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Why Do Dryer Vents Need to Be Cleaned?

December 27, 2018

If you’re like most people, then you’re probably well aware that you’re supposed to clean your dryer’s lint trap between loads. What the warnings on your appliances don’t tell you, however, is that you also need to clean the vent that leads from the dryer to the outside of your home.

Failing to keep your dryer vent free of lint can have a number of side effects that you’d rather not have to deal with. Here are just a few great reasons to maintain a clean appliance.

Why Do Dryer Vents Need to Be Cleaned?

Inefficient Dryer Function

Vents let dryers expel the humid air that they produce as a byproduct of removing moisture from clothing. If the vent is obstructed, however, then all of that water can’t escape.

You may not notice too much of a difference if your dryer vent is only slightly clogged. When it gets really backed up, however, you’ll start to observe that your clothes take longer to dry than normal. While this is pretty inconvenient, it also means that you’ll end up using more electricity and spending more money on utilities.

Potential Health Issues

In many cases, overly clogged dryer vents block the lint that should usually get removed from clothes and stick in the trap. As a result, your clothes might be full of small fibers and particles that tend to linger and spread through your home. If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory ailments, then an ineffective dryer could just worsen the problem by forcing you to breathe dust-filled air.

Clogged vent pipes also hold moisture. This may make them particularly attractive to pests that could carry diseases.

Fire Hazards

The biggest reason to clean your dryer vents is that not doing so is like asking for a fire. Due to the small sizes of individual fibers, dryer lint is extremely combustible. Even worse, dryers are sources of high heat, and clogged machines often get hotter than they should because they can’t remove the warm air they generate.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, also known as USFA, thousands of fires occur each year due to home clothes drivers. These incidents are just the ones that get reported, and they’re responsible for millions of dollars in property losses as well as numerous fatalities and injuries annually. Out of all fire events involving dryers, at least one-third are caused by people failing to clean their appliances properly.

Reducing Your Risk

So how often should you clean your dryer vent pipe? The USFA recommends performing one full cleaning every three months. It also notes the importance of hiring a professional to do the work.

Clothes dryers don’t have to be dangerous. As with any appliance, however, it’s up to you to maintain them in safe operating condition. Why not talk to a Hydro-Clean specialist about your options?

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