With a large family, especially an active one, you can do multiple loads of laundry every week. After each load comes out of the dryer, you should be clearing out the lint trap. But how often are you cleaning the dryer vent?
A dryer vent full of dust, lint, or other debris won’t just make your dryer run less efficiently, it is also a serious fire hazard. When you notice that your dryer needs over one cycle to finish your load, that could be a sign that you need to check the vent.
Locating your duct is a simple first step. Typically behind every dryer is a 4-inch diameter exhaust that connects to dedicated ductwork. This takes the form of an aluminum elbow or other pipe that leads directly to an opening on an outside wall of your house. The end of this vent has a cover that opens to let warm air out, but will otherwise stay shut to keep out cold air or critters.
The next couple steps are where it can get tricky. You will want to disconnect the vent from the dryer safely, and that might involve you needing to pull the dryer away from the wall. With an electric dryer, the first thing you will want to do is unplug your dryer, and then inspect the connection of the vent to your dryer. You should hold it in place either by tape or clamps.
You should have clear access to the dryer’s duct now. A specialized dryer cleaning kit, typically available at many home improvement or hardware stores, will help get the job done. This kit includes a lint brush with a couple flexible segments that will allow you to reach in deep into the duct.
Insert the brush and the rod into your ductwork and dislodge any debris that may be present. Push the brush as far as you can down the duct, slightly turning it as you do to force any debris out. You should also vacuum out both areas where the vent connects to as an extra measure.
When you know that your dryer duct is clear, the next step is to tidy up the area. Chances are pieces of lint have found their way into your flow, which you can sweep or vacuum up. Finally, reconnect the duct to your dryer, push it back into place, and plug it back in.
Before throwing your next load of laundry in there, run your dryer with no clothing to make sure it has all its power back, and operating at peak efficiency.
Just by cleaning the dryer vent you have made a huge improvement to your home, both by becoming more energy efficient and by cutting down on a potential fire hazard. For more tips and information on making your home safer and more efficient, call Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning at (734) 425-1415.