The U.S. Fire Administration found that more than 2,900 homes every year are succumbed to fire due to the buildup of lint inside your home dryer. You may think that you can get by with just wiping off the lint tray after every few drying cycles, but that is not the case. Keeping your dryer vent clean could be the thing that saves your life.
Things to watch out for
Little pieces of lint that you can’t see could be trapped down deep into the dryer vent. Before you go taking the dryer apart, here are some common issues that could point to lint build up problem:
- Clothes could take longer to dry than usual
- The outside temperature of your dryer is hot.
- You notice a humid laundry room.
- You smell something burnt.
- Outside vent flapper doesn’t open all the way.
Here are some step-by-step things you can do you protect you, your home and the longevity of your dryer.
Step 1: Remove the lint trap filter
As stated before, it’s advised that you remove the filter after EVERY drying cycle, with each load of laundry comes lint, no exceptions. By removing the filter and cleaning off the visible lint is an easy first step.
Step 2: Vacuum the lint trap housing
With this step, you could invest in a brush cleaning kit, so you don’t have to either put your hands or foreign objects inside the vent. These kits come with a long bristle brush to clean the area of buildup and a round bristle brush that can do better at cleaning the 4-inch round rigid dryer duct. You start by vacuuming inside the lint trap housing; it is best to use the skinny attachment on your vacuum. You then can use the long brush from the brush kit to make another pass; this is neat because it can be made longer, so it can extract more lint from the trap.
Step 3: Disconnect the dryer duct
Okay, this step may be the most time consuming and strenuous compared to the other two, but it is worth it if it means keeping the inside of your home safe and free of fire. To disconnect the dryer duct, you need to begin by unplugging the power cord. (If you have a gas dryer, then you need to turn the gas valve off). After everything has been turned off, you then need to disconnect the duct that is closest to the dryer and then slowly pull it away from the wall. Disconnecting the duct and the remaining sections of it will help you see inside and clean it out.
Step 4: More vacuuming
This step is easy since you just got the hard part done by disconnecting the vent. Now you repeat step two, even though this area is larger than the lint trap. Still using the skinny attachment part on your vacuum, you can suck up all the broad areas of lint and dust. You can strictly use your vacuum or pair it with the brushes you used before.
Step 5: Putting everything back together
When attaching your duct back correctly, keep in mind that these ducts can be fragile and difficult to reattach successfully. It is best to use an adjustable, rigid 90-degree elbow at the end of the dryer by attaching all rigid and semi-rigid metal or duct sections with a 4-inch worm-drive stainless steel duct clamp. Then use a screwdriver to secure the two together.
You can then finish by sealing everything together to make the bond even stronger. However, I wouldn’t use just regular duct tape, because it tends to dry out and not provide a lasting hold. I would advise purchasing some UL – listed metal foil duct tape instead.
Once you have cleaned everything and attached all the things back together correctly, you can move your dryer back to its original position and turn everything back on.