Has your laundry been taking longer than usual to dry? Has your dryer been unusually hot to the touch during its use? Has there been a discernible burning smell emanating from your laundry room? 

 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then there’s a pretty high likelihood that it’s time for you to clean your dryer vent.  

 

Not addressing dirt and buildup in your dryer over time can do more than negatively impact its performance. The heat of the machine, combined with accumulated dust and dryer lint, can become a fire hazard. As a matter of fact, thousands of fires occur annually in the US from blocked dryer vents. 

 

It’s important to maintain a clean dryer in order to efficiently do your laundry, in addition to avoiding sparking a fire in your home. Continue reading below to learn how to clean your clothes dryer vent (at least once a year). 

 

Disconnect Your Dryer

 

Before you start cleaning your dryer vent, it’s important to disconnect it.

 

  • Locate the vent, which can be found at the back of your dryer. Make sure to also locate the dryer exhaust vent outside of your home.
  • Unplug the dryer. If your dryer runs on gas, turn off the supply valve while cleaning.
  • Pull your dryer away from the wall, giving yourself enough space and flexibility to clean the vent
  • Disconnect the duct from behind the dryer— this part may need a screwdriver in order to disconnect the vent clamp.

 

Vacuum the Vent

 

  • Make sure you’re wearing safety gloves for this step— reach back and remove the lint from the hole located at the back of the dryer. 
  • You’ll need a vacuum in order to clean the lint out from the dryer duct. Use the hose attachment of your regular vacuum cleaner in order to thoroughly clean in and around the hole.
  • Tip: Cleaning the duct is easier if you detach the duct from the wall. 
  • Go ahead and remove the lint built up in the duct, and vacuum the duct’s interior. 
  • Next, go outside your house and remove the exterior vent cover. Vacuum the dryer vent from outside. 

 

Brush Out the Vent

 

  • If you find that your dryer vent’s length prevents you from efficiently using a vacuum to remove the buildup, you may want to buy a dryer vent kit as an alternate method. This kit contains several flexible brushes equipped with extensions that can be utilized to thoroughly clean your vent’s interior walls. 
  • The first step in this particular case is to ease the brush into the dryer duct, moving it back and forth as you slightly rotate it. 
  • Use the brush extension as needed— depending on how long your vent is—  and continue this motion until your dryer’s vents are lint and dust-free. 

 

Reconnect Your Dryer

 

  • As soon as you finish cleaning, make sure to inspect your dryer’s ducts to ensure they’re undamaged and meet all safety codes. Replace the ducts if necessary.
  • Reconnect the ductwork with the vent cover. If needed, seal parts of the ductwork with UL-listed metal foil duct tape. 
  • Place your dryer back against the wall. Plug it back into the electrical outlet (or turn the gas valve back on). 
  • If you’d like to test the dryer before using it on any clothes, go ahead and run it for around 15 to 20 minutes on the air dry or fluff setting to ensure all the parts’ connections are strong (and to get rid of any remaining dust particles). 

 

If you feel that these tips aren’t very helpful, or that they’re too overwhelming to accomplish on your own, then it might behoove you to hire a professional dryer vent cleaning service. 

 

We at A Step in Time Chimney Sweeps in Virginia Beach, VA are experienced in all things dryer vent cleaning. 

 

Contact us today for an estimate.