Appliance Parts and Repair: Cleaning the Dryer Vent: Yes, No or Maybe?

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009  

Cleaning the Dryer Vent: Yes, No or Maybe?- CLICK HERE!

Before we get started, the answer is yes - get your dryer vent cleaned!

Getting your dryer vent cleaned (or even cleaning it yourself is of the upmost important to possibly saving your own life) - or at the least .. extending the life of your clothes dryer.

Even a cleaned lint screen traps only 75% of the lint produced inside a dryer. The rest of the lint builds up over time inside the dryer vent, becoming a fire hazard. Dryer lint is highly flammable and has the potential to ignite at any time.

Cleaning your Dryer Vents serves a number of purposes:
  • It protects your home & its contents from fires, smoke and pollutants
  • Significantly reduces energy operating costs
  • Dryers run more efficiently
  • Dryers will last longer
  • Clothes will dry faster

For DIY type people - here is a general step-by-step to clean your dryer vent:

  • Unplug the clothes dryer (from both gas & electric). If you have a gas clothes dryer, shut off the gas.
  • Pull the dryer out, just to the extension of your dryer vent, (usually about 2 feet).
  • Using a screwdriver or nut driver, loosen the 4" clamp (dryer vent clamp) on the back of the dryer.
  • Slide the vent off the dryer.
  • Reach into the hole on the back of the dryer, and pull out any lint and buildup. A shop or house vacuum cleaner can help reach inside and usually does a good job of removing the lint.
  • Reach into the dryer vent tubing you just took off and pull out lint from there, as well. The vacuum works well here also.
  • Look at the ends. Most of the lint will build at the ends (within a foot), and not so much in the middle of the vents. If you do find a large buildup in the middle, you can use a plumbing snake to pull it out. Try the flexible hose on your vacuum cleaner to reach inside, whether it is running or not.
    Slide the dryer vent clamp back over the vent, reattach the dryer vent, tighten the clamp, and slide dryer back into place.
  • Remove the dryer vent on the outside of the house as well. This one may have caulking around the cover, as well as screws. Use a razor knife to cut away the caulk. It may have a sleeve about a foot long. If this is the case, slide it straight out.
  • Reach in and clean out the lint or insert your vacuum cleaner tubing into the dryer exhaust tubing. You can reach as far as your arm will go or use the vacuum tubing.
  • Look into the vent to see if you missed anything. If it's out of reach use a plumber's snake or other tool (vacuum cleaner tubing).
  • Turn on gas and plug unit back in.
  • Run dryer on air fluff for 10 minutes. Debris you just loosened may fly out, so don't stand right outside.
  • Recheck the outside vent for obstructions and reattach the outside vent.

Be safe - Clean your vent or have a professional do it for you.

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