DIY: Cleaning Your Dryer Vent – Atlanta Fire Damage Restoration

dryer vent cleaningIf your household is anything like mine, you spend a lot of time doing laundry.  In fact, there is rarely a day that we don’t have the washer and dryer running!  With all of this use, proper maintenance is needed to keep clothes drying quickly and efficiently, while also maintaining safety of the appliance.

Why is regular maintenance so important?

In 1999 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPC) developed a report called the “Report on Electric and Gas Clothes Dryers,” which concluded that 15,000 fires  were caused by dryers annualy. These fires started most frequently from two places: dryer venting and the lint trap.

How to tell if your dryer needs maintenance?

  • Clothes take longer than normal to dry or won’t dry completely
  • The exterior of the dryer feels very hot to the touch
  • Burning smell
  • The dryer leaves orange of brown spots on your clothing
  • You haven’t been maintaining it every 6 months

Steps to properly clean dryer vent –

  1.  Unplug the dryer. If you have a gas dryer, shut off the gas.
  2. Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the hose.  You will need to unscrew the clamp that holds the hose on the dryer and carefully slide it off.
  3. Clean lint and debris from the outside of the hose and reach inside the hole in the dryer. Chances are there will be lint and possibly small items like socks stuck inside; pull them out.  You can also use a shop vac or vacuum cleaner to help suck the lint out.
  4. Repeat this with the inside of the detached hose.
  5. Once cleaned, reattach the hose to the clamp and dryer.  Slide the dryer back into place.
  6. Head outside and remove the cover to the exterior vent. It could be attached with screws or calk, or a combination of the two.  Remove the screws with a screwdriver, and remove calk with a razor. If there is a sleeve attached, make sure that you pull it straight out to prevent damage.
  7. Reach into the hole in your home and pull out lint and debris.  Again you can use a shop vac or home vacuum with a crevice tool to clean out debris.
  8.  Once everything looks clear, head inside and plug in the dryer.  Turn it to the air fluff cycle for about 10 minutes and go back outside.  Stand back and watch the air flow from your exterior dryer vent.  There should be small amounts of “fluff” coming out of the dryer, and the flow should feel strong indicating that there are no obstructions.  If this is the case, replace the cover to the vent.
  9. You have successfully cleaned your dryer vent!!

All dryers and venting systems are different. Some vent through the side of the house and others vent through the roof.  If yours does happen to vent through the roof, you might want to consider calling a professional for the exterior cleaning portion. Through regular use, lint and other debris collect and restrict airflow to and from your dryer, causing a serious fire hazard.  This simple cleaning of the dryer’s vent hose is all that’s needed to ensure that your appliance is running properly, efficiently, and safely.

We are Atlanta’s premier water and fire restoration experts specializing in water damage, water restoration, water extraction, fire damage, smoke damage, mold remediation and more. Serving metro Atlanta and surrounding cities since 1998. For more home improvement and safety tips follow us on Twitter: @premierdryingFacebook or Google+.

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