Why should you clean your dryer's vents? Even though you empty the lint trap after each load, debris still makes its way into your dryer's vent system. Lack of maintenance can result in serious issues that threaten your home, your safety, and your appliance. If your clothes dryer cleaning routine is less than regular, take a look at why you need to start cleaning the vents right now.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires occur annually. Not only do these fires cause a total of $35 million in property losses, but they also result in 100 injuries and 5 deaths per year. While electrical issues and other mechanical problems can result in a fire, failure to properly clean the appliance is the number one cause of dryer-related fires.
The lint that rolls off your drying clothes moves from the drum and into the trap. Even though the lint trap does exactly what the name implies (traps the lint), some of the combustible fibers can get through. The more you use the dryer, the more lint passes into the appliance's vent system. Over time this clogs the vents and restricts airflow.
Between the restricted airflow and the combustible nature of the lint itself, you have a serious fire hazard. Cleaning the vents regularly removes the lint, allowing the air to flow freely.
Increased Dry Times
Not only can a lint-restricted airflow pose a fire hazard, but it can also make it harder for your dryer to function. Clogged vents can result in longer dry times or damp clothes. Even though clogging due to lack of cleaning is a major culprit behind these types of problems, it's not the only cause.
Several other mechanical issues (such as a burnt-out coil or broken thermostat) can increase dry times. If your vents are clean and the dryer still isn't functioning properly, the appliance likely requires an expert-level repair. Consult an appliance repair professional if you're not sure why your clothes dryer either isn't heating or isn't drying your clothes in the expected amount of time.
Overheating and Burns
Clogged vents can also cause the hot air to build up in the dryer's drum, resulting in excessively high temperatures. This type of overheating is another safety hazard. Along with the fire risk, the dryer can also scorch your clothes, leaving behind burns on the fabric or your skin (after handling).
Regular maintenance is one of the easiest ways to reduce the risks associated with appliance malfunction. Even though you can't prevent every potential issue, cleaning your dryer's vents routinely decreases the wear and tear factor. Again, clogged vents force the dryer to work harder. Working harder adds stress to your appliance over time. This can cause a host of problems, all requiring a professional's touch.
While extra heat in the middle of winter is welcome, adding to the mid-summer swelter isn't. A clogged dryer vent that causes overheating can increase the temperature in your laundry room - making your space uncomfortable.
Lint isn't the only issue that can cause dryer vent clogs. Mice, squirrels, and other small animals can crawl from the exterior vent into your dryer's system. The warmth of the dryer's air and the soft lint lining can attract invaders. While regular cleaning won't eliminate the threat of pests, it can make your dryer's vents less inviting.
Pests, and their nests, are also fire hazards inside of your dryer. In addition, outside invaders can cause serious damage, resulting in the need for a professional repair.
Does your dryer have clog-related damage? Contact Mountain Vista Appliance Repair for more information.