Today I’m going to tell you the 3 easy steps to cleaning your dryer vent and why it’s urgent to do so. We had a near-miss with a toss up between a dryer fire and a broker dryer this weekend, and when we cleaned out the vent, it was an eye-opening experience.
This weekend my dryer kept automatically shutting off about halfway through the cycle. Clothes just would not get dry. It would not allow me to re-start immediately. But after a little time would pass, it would re-start but then cut back off.
My dryer was actually hot to the touch and smelled like it was burning, so I unplugged it and hung that last load of clothes up to dry. I was lucky…my dryer is only 3 years old and will automatically shut off if it overheats. This prevents it from catching fire or burning out the motor.
DH and I looked at
the “troubleshooting” section of our dryer manual. It instructed us to check the vent line for clogs. We were shocked and a little embarrassed at how packed the vent was. It had gobs of dog hair, clothing lint, and dust that we pulled out by the handful.
We discontinued use of the dryer and purchased this handy kit that attaches to the end of the drill. The brushes rotate and push lint out the end.
We were impressed with how well it pushed lint outside to the exterior vent. Once we reversed the drill and brought the brush back inside the vent opening, it dragged back a huge amount of lint, as well.
DRYER VENT CLEANING – STEP 1 – SET UP
First, get yourself set up for the process. You’ll need your tools and the space to work.
Disconnect your dryer and pull it out of the way so you can get to the interior vent opening.
Ask someone to stand outside to holler for you when the lint pops out the exterior vent.
Grab a roll of paper towels and spray cleaner for the clean up (so you don’t track lint all over the place like someone in my house did) Assemble your lint brush kit to the end of your cordless drill.
STEP TWO – BRUSH THE LINT
This kit works similar to a plumbing snake. You will be feeding it through the vent while twisting it…in this case, the cordless drill will be twisting. You just gently push it through until the person outside tells you that you’ve pushed the lint out the exterior opening.
Then, you reverse your drill and slowly retract it. As I mentioned, you will drag a ton of junk back out. That’s great!
STEP THREE – CLEAN UP!
You will have a giant ball of lint and a lot of dust at your feet, both on the interior and exterior vents! Grab that paper towel and spray cleaner. Take the chance to clean dust up before you put the dryer back. While it’s out, the back of your dryer is very dusty too.
You will likely also find a stray sock, a full box of dryer sheets, the missing flyswatter, and some loose coins behind the dryer. Err…at least I did. Pick those up while you’re at it!
Return your dryer to its rightful place and reconnect the power. You’re good to go!
WHY DRYER VENT CLEANING IS URGENTLY NEEDED
I will be honest, I clean the dryer trap every time I dry clothes, but have rarely thought about cleaning the ductwork. Y’all I am 49 years old and have literally never, ever done this!
Doing some good old-fashioned research on how to clean the vent (ie: Googling), I read some scary stories about clogged vents.
Here are the reasons why this should be done every 6 months or so:
- Cleaning your dryer vents prevents fires
- A clean dryer vent line reduces your energy bill because your dryer runs more efficiently
- A dirty dryer line can reduce the life of your dryer
- You’ll save money on paying the dryer repairman
- Cuts down on dust and allergens (remember all the dust behind the dryer?)
After looking up information on the easiest way to clean out the dryer vent, I found a smart tip: Clean the lint vent every 6 months…it’s easy to remember to do it the same day that you check your smoke alarm batteries. For most Americans, this is when we start and end daylight savings time.
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