Clothes dryer is one of these home appliances that needs to be checked and cleaned regularly in order to work properly and not cause problems and risk the safety of our home or commercial building. Its cleaning may be a messy job but it should not be skipped no matter if we own a high-rise or low rise building.
Some homeowners choose to clean only the lint screen but this is insufficient and it finishes only half the job. Only when all the dryer vent lines are cleaned, we can be sure that there is no risk of any damage to our dryer machine. When our clothes dryer works properly we are saving both time, effort and money.
When neglected for a long time, clogged clothes dryer vents can cause different problems such as mold development, fire risk and a potential damage and break down to our dryer unit.
So, the regular clean up of our home dryer vent line can in fact save us from paying for expensive repairs or buying a new dryer machine in the future.
It’s important to clean the vents of our clothes dryer vent regularly because clogged dryer vents pose a risk to our health and can damage our property. The dryer’s ductwork needs regular and proper maintenance and clean-up otherwise there is a risk of damage to the building.
What steps we should take to clean our dryer?
Locating the dryer
The dryer vent usually starts from the inside the laundry room and exits through an external wall. To clean our dryer ventilation system, we should know first where it is located and where it ends. Most clothes dryer units have at their back a 4-inch diameter exhaust. This exhaust connects through an aluminium elbow or other type of pipe to a ductwork designed for this purpose inside the wall.
There is a hot air inside these pipes that moves following its path and exits through an opening that is placed on the outside wall of the building. But the setup model of the ductwork varies depending on the type of dryer unit we own. The exit vent may be located at a ground level where it’s recommended to be capped by a plastic cover to keep animals at bay. Its purpose is to allow warm air to escape without letting pests enter the building and also to prevent birds from building nests inside the vent.
Disconnecting the dryer
We should do this in a safe way. After finding the start and end zones of the dryer ductwork, we can begin disconnecting it. If our dryer is of the electric type, the task of disconnecting it should not be too complex.
The next step is to unplug the unit’s power cord from the wall outlet at the laundry room wall. We should remove any clamps or metal tape that keeps the dryer vent pipe connected to its exhaust. The goal is to remove the material that attaches the vent to the duct inside the wall.
Get the vent pipe away from the duct in the wall. If the dryer is electric, we should be able to pull away the pipe without any problem. By doing this we will create more space to work easy. If your dryer vent runs on natural gas, you should be more careful when disconnecting the dryer. In this case we should be careful not to interrupt the dryer’s gas line when repositioning the dryer unit.
Similarly to gas ranges the fuel hook up is made of a steel hose that is flexible. This hose should be tightly connected. We should be extra careful with this task since a gas leak is not a good thing.
That is why if we are not entirely sure in our skills to disconnect our dryer vent from the ductwork correctly, we should better contact a professional company. If you come up an obstacle while trying to clean your dryer vent lines, you shouldn’t hesitate to call up reputable company to do the job instead of you.
Professional cleaners should be equipped with a specialized dryer vent cleaning equipment that enables them to complete the cleaning task quickly and efficiently.
Cleaning the dryer vent
After we gain an access to the dryer duct opening. We can access the exit vent by removing the duct cover or duct flap. At this point we may need a special dryer vent cleaning kit. It is sold at the household stores.
The kit should contain six 2-feet-long flexible segments and a lint brush. These two things should be joined together to form a rod that is long approximately 3 meters. We use this brush to clean inside the vent.
We should attach it to a power drill chuck and we should be able to spin it with a high speed and power in order to clean any build-up inside the vent properly.
We can buy an additional unit to this which is double the length of the first one and it has a back-up brush head added to its. Its end can fit inside standard size power drill chucks.
After we insert the brush end of the rod into the dryer’s duct. We can go to the outside of the property and insert it into the exit vent as this is the highest point. This helps us use the power of gravity to clean more easily the clogged debris inside.
We should try to push the brush as far as possible in the duct. Our rod should be long enough to reach the other end of the ductwork so keep that in mind when buying a brush rod.
Then we should spin the brush counter clockwise so as not to unscrew any of its parts. As ductworks have twists and turns, the whole brushing process depends on how many twists our ductwork has.
Collecting the lint and reconnecting the dryer vent
If we have done the previous step properly, the lint build-up should come out of the wall vent. The removed debris can be cleaned by a dust pan or a standard broom rather than a vacuum cleaner.
After the lint is all cleaned up, we should reconnect the dryer vent. If our dryer’s vent is linked through a soft-foil to the wall duct, then we should throw it away. The reason for this is because this type of semi-rigid hose actually creates the risk of fire. A better and safer choice are 90-degree aluminium elbows which offer durability and excellent air flow.
The next step for us to carefully slide the dryer back to its place and reconnect it to the ductwork. a soft foil-style vent to link to the wall duct.
Final post-cleaning check
Now we should conduct a test to see if everything works fine and we are ready to dry our next laundry.
Top reasons why we should clean our dryer’s ductwork regularly
From how we maintain our dryer ductwork depends the safe condition of our property and even our health.
When we have clogged dryer vent lines, our clothes may need more than one cycle to dry properly. When the dryer’s vents are lint-free, the clothes dryer will have a normal function. And when the dryer is working properly, our clothes will dry quickly.
When there is a lint build-up left uncleaned in our dryer vents, it will take longer for our laundry to fully dry or it won’t dry at all. When our clothes dryer doesn’t work well, the clothes may start smelling like mold. Properly cleaned dryer vents have a good air flow which ensures the efficient performance of the clothes dryer.
Bigger energy bill
Even if a ductwork isn’t seriously clogged with debris, the existence of small amount of grime can compromise the effective work of our dryer and make it work harder and wasting electricity.
Therefore we are likely to lose energy, money and time when we aren’t paying much attention to the condition of our clothes dryer’s ducts. Well-cleaned dryer vent line ensures quick and effective drying times for our clothes.
When there is accumulated lint inside the dryer ductwork , this increase the risk of fire. Most household fires in fact start from dryer fires. The lint build-up inside the dryer ductwork restricts the air flow.
When the dryer vents are clogged the dryer doesn’t operate properly and it overheats when the hot air gets stuck inside the drum As a result from this the collected lint may ignite. One sign that shows our clothes dryer is overheated is when its top is hot when you touch it.
Big repair bills
When the clothes dryer is overheated, it can break down and a repairment will follow which is rather costly or even replacement with a new one. When a dryer machine is damaged water can appear around or behind the unit. This won’t happen if we clean regularly the dryer vent lines. Regular clean-up of the clothes dryer ductwork can help us have reduced maintenance costs.