Speak to a Dryer Vent Professional in Your Area
Having your own washer and dryer is one major benefit of being a homeowner. You have the power to wash and dry your clothes without leaving home. But many homeowners are unaware of the maintenance that is required for these major appliances. Learning how to clean the dryer vent pipe is an essential task that you should complete at least once a year to keep your dryer running properly and to minimize the risk of a fire.
When Should You Clean the Dryer Vent Pipe?
Experts recommend giving your dryer vent system a thorough cleaning at least once a year. You may wish to clean your vent more frequently if you’re running a high volume of laundry, or if you dry some heavy-duty items, like blankets and towels.
There are a few signs that your dryer might need immediate attention. These include:
- Decreased efficiency of the dryer. If you have to run the dryer more than once in order to have dry clothes, your ventilation system might be clogged.
- The dryer and clothes are hot to the touch. This is a sign that the hot air is not escaping your home correctly.
- Extra lint found outside the exterior vent. Some lint outside is normal, but an excessive amount might be a sign that there is too much build-up in the vents.
How to Clean the Dryer Vent Pipe
The process of cleaning your own dryer vent pipe is not complicated, but it will require a fair amount of time and effort, so make sure you’ve set aside plenty of time to complete the task.
First, make sure you’ve located the outside vent for your dryer. You’ll approach your dryer vent pipe from top and bottom, so make sure you know where you’re headed before you start!
You’ll also want to grab some supplies to help with the process. This can include:
- A vacuum cleaner with a crevice attachment
- A long-handled wire brush or duct cleaning brush kit
- Work gloves and mask
- A screwdriver or pliers
Start by unplugging the dryer and pushing it away from the wall. If your dryer uses a gas heat source, be sure to turn off the gas and avoid disturbing the gas input to the dryer.
Remove the hose connecting the dryer to the wall vent. Take this opportunity to clean this hose from both ends to remove any build-up of lint, moisture, and debris inside the hose.
Next, head outside to remove the exterior dryer vent covering. With your long-handled brush, start working your way down the duct. Use a counter-clockwise and clockwise alternating spin to clear debris and lint away from the walls of the duct. Be careful, and don’t force anything- you want to avoid accidentally damaging the duct.
Once you’ve cleared as far as you can from the top, head back inside. Your laundry room floor will be littered with lint, so be sure to clean that up and dispose of it properly. You can alternate between using the brush and your vacuum to clean the duct from the bottom, in case you were unable to reach the bottom of the dryer vent pipe from the outside.
Lastly, make sure all connective surfaces are free from lint and debris before reconnecting the ventilation hose to both the vent and your dryer. You may wish to run a test with your dryer to make sure air is properly blowing outside before you use it again.
If your dryer or dryer vent is located in a spot that makes them difficult to access, you will need to contact a professional. Call 844-962-2681 to connect with trained technicians in your area. These highly trained experts will provide a full inspection and no-obligation estimate for regular service to your dryer vents.
As a homeowner, there are plenty of maintenance tasks you need to keep in mind. Learning how to clean the dryer vent pipe is a valuable tool to add to that list!
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Frank is the chief editor and director at Specialty Air, where he oversees testing, research, and editing for all air quality-related articles. Frank is an expert in the air quality space with extensive experience testing, researching, and reviewing air purifiers, air conditioners, air filters, air fresheners, fans, and more. He also has over 4 years of experience with issues surrounding mold remediation, radon mitigation, moisture management, air duct systems, HVAC, and insulation.