How To Clean Your Dryer Vents

Apr 15, 2024

One of the leading causes of house fires may surprise you: A clothes dryer that hasn’t been cleaned in a while. For many homeowners, their dryer duct is out of sight and out of mind. But it can easily become clogged with lint and dust which can spark a fire easily. Not to mention, a clogged dryer vent can lead to a great deal of inefficiency in your appliance which increases utility bills.

Every homeowner should know how to clean your dryer vents. With just a few simple steps, you could protect your family from disaster:

1. Turn Off Your Dryer

The first thing you need to do to get a clean dryer vent is ensure that your unit is turned off. This means it should be disconnected from an electrical outlet if you have an electric dryer. If you have a gas dryer, then you should turn off the supply valve before you begin. 

This is also the best time to get yourself set up for success. Pull the dryer about a foot away from the wall and disconnect the duct from the back of the unit. It may take a little work to get the dryer vent clamp to come off, but take your time to avoid damaging the ductwork. 

2. Use a Powerful Vacuum Cleaner

Once your ductwork is disconnected, it’s time to actually clean your dryer vent. Remove as much of the dryer lint from the hole at the back of the dryer, but know that this isn’t going to be the most efficient way to clean a dryer vent. The best tool you can put to good use here is a very powerful vacuum cleaner such as a Shop-Vac. 

Start with the hole located on the back of the dryer. Vacuum the inside of the duct and duct cover to clear lodged debris. 

Once the inside of your dryer vent pipe is clear, you should move to the outside of your home. Remove the vent cover on the outside of your home and then vacuum it out as best you can. If you don’t have outlets close to your exterior vent, then you can use a leaf blower to remove debris. 

Of course, you can also allow your local heating contractors in Winnipeg to help you clean a dryer vent. 

3. Utilize a Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit

Some homes will have a dryer vent duct that is simply too long to vacuum out. When this is the case, invest in a dryer vent cleaning kit with a brush. Instead of suctioning out the dryer lint, you can use a brush kit to clean your dryer vent and ductwork, similar to how you would use a drain snake to clear a clogged toilet. 

How can you properly use this brush? It’s quite simple. Just insert it into the dryer ducts, move it up and down, and rotate it to clear debris. 

4. Reconnect the Dryer

That is all you need to know about cleaning your clothes dryer and potentially avoiding a dryer fire. If you have followed the first three steps, it is time to reconnect the ductwork and vent cover. Make sure to take a moment to inspect your ducts for tears or damage before reconnecting and turning on the dryer again. 

Let it run for about twenty minutes to clear any remaining debris from the unit. This is your chance to test your connections and ensure that all is running well. Keep in mind that you may need to repair damaged ductwork with foil tape. If the ductwork is too damaged, call in the professionals to replace it. 

How To Avoid Clogged Dryer Vents in the First Place

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are lots of things you can do to maintain your laundry room and dryer efficiency without having to clean a dryer vent every month. Homeowners should clean it thoroughly once or twice a year, but you can eliminate lint buildup easily. 

First, you can clean your lint trap filter every time you dry a load of clothes. It takes just a moment to remove the lint filter. Place a trash can in your laundry room so that you always have a reminder to clean it before you start a new load. You can also vacuum around the filter to eliminate the need for a more in-depth cleaning as frequently. 

If you often use dryer sheets in your laundry, your lint filter may eventually become clogged and more inefficient. This is a good time to clean it with soapy water to eliminate the buildup and give your dryer a leg up on efficiency. You may even have to vigorously scrub it with a brush or sponge to eliminate this type of buildup. 

Get Help To Clean Your Dryer Vent

Are you ready to avoid a major house fire caused by a lint buildup in your dryer vent hose? Following the simple steps above will help you clear dirty dryer vents and keep hot air flowing throughout your unit. When these steps seem too time-consuming or you have difficulty maneuvering around your dryer, Provincial Heating & Cooling is here to help. We are heating contractors in Winnipeg and assist homeowners with everything from HRV in Winnipeg to clearing out a vent hose and ductwork. Reach out to us today to see how we can get your HVAC system and ductwork in the best shape it has ever been!


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