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Understand and Prevent the Dangerous Effects of a Clogged Dryer Vent

From mowing the lawn and trimming your shrubs to washing the windows and replacing roofing shingles, home maintenance can seem overwhelming. Unfortunately, most homeowners completely forget about their dryer vents, which can affect the appliance's function while increasing the risk of dangerous fires.
While this is shocking to learn, an estimated 2,900 dryer fires occur each year in the United States, and 34 percent of these fires occur because the dryer vents are not properly cleaned. Learning the dangers of clogged dryer vents will help you understand the importance of cleaning and maintenance. With this guide and your contractor's help, your dryer will work in an effective and safe manner.

Understand the Dryer Vent

Your dryer will see a great deal of use over time. The constant laundering of clothes, towels and linens will cause dirt, dust and lint to build up inside the lint trap.
Cleaning this lint trap out after each use is necessary, but the debris will still build up inside the ductwork and exterior vent.
You should also check the exterior vent for visible dust and lint. Removing the buildup from the exterior vent is also important for improving air flow from the dryer vent, but cleaning the exterior is not enough to significantly reduce the risk of a fire.
Without proper cleaning and maintenance, your dryer vent will not exhaust properly. This can cause the area to overheat, reducing its function while also causing a fire hazard to your home and family.
Again, removing lint from the dryer's lint trap and exterior dryer vent is helpful, but it is not enough. A professional dryer vent cleaning will remove all dust, dirt, lint and other debris that has accumulated through the entire venting system.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce buildup in your lint trap and vent. Here are a few tips to consider:
Reduce the use of dryer sheets. Dryer sheets contain residue that will clog up the lint filter.
Line dry when possible. Consider hanging laundry on lines to air dry whenever possible.
Run shorter cycles. Only run your dryer in 30- to 40-minute intervals. Doing this allows more air to circulate, reducing lint buildup that can clog up your vent.
Vacuum periodically. You can also use an attachment to vacuum out lint that has accumulated in the lint trap opening after you clean the filter. Also, remove the back cover from your dryer and suck out dirt and lint that has built up in this area.
If you follow these tips, you can significantly increase the safety of your family and home.

Watch for Signs Indicating You Need Vent Cleaning

You should clean your lint trap and exterior vent regularly, but you can do more to help prevent fires by learning the signs that you need a more involved vent cleaning.
After one normal cycle, your clothes should be dry. If they are still damp after a 30- to 40-minute cycle, check the lint trap. If the lint trap is basically clean, your dryer vent needs to be cleaned.
Of course, an excessive amount of lint that builds up quickly in your lint trap is also a sign that your vent should be cleaned.
Your clothes should be dry and warm after a cycle. If you are unable to touch the clothes because they are too hot, clogged venting may be preventing air from flowing out of the dryer. A full cleaning of the dryer vent system can eradicate this problem.
Cleaning your dryer vent may not seem like an important task, but it is an essential part of your dryer's function and your home's safety. To learn more, contact Carolina Ductmasters today.