For many people, dryers are just part of the furniture. When air filters are changed, it's part of house maintenance. When gutters are cleaned, it's part of house maintenance. No one thinks of checking the dryer vent, much less cleaning it. This is a big mistake, and one that can cost homeowners their lives. Here's why:
What Is a Dryer Vent?
Oddly, a lot of people clean the lint filter in the dryer door or body and think “well, that's that”. Hardly anyone wonders what's going on with the tubing at the back of the dryer. That's the hose that leads to the dryer vent to the outside. Lint gets out of the dryer, too, but not through the lint trap. Dangerous heat levels also get out of the dryer, vented to the outside.
How Can Heat Be Dangerous?
Lint and debris collect in dryer vents. This causes the clothes to remain moist. The dryer has to work overtime with more and more heat in order to dry the clothes. The machine wasn't made for that degree of heat. With the debris blocking the vent, the machine overheats. This could and has caused a house fire.
Where Does Debris Come From?
In today's homes, laundry rooms are located anywhere but against an outside wall. Venting meanders through walls, turning corners and generally making it difficult to keep the vent clean. Small animals and birds bring their nest-making materials with them when they find a warm place for a winter vacation. This adds up to blockage, which could and has begun house fires.
Any Other Dangers if I Don't Clean My Dryer Vent?
Yes. If you have a gas dryer, then blockage will cause a dangerous carbon monoxide backup. This deadly gas will be forced into your house. Remember that it can't be seen or smelled. Get the vent checked at least once a year.