the dryer vent duct is one of the key simple tasks renters or homeowners can tackle to reduce the chances of a house fire and also increase the efficiency of their dryer at the same time. Keeping your dryer is good working order by routinely performing dryer air duct cleaning will also reduce to possibility of being rejected for a home warranty claim.

Cleaning Dryer Vent Duct – Safety First

An unkempt dryer vent can also lead to death. Yes death! If not cleaned properly and you have gas dryer, if a gas heated dryer vent is clogged the dryer can produce Carbon Monoxide and it can leak out of a laundry room or area into the rest of the home causing CO poisoning. The fumes that the dryer releases are very dangerous and the importance of keeping the dryer working properly is key to your home safety. You cannot sense CO in the air, so you want to make sure you have a Carbon Monoxide detector in your laundry area to alert you immediately if there is CO in the air.

Other ways to know it is time to clean your dryers air ducts that you might actually notice are: clothes taking longer to dry than normal, clothes have a distinct hot or burnt smell when removing them from the dryer, or the laundry area itself feeling warmer than normal. Then you know you might need to clean the dryer vent yourself.

The Easiest Way to Clean The Dryer Air Vent

cleaning dryer vent ductHow to clean this dryer vent duct yourself is really pretty simple. The easiest way to clean the dryer air vent is to open the lent trap and make sure it is clear from lent. You should do this every time you use the dryer. Making sure this vent is clean will help your dryer run more efficiently saving you power and time it takes to dry your clothes. Doing this simple task requires no tools so it should be a no brainer! However, for most people it isn’t on their mind as they are sorting all the piles of clothes by color and wash type. According to the U.S. Fire Administration roughly 15,000 fires are the result of dryers. Dirty dryer lent traps and ducts account for 80 percent of the fires. While it is out of sight it shouldn’t be out of mind! The lent trap filter collects most of the lent, but sometimes lent can fall off the trap down into the dryer and to remove that lost lent you will need to use a dryer duct cleaning brush. If you have a vacuum with a long skinny attachment you can also use that to vacuum up the lent left in the trap but using a dryer duct cleaning tool is made specifically to help get those pesky pieces that got away.

Dryer Duct from Dryer to Wall

Likewise, with any home project you want to start with safety precautions. You will want to disconnect the power from the dryer before cleaning out the dryer duct. Make sure you don’t just drop the electrical cord behind the dryer, or it can be a pain to get picked back up. Pull the cord and hang it over the front of the dryer. Once you have done that you should be safe to work on the dryer without concern of being shocked. You should make sure you have all the tools you need before starting the project. The required tools will vary depending on how your dryer is connected to the wall. More than likely you will need a vent brush (a dryer vent duct cleaning tool), a screw driver and a power drill and a trash bag to collect all the lent. You will want to pull the dryer away from the wall, try not to pull too far too fast because the dryer duct may be attached to the wall and it could get damaged if you pull too far too fast.

Disconnect It

Once you have gently pulled the dryer away from the wall giving you enough space to work, you can remove any screws holding the dryer vent collar in place. This will free up some more space for you to move the dryer back a little further. Remove all the screws either with a screwdriver or a power drill. Put all the screws in a cup away from your work sight so you do not accidentally knock them over. Remove the elbow that goes directly into the back of the dryer to gain access to inside the dryer. You can reach in and remove any large lent clumps that may be in there. You can use the clothes dryer vent cleaning brush to get way back into the back of the unit to make sure you didn’t miss any large lent clumps.

cleaning out dryer duct and washing machine that on top of itOnce you have cleared the dryer unit itself turn and do the same thing to the duct in the wall. You can use your dryer brush to get most of it and you can also use a vacuum with a long hose on it to try and get any pieces stuck in the wall duct. After you have cleared everything you can see it is time to put the vent back together. Using the screws, you saved from earlier you want to try and put them back in the same spots, in case there are any that are of a different size. You can use the screwdriver or a power drill to screw the duct back into place. You will also push the dryer back into place. Make sure it is still level after moving it around. You can adjust each of the feet on the bottom of the dryer by turning them left or right to lower or heighten them. You want the dryer level, so it doesn’t make horrible sounds and shake when in use. After all of this is done you can plug your dryer back in, easily because you pulled the cord away from the back, so it didn’t get stuck behind the dryer. You might also notice your utility bill being higher than normal because the dryer isn’t running as efficiently.

Outsource It!

It can be a tight squeeze to get back behind the dryer, so you don’t want to wear baggy clothes than catch and make your simple task a challenging one. If it is too tight of a spot for you to work in, you might want to consider calling someone who cleans out dryer duct vents. Companies that would clean dryer vent ducts are also cleans the HVAC system air ducts at the same time. Dryer duct cleaning cost may vary between $140 and $700 as most companies will clean the rest of the homes air ducts at the same time. Whether or not companies will clean only the dryer vent will vary company to company. How often you should clean your dryer duct depends on your household, but in general you should schedule air duct dryer vent cleaning at least once a year.

Simply Making Your Dryer Duct Clean and Safe

Cleaning the lent trap of your clothes dryer between every cycle will ensure that your dryer is not working harder than it needs to and will extend the life of the unit. Cleaning the dryer air duct in the back of the dryer at least once a year will help maintain the performance of your dryer as well. Doing both of these simple tasks can increase energy efficiency keeping your utility costs low and reduce the possibility of a denied home warranty claim if one is ever needed. Doing simple tasks in your home can save you time, waiting for service professionals for repairs, energy and money!

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