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Cleaning dryer vents is a very important part of appliance maintenance. Keeping the vent clear of lint helps your dryer run more efficiently, and helps cause less wear and tear on your dryer. It also helps keep your clothes in better condition, as dryers tend to run too hot when the vent is not clean. More importantly, if you clean a dryer vent, it can help you prevent a possible house fire.
Maintenance is of course, also important. By clearing the lint screen faithfully after every cycle, you will help decrease the amount of lint that accumulates in the vent and inside the dryer. However, it will not keep all the lint out so it is still important to clean a dryer vent regularly.
Before you begin, be sure to unplug the dryer. If you have a gas dryer, turn off the gas. You may also want to wear work gloves and protective eyewear. You will need to move the dryer out some, so seek help to avoid injury. Do not move the dryer more than a foot or two, as this is probably the length of the vent.
Look behind the dryer. You should see a bracket that holds the vent in place. You will need to remove the bracket to clean a dryer vent. Next, remove the vent. Look inside. Lint will generally accumulate in the greatest amounts at each end of the vent.
The area inside the dryer, the opening from which you removed the vent, must also be cleaned. Remove any lint or debris from this area. You can use a vacuum hose or a dryer vent brush or you can do it by hand. There are specially designed brushes made to clean a dryer vent. They have long flexible handles and are generally very affordable.
To clean a dryer vent complete the same process at both ends of the vent after cleaning the dryer itself. If there is a lot of lint, it may be best to replace the vent. After cleaning or replacing the vent, attach it to the dryer and secure the bracket.
Don’t forget to clean the filter outside your home as well. When all parts have been secured, turn the gas back on and plug the dryer in. Run the dryer for a few minutes and check for proper air flow. Clean a dryer vent regularly for best results and for safety as well. Every year or two is recommended, but for large households or those that do a great deal of laundry, it may be required more often.
A former co-worker lost his house because of a dirty dryer vent! The lint caught fire.
Always remember to clean the lint filter before and after drying, because chances are, the last person to use the dryer (if it wasn't you) forgot to clean the filter. So always check it.
The flexible brush idea is good. Shop vacs are actually pretty reasonably priced for the smaller ones, and will suck all the dust right out of the vent, inside the house and out.
You can usually get away with doing this about once or twice a year, depending on how many loads of laundry you dry each week. If you have children, this might be a quarterly event.
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