Dryer Vent Cleaning: What Homeowners Need to Know

Anyone who has had to hang their laundry on a clothesline to dry knows how great it is to have an automatic dryer. They save so much time and effort, which is a big deal when you're working hard to get through a mountain of dirty clothes. What many Knoxville homeowners don't realize is that their drying machine needs something to function safely and efficiently: professional dryer vent cleaning.

This guide covers everything you need to know about laundry vent cleaning, from why it's so critically important to how you can tell that your ductwork is in need of cleaning service from professionals like Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville.

5 Ways Dryer Vent Cleaning Can Save Your Money, Clothes, and Life

Wondering if vent cleaning services are worth it? Here are five reasons why neglecting to have your ductwork cleaned costs you money and threatens your family's safety.

1. Protect Your Home and Family from a Major Fire Hazard

If you think we're being overly dramatic by claiming that vent cleaning can save your life, it's actually an accurate and unfortunate truth. Normally, lint and other debris like dryer sheets go into the lint trap, while the dryer exhaust vent is used to rid the machine of hot, humid air. But lint makes its way into the ventilation pipe or hose over time as well, where dryer lint buildup can partially or totally block off the airflow. That forces your dryer to work much harder to get rid of all that humidity, and it can create a tiny spark that sets highly flammable lint ablaze, sending flames ripping through multiple levels of your home.

The consequences of dryer fires are devastating, and they happen more often than most people realize. In fact, there are about 2,900 clothes dryer fires reported to U.S. fire departments every year, resulting in an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss annually. That's the real cost of not having your vent cleaned, but it's all preventable. You can help reduce the hazard by always clearing out your lint screen after every load of laundry.

2. Reduce the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This is another serious, sometimes fatal consequence of not cleaning ventilation ducts, but it's less common because it only affects homes with gas dryers. Gas-powered laundry machines produce carbon monoxide: the colorless, odorless gas that poisons people who breathe it in large quantities. It's normally vented out of the machine and safely disposed of outdoors—unless the duct is clogged with lint, causing carbon monoxide to seep into your home. That's why regular professional maintenance is doubly important if you have a gas dryer.

3. Avoid Replacing Your Machine as Often

Financial considerations are, of course, nowhere near as important as the safety of you and your family, but it's still good to avoid extra expense and hassle wherever possible. Because clogged dryer vents force your machine to work harder and longer than it would otherwise, it suffers accelerated wear and tear. That means you'll need to replace your overworked dryer much sooner than you would if the air was able to flow freely — maybe even years sooner — which is costly and disruptive.

4. Preserve Your Clothing

Every minute your clothing spends in your laundry machine causes it to become a tiny bit more stretched, faded, or just worn-looking. It's still a worthy trade-off to not have to hang your laundry up to dry, but the longer your dryer takes to get them dry and the hotter the interior of the machine, the more wear and tear your clothing will suffer. Reducing the amount of time it takes to get them dry by keeping the duct clean will help to keep your wardrobe looking great for much longer and save you money on replacement clothes.

5. Reduce Irritating Allergens in Your Home

If you or a loved one have a dust allergy, you know how important it is to clean regularly— the same principle applies to your dryer vent. All that lint buildup is full of dust mites and other allergens that spread throughout your home and trigger those itching, watery-eye allergy reactions no matter how many times you run the vacuum, so vent cleaning can reduce allergens and greatly increase your comfort.

What are the Signs That You Need Dryer Vent Cleaning?

By now, you may be wondering if your ductwork is due for a professional cleaning. Here are some key warning signs that indicate it's in desperate need of attention:

  • Loads of clothes are still damp at the end of one cycle
  • It takes more than about 30 to 45 minutes to dry laundry
  • Clothes have a musty smell after drying
  • Visible lint and debris gathered around the vent opening (outside, where it exits the house)
  • Items are very hot when you take them out of the machine

You may have gotten used to some of these issues over time, but a dryer and ductwork in good condition should not be exhibiting these telltale signs of struggling.

How Often Does Your Duct Need to be Professionally Cleaned?

Some households only use the machine once per week while others run it multiple times per day, so it's hard to pinpoint an exact timeframe, but a general rule of thumb for one family is to clean the dryer duct once per year in order to keep it safe and energy efficient. However, a large family or multiple families that produce a lot of laundries may need it cleaned as often as every six months, and apartment buildings with shared laundry facilities could require even more frequent vent cleaning services.

Mr. Handyman is West Knoxville's Best Choice for Dryer Vent Cleaning

Hopefully, we've convinced you that keeping your ventilation clear and the air flowing is a must-do task. Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville is a locally owned and operated business that takes great pride in providing quality workmanship and superior customer service on every job, large or small.

Give us a call today or request service online to find out why we're the best option in West Knoxville for all your handyman service needs!