The clothes dryer is widely considered to be an essential modern convenience. And we wouldn’t argue with that. After all, even if you live in a place where you’re able to hang your clothes outside on the line who actually has the time to do that anymore? And besides, what do you do when it’s below freezing for days at a time? So you don’t have to work too hard to make a compelling argument for the clothes dryer. But there is one aspect of the modern dryer that is both little talked about and the source of a slew of potential problems: the dryer vent. In this post, we're going to take a close look at common dryer vent issues and the need for regular vent cleaning.
Common Problems and the Importance of Dryer Vent Cleaning
Did you know that more than 15,000 house fires a year in the US can be traced to the dryer vent? It’s true. What makes that statistic even more disturbing is that none of those dryer-vent house fires have to happen. With regular dryer vent cleaning, you can fend off the threat of fire. But let’s back up a bit and take a look at the most common dryer vent problems.
- Vent is clogged with lint - All the lint produced by your dryer has to go somewhere. Lots if it is caught by the lint filter. But plenty more finds its way into the dryer vent where it collects along the walls. This is the number 1 cause of dryer-vent driven house fires. Once the vent becomes clogged, it loses its ability to effectively vent the heat from the dryer. That heat then builds up and eventually the lint catches fire. The best and easiest way to prevent a tragedy is to have the team from Steve’s in for vent cleaning.
- Too many turns in the vent - In a best-case scenario, a dryer vent should make a straight line from the dryer to the vent hood on the exterior of the house. That’s because you don’t want to make it easy for dryer lint to collect in the vent. The more twists and turns you add to the vent the more opportunities for lint to catch hold and start to build up. It’s a recipe for disaster.
- The dryer vent is too long - The fan that removes the hot dryer air from the dryer is not very big. If your dryer vent is too long that fan is not going to be able to work effectively and lint will begin to accumulate in the vent at an alarming rate. Make sure to position your dryer so that the vent is as short as possible. 10 feet is good. 25 feet is just too long.
- Squished transition tube - Before the hot air from the dryer can be vented outside it needs to get from the dryer to the vent in the wall. It does this by way of a short transition tube. The transition tube attaches to the back of the dryer at one end and the wall vent at the other. But if the dryer is pushed back too hard against the wall the transition tube can get squished and lead to a clog and eventually a fire.
- A jammed exhaust flap - The hot air exiting the dryer travels up the vent hose until it reaches the vent cover. There it pushes the vent flaps outward, allowing the hot air to escape. Sometimes the dryer vent flap can get stuck open. And when that happens outside air travels down the vent hose to the dryer and can really mess things up. Especially if it’s freezing cold outside. Vent flaps get jammed open for a number of reasons. It might be excess lint holding it open or it may even be a bird’s nest. You can avoid this problem by having the dryer vent cleaned regularly.
- A clogged pest screen - As we just alluded to it’s not unheard of for a bird to pry its way into your dryer vent and set up house. To prevent this some homeowners install a pest screen across the end of the vent hose. This allows hot wet air to escape while preventing birds or other animals from taking up residence in the vent. However, just as the vent itself can become clogged with lint, so too can the pest screen. Once that happens hot air backs up and you’ve got the makings of a house fire. Dryer vent cleaning can prevent this.
- Poor vent installation - Not everyone does as good a job as the pros from Steve’s Carpet Care. Sometimes the people who install dryer vents don’t take the time to ensure they’ve done it right. The result can be leaks, crimps in the vent, clamps that come loose and more. If your dryer is not working as efficiently as it should be, or the laundry room is unusually hot, you may have leaks resulting from a bad vent installation. Call Steve’s and we’ll correct this problem for you.
Vent cleaning is every bit as important to keeping a clean safe house as air duct cleaning. If you are having problems with your dryer vent or even if you suspect there may be a problem don’t hesitate. Call Steve’s Carpet Care immediately. If you wait until the vent causes a house fire it will be too late.