The Importance of Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

Fred's Appliance
April 22, 2014


Dryers are known to accumulate large amounts of lint from the small textile fibers of clothing. As clothes are tossed around in the dryer, these fibers are detached and released into the unit. If you’ve ever noticed shirts, pants, towels or other items becoming thinner over several months of use, it’s because some of the fibers have been knocked loose. Most of these fibers are caught in the dryer’s lint trap, but some of them will make their way past the trap and into the vent where they gradually build up over time.

Clogged Dryer Vents Are a Fire Hazard

The biggest problem of clogged dryer vents is the fire hazard it creates. Lint makes excellent kindling, which is great if you’re in a survival situation and need to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together, but it’s a serious fire hazard when it’s stuck inside the dryer vent. Just a single electrical spark may trigger a massive fireball that ignites the lint and surrounding area.

To put the problem into perspective, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 15,500 residential fires are started each year as a result of dryer vents, causing 34 deaths, 430 injuries, and over $209 million in property damage. Dryer vent fires are a serious problem that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Improve The Effectiveness of Your Dryer

Cleaning your dryer vent on a regular basis can improve the effectiveness of your unit. Clogged vents prevent the normal exhaust of air, at which point the warm, humid air remains inside the unit. Clothes are unable to dry as quickly when they’re left exposed to moist air; therefore, consumers are often forced to dry them two or even three times.

Some people brush their dryer’s inability to dry clothes off as nothing more than “their unit getting old.” However, the problem may be related to a clogged vent. Checking the vent and removing any built-up lint and debris can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of a clothes dryer.

Reduce Your Power Bill

By eliminating buildups of lint and debris from your dryer vent, you’ll also reduce your monthly power bill. Drying clothes multiple times naturally requires more energy, raising your power bill just slightly more than before. You can reduce your power bill by cleaning the lint trap before each load and the vent at least once a month.

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