Have you ever lived without a clothes dryer? Anyone who has had to spend countless hours hanging laundry on a line to dry knows that automatic dryers are a true luxury and one of the best modern conveniences available to us.
But few homeowners realize that convenient machines can turn on them and cause serious destruction if the task of dryer vent cleaning is neglected. It's not just a matter of keeping your machine running efficiently, it's a matter of keeping your family and property safe from harm.
Why is it so important to get your dryer exhaust vent professionally cleaned? And how can you even tell if it needs cleaning? This guide will explain some symptoms of a dryer in need of attention and five reasons why keeping the ventilation channel clean and free of lint is so crucial.
What Are the Signs That Dryer Vents Need Cleaning?
Before we get into all the reasons you need to have your ductwork maintained, let's take a look at the warning signs that your drying machine is struggling. Have you noticed any of these telltale signs?
You still have damp clothes at the end of one cycle
Clothes have a musty smell after drying
Takes more than about 30 to 45 minutes for a load of clothes
Fabric is very hot when you take it out of the machine
Lint and debris buildup along the wall duct opening (outside)
A dryer (and ductwork) that are in good condition should not be giving you any of these issues.
5 Reasons Why You Must Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned
There are five key reasons why your tumble-dryer's ventilation channel needs professional cleaning, and they range in importance from "absolutely critical" to "a nice bonus."
1. Protect Your Home and Family From a House Fire
If you only take one thing away from this article, this should be it. It's the number one reason because there's nothing as important as keeping your family safe—not even close. Here's why clogged vents are such a threat.
Normally, lint and other debris (like dryer sheets) go into the lint trap, while the duct is used to rid your dryer of hot, humid air. Over time, lint gets blown into the ventilation channel and the dryer lint buildup partially or completely blocks the air flow. With no way to properly vent steam, the dryer can produce a tiny spark that sets the highly flammable lint ablaze and sends flames raging through the inside of your walls, often on multiple levels of your home.
The consequences are devastating, and it happens more often than most people realize. In the United States, an estimated 2,900 dryer vent fires are reported annually, tragically resulting in five deaths, 100 injuries, and a staggering $35 million in property loss every year.
That's the real cost of neglecting to have your ducts cleaned on a regular basis, and it can all be prevented. You can also help reduce the risk by always cleaning out your lint trap filter after every load of laundry.
2. Reduced Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
While carbon monoxide poisoning is another very dangerous issue that can arise when ventilation channels are not maintained, it's less common because it only occurs with gas dryers, not electric dryers.
Gas-powered laundry machines produce carbon monoxide, the colorless, odorless gas that can fatally poison people who breathe it in. The clothes tumbler vents it safely away from the house—unless the ductwork is clogged with lint, causing the gas to seep into your home. This is why professional cleaning is doubly important if you have a gas-powered machine.
3. Keep Your Dryer in Working Condition
When your machine can't properly rid itself of humid air, it has to work twice as hard to dry your laundry—you may even have to run it multiple times for the same load. This causes a lot more wear and tear, shortening the dryer's lifespan by quite a bit. You'll have to replace it much sooner—sometimes years earlier—than you would have if the ventilation was cleaned regularly.
4. Preserve Your Clothing
Every time you wash and dry your clothes, they degrade a tiny bit. The longer they spend in the dryer, the more the fibers pull apart and fade, eventually causing the clothing to look worn and stretched out. Usually the damage is insignificant enough to make the convenience well worth it, but if your clothes are spending much longer in a tumbler that's struggling to do its job, they'll get worn out much faster than they would in an efficiently running machine.
5. Fewer Allergens in Your Home
If you or any loved ones are allergic to dust, you know how important it is to keep your house clean to stop your suffering. But, your ductwork is a major source of dust and allergens that often gets neglected, leaving you to suffer the unpleasant symptoms of your allergy. Vent cleaning can greatly reduce that suffering and make you comfortable in your home again.
How Often Does My Duct Need Cleaning?
Some people only use their laundry machine once per week, while others may use it multiple times per day, so the frequency at which you should schedule maintenance will vary. However, once per year is usually a good rule of thumb for a single family to keep the machine energy efficient. Large families that produce a lot of laundry may need the vent cleaned as frequently as every six months, and large apartment buildings with shared laundry ducts may need it even more often than that.
My Handyman is Your Local Dryer Vent Cleaning Expert in Ann Arbor!
Ready to schedule your first annual vent cleaning? Look no further than My Handyman of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Chelsea for professional, efficient, and cost-effective service that will save you time and money—as well as keep your family and home safe from fire.
Give us a call today at 734-666-3021, or request service online, and we'll show you why we're Ann Arbor's first choice for experienced handyman services!