The clothes dryer is a modern convenience that is one of the most commonly owned household appliances. As with all appliances, proper maintenance and inspection are essential, both for the health of the machine and the safety of the owners. Even with correct and regular dryer use, dryer vents can become clogged over time. When this happens safety issues can arise, so it’s important to schedule a dryer vent cleaning. Owners researching dryer vent cleaning services typically ask how to tell if a vent needs cleaning and what is included in the dryer vent cleaning cost.
Dangers of a Clogged Dryer Vent
A clogged dryer vent presents several dangers and some are more subtle than others. The major danger associated with a dryer vent that needs to be unclogged is fire. Clogged vent systems that cannot properly allow air to escape to the outside might lead to a buildup of exhaust gas inside the laundry room, creating a fire hazard. Other dangers are also associated with clogged dryer vents.
- Overheating. Dryer vent clogs can also lead to chronic overheating, damaging the machine in the process.
- Electrical issues. In some cases, a frequently overheating dryer can cause short-circuiting and electrical issues that can affect the general electrical system of the home.
- Increased energy bills. Although it is more subtle and might take longer to notice, a clogged dryer vent can cause financial damage through increased utility bills. When a dryer is not as efficient as it should be, it can be a drain on energy. The excess heat from a dryer can even lead to increased temperature in adjacent rooms, further driving up energy costs.
What Causes a Clogged Dryer Vent
A household clothes dryer is an appliance that is typically used on a regular basis. Even a perfectly performing dryer collects lint as it is expelled from clothing during the normal drying process. For this reason, all dryers are equipped with a lint trap to catch the excess lint and prevent clogging of the vent.
In order for this process to continue to function properly, owners should be diligent about cleaning out the lint trap. Cleaning the lint trap after every use is recommended. Unfortunately, some owners skip this step or do not perform it as frequently as necessary to keep the machine maintained. Over time the lint screen can no longer filter out the excess lint so the excess begins to make its way into the dryer vent ductwork, leading to the potential for dryer vent clogging. In rare cases, birds or other animals can build nests inside improperly protected vents on the exterior of the home, causing a blockage.
Signs To Look for When Needing a Dryer Vent Cleaning
If regular dryer vent cleaning of the lint trap is not a part of the daily maintenance routine, chances are the dryer vent has some amount of debris buildup. Even with proper usage, lint traps can become less efficient over time, so keeping an eye out for signs of dryer vent blockage can help save the owner time and money. The most noticeable signs involve the functioning of the machine itself such as:
- Clothes remaining damp after a regular cycle has completed
- Taking several cycles for clothes to dry completely
- Odd smells on freshly-dried clothing, such as a musty odor or burnt smell
- Dry clothes might feel hotter than usual, which could mean the dryer is using more energy
Dryers that are experiencing decreased efficiency can also put off so much extra heat that it makes the surrounding rooms warmer, leading to a utility bill increase.
When to Call in a Professional for Dryer Vent Cleaning Services
When symptoms of a dryer vent clog have become evident, when is it time to call a professional company to help? What is involved in cleaning, and how much does it cost? Some owners choose to have regular annual inspections and cleanings to prevent any symptoms from occurring. Not only does this mitigate most of the risks, but it also prevents an increase of utility bills, and those savings can add up. A simple cleaning is extremely affordable and involves the disconnection the hose from the dryer and a clearing out of the vent, as well as checking for signs of excessive wear or damage.