Dryer vent lint build-up has caused the most home fires, after cigarette smoking. According to National Fire Protection Association, 17,000 fire-related deaths are attributed to home cloths dryer fires.
Your clothes dryer has a lint screen, which should be cleaned every load. Once a year or so, scrub the screen with a brush and soapy water, to remove dryer sheet chemicals.
The vent is the tube that is attached to the back of the dryer and runs to an outside wall. There should be a damper that stays closed when the dryer is not running. This keeps animals from entering the house.
The vent itself should be as straight and smooth as possible. Avoid accordion-type white or silver vinyl vents. They catch lint like crazy, and can catch fire.
It is important that the vent itself be cleaned regularly, to avoid dangerous build up.
How can you tell if your vent is plugged? There are a few signs;
- A musty smell around your dryer.
- Cloths that don’t dry in a reasonable length of time.
- Clothes seem unusually hot to the touch
- Excessive heat is noticed in the room in which the washer and dryer are operated.
- Odor noticed from dryer sheets used during the drying cycle
I heard the story of a clothes dryer that was replaced because it stopped drying clothes. The new dryer didn’t work either. As it happens, the vent was clogged. The purchase of a lint brush and an hour of work solved the problem.
Cleaning the vent is relatively easy, and should be performed yearly. Invest in a special brush that comes with a long, flexible handle. There are lots of YouTube videos on the method. This is also a task that can be hired out, for around $150.00.