How to Clean Dryer Vents

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If your clothes are not drying properly and they are feeling hot, but are still damp; it is time to clean out your dryer vents.

Dryer vents take time to clean and you can clean them yourself or you can call a repair man to clean them out for you.

Either way without regular cleaning you will decrease the life of your dryer and could possibly cause a fire.

Causes of Plugged Up Dryer Vents:

Dirty dryer vents are caused by the buildup of lint from the clothes that go through the dryer. Regular cleaning of the lint trap in your dryer will decrease the buildup, but over time the lint will get caught beyond the trap and will build up in the hose and the outside vent itself.

If this lint gets builds up enough beyond the lint trap, it will make your dryer work harder to dry clothes because there is no clear ventilation path out of the dryer.

The harder the dryer has to work the more wear on the motor, which eventually leads to the end of your dryer.

How To Unplug The Vent:

The first thing you need to do is unplug the dryer so that you don’t get a nasty shock while cleaning it out. That’s the funny thing about appliances, they don’t know that you are actually trying to help them when you are cleaning them and they will shock you anyway.

Also since you will be working with a lot of lint and dust, a lightweight breathing mask will help prevent anything that becomes airborne from getting in your nose and lungs.

Cleaning The Inside Vent:

1. Once unplugged use a vacuum cleaner and the crevasse attachment and clean out the area in the machine beyond the lint trap. It is best to use the vacuum cleaner, as you are able to reach areas far up the hose. A good strong shop vacuum works well when cleaning out dryer vents, but a household vacuum will also work as well.

2. After cleaning behind the lint trap, detach the flexible hose from the back of the dryer.

3. Check the hose for any other items that may be trapped inside other than lint. Vacuum out the hose, the back of the dryer and the area behind the dryer (wall and floor). Once done, re-attached your hose.

4. You will also need to vacuum or clean out any pipe area that connects the flexible hose on the back of your dryer and the vent that is attached to the outside of your home.

5. Once cleaned out on the inside, put dryer back in place.

Cleaning The Outside Vent:

When you have cleaned the vent on the inside of your home, go outside and locate the exterior dryer vent.

  1. Remove the vent plate from the side of your home and vacuum the inside of the exterior vent and then replace the vent plate.
  2. If you have a hinged vent, open the vent and vacuum on the inside and around the hinges on the outside. Make sure that the hinges are in good working condition and easily swing so that the dryer ventilates properly. If the hinges are not in good working condition you may want to consider fixing immediately.
  3. Once you have finished and put everything back in place, plug back in and run a load through the dryer.
  4. If the vent cleaning worked and there are no other issues, your clothes should come out warm and dry. If not, time to call the repair man.

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