Dryer Vents

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How to clean your dryer vents

Visually inspect the outside vent opening and remove any obstructions — usually these are prime locations for animal nests. Vents at the ground level are perfect for rodent nests. Next, tackle the lint. There are several options for removing lint buildup:

  • A flexible brush with extendable wand will grab the lint for easy removal.
  • An air compressorwill blow it out.
  • A combination vacuum cleaner and brush will suck it out. (Just make sure the vacuum hose is long enough.)

Whichever method you use, it’s important to remove lint throughout the entire length of the vent. Some dryer vents can extend upwards to about 20-25 feet up to vent out of the roof. After removing the lint from the vent, also check the area behind the dryer, under the dryer and the back of the cabinet specifically. This is because the air being pulled into the dryer comes from behind the dryer. If there’s lint around there, it will be drawn into the dryer, causing further buildup.

Yikes! Does all this sound too complicated? You may consider hiring a pro to do it. McCray & Sons Home Services Dryer vent cleanings vary based on each specific circumstance but typically rage from $145-165.

6 Reasons to have your dryer vent cleaned

🔥Can be a fire hazard According to the National Fire Protection Agency, clothes dryers and washing machines were responsible for an estimated 16,800 house fires in the U.S. in 2010. That’s 4.5% of all house fires — a truly staggering statistic. Lint is highly flammable, so when it collects in your dryer vents, it poses a serious fire hazard. If the air flow is restricted, exhaust gases get backed up, creating the perfect environment for a fire to form . . . or for poisonous carbon monoxide to be released into your home.

🏚️Cause property damage Warren went out to a job to clean a dryer vent for a customer and the dryer vent system had been so clogged that moisture from the heat of the dryer couldn’t escape and began to be trapped inside the wall causing swelling between the paint and drywall.

⚡Cost you more on your energy bill(since dryers with excess lint can use up to 30% more energy)

🔨Decrease the lifespan of your dryer(since you’ll need to run it more often in order to fully dry your clothes)

🐿️Invite animals to nest in your vents(since your duct hood flap may not close properly, thus providing an entrance to pests seeking warmth during the winter

🦠Keep Allergens at Bay One of the issues with a dirty dryer vent is that it traps water from wet clothing. Once this water is trapped, it attracts all sorts of allergens from mold to dust and much, much more. Unfortunately, over time, these allergens can spread to the rest of your home. Should you breathe them in, you could very well develop a cough, a rash, congestion, or another similar symptom. You don’t want to live your life in an allergy den. Have your dryer vent cleaned entirely and you’ll be able to breathe easy.


Is your dryer vent trying to tell you something? Don’t ignore the warning signs!

So, how do you know if your dryer needs cleaning? Take a look at these warning signs to see if your dryer is showing symptoms of dirty vents:

Your clothes aren’t getting dry. If you have to run multiple cycles just to get your clothes completely dry, you probably have a buildup of lint preventing the air from circulating.

Your dryer is hot to the touch. If your dryer or clothes are extremely hot during or at the end of a cycle, a blocked vent could be the cause.

Your laundry room feels hot or humid. If your dryer vent can’t push the air outside your home, it’s got to go somewhere (a.k.a. leak out into your laundry room).

You notice a musty smell. If the hot, damp air from your dryer is being leaked inside your home, that will also cause a musty smell (or even a burning smell, if the lint has started a spark in your dryer — in which case you should stop using your dryer immediately and call the pros to take a look).

Your vent hood flap doesn’t open properly. If your duct hood flap isn’t opening like it should, or if you see lint or debris around the dryer hose or outside vent opening, the air flow has been restricted, causing dangerous buildup.

How Often Should You Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned Professionally?

We’ve discussed the advantages of professional dryer vent cleaning. Now, you’re probably wondering: how often should you have your dryer vent cleaned professionally?

Generally speaking, it’s wise to schedule a cleaning once a year. This is for a normal-sized household consisting of about two to five people.

However, if your household is on the larger side or if you do a greater than average amount of laundry, you should think about increasing your cleaning schedule to every 6 to 9 months. You’d be surprised at how much more laundry residue a few more family members can create.