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Cleaning Out your Dryer Vent

Cleaning out dryer vents is an important task homeowners should complete to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Clogged vents can cause many problems, the most serious one being a fire. This is due to excessive lint build up in the vent hose. Once the lint becomes thick and solid, it is very easy for it to catch on fire. So how do you know when it’s time to clean your dryer vent? Below are some warning signs you should pay attention to:

• Excessive moisture in your laundry room
• Clothes take a long time to dry and may not even dry at all
• The outside of the dryer feels hotter than usual
• Lint begins to build up on the wall behind your dryer

In most cases, you can clean your dryer vent without contacting a professional by following the steps below:

• Move the dryer away from the wall. You should be able to see a dryer vent and plug. Unplug the dryer from the wall. If you have a gas dryer, be sure to turn the gas off first.

• Loosen the vent clamp on the back of the dryer with a screwdriver. Remove the vent from the back of the dryer.

• Remove lint from the vent and also from the hole in the back of the dryer. The majority of lint will be found toward the end of the vent hose. If there appears to be more built up in the middle, you can straighten a wire coat hanger and push it from the middle to either end.

• Replace the vent clamp and slide the dryer back to its original spot.

• Remove the vent cover from the outside of the house. You may have to scrape away some caulk from around the cover. The vent tube should easily slide out. Remove any lint from inside the hole. You may have to use the clothes hanger again if there is debris that you are unable to reach. Slide the vent tube back in and replace the cover.

• Plug the dryer back in and, if it is a gas appliance, turn the gas back on. Run the dryer for a few minutes to make sure air is free while flowing through the vent.

The dryer vent should be cleaned about once a year on average. If you dry four to five loads of clothes each day, you may need to clean it every six months. If you are only drying one to two loads a week, you can probably get away with cleaning the dryer vent about every 18 months.

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About the Author

Shari Blumenthal, Priority One Home Repair LLC
PO Box 3291
Glendale, AZ 85311

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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