How Often Do You Need Dryer Exhaust Cleaned?

Posted on Mar 15, 2021

Many of the appliances in our homes are taken for granted until they stop working, and the dryer is no exception. We seem to forget how wonderful it is that we just need 20 minutes to get our clothes from sopping wet to warm and dry until we are stuck with a malfunctioning dryer and nothing to wear. To help extend the life of your dryer and keep your family safe, it is important to have your dryer exhaust cleaned regularly. Not only will this enhance the efficiency of the dryer but will also prevent fires and other hazards

Why Clean Your Dryer Exhaust?

A dryer is one of those things that we often take for granted until it stops working (usually when you have a big load of sopping wet towels that you need dried immediately!) However, a little bit of annual maintenance can go a long way toward maintaining your dryer and extending its life. If a dryer is clogged, it forces the machine to work harder, causing it to wear out quicker. 

Additionally, you should have your dryer vent cleaned for your safety and the safety of your family. Dryers produce and accumulate highly flammable lint. Failing to regularly clean the lint out of the system in the leading cause of dryer fires. 

How Often Should You Have Your Dryer Vents Cleaned

A good rule of thumb is to have your dryer exhaust vents inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once per year. However, if you have a household that uses your dryer often, such as one with a lot of children, you may want to consider increasing that amount to every six months. 

How To Tell It Is Time To Have Your Dryer Exhaust Cleaned

There are a few telltale signs that it is time to have your dryer exhaust cleaned, even if it is not yet time for your annual maintenance. Here are a few of the top ways to tell: 

  • Things take longer to dry, such as needed to put clothes back in for a second cycle 
  • Clothes come out extremely hot 
  • The dryer itself gets hot to the touch during the drying cycle
  • There is a strange smell coming from the dryer when it is working, including a burning smell or musty smell 

DIY Dryer Cleaning

There are some parts of your dryer that you should regularly clean and maintain yourself, including the filter and the drum. Performing regular maintenance on these parts of your dryer will help keep it running smoothly between your professional dryer maintenance sessions. Here are a few tips to clean your dryer by yourself. 

Filter

It is basic homeowner knowledge that you should clean your dryer filter after each use. This filter is usually accessible through a small door on top of or just inside the dryer. Simply open the door, pull out the filter and remove the layer of lint that builds up after each use. However, you should also take it a step further by washing your filter after every couple uses. Products like fabric softeners or dryer sheets may clog the mesh of the filter, making it less productive. 

To test your filter to see if it needs to be washed, remove excess lint and pour a small amount of water onto the mesh screen. If the water pools up instead of flowing through, it is time for a wash. Use warm, soapy water and a brush or sponge to wash off the mesh until water can freely flow through. 

Drum

The drum of your dryer is the area where the clothes go in. In general, the drum does not need a lot of extra maintenance, but you should wipe it down regularly to prevent build up of gunk or debris. This is especially true if you have a home with lots of pets or little kids with gritty play clothes. If you notice pet dander or grit in the dryer, use a damp cloth to wipe out the drum. 

What happens if a spare lipstick or stick of gum finds its way into the drum? While it can be frustrating to see residue left over after your clothes are removed, there is no reason to fret. Remove any gunk from the inside of the drum by allowing the dryer to warm up for a few minutes (maybe with some towels or rags inside). Then, use a rag or even a hard spatula to scrape the residue off the inside of the drum. You can also tackle any residual residue with a damp cloth, a small amount of laundry detergent and some hot water. 

Professional Maintenance

Is it time for your annual dryer exhaust cleaning? Contact the team at AirPro Indoor Air Solutions today to schedule your dryer exhaust inspection and cleaning to ensure your dryer has a long life.