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Important Dryer Maintenance

By: Tiffany Alton-Froggatt

Lint buildup in your dryer and venting doesn't just impact your dryers performance - it's a serious fire hazard. Lint is highly combustable, and when you combine a flammable substance with a heat source, bad things can happen. Tens of thousands of house fires every year are attributed to dryer lint.

If you have noticed that your laundry is taking longer to dry, your dryer is feeling hot to the touch, or you notice a burning smell in your laundry room, you should immediately check your dryer venting from the back of the dryer all the way to the wall cap outside of your house.

  1. Unplug your dryer. Gas dryers should be disconnected by a licensed gas technician.
  2. Pull the dryer out from the wall so that you can get behind it
  3. Open the vent clamp to remove your venting from the back of the dryer.
  4. Vacuum out the duct at the back of the dryer.
  5. If you can remove the entire length of duct to where it meets the wall, it will be easier to inspect and clean.
  6. If your ducting is the flexible kind, inspect it to make sure that it is not crushed or torn. If your ducting is white plastic, throw it out. Plastic venting is a fire hazard and does not meet code. Rigid metal ducting is always the best option.
  7. Vacuum out the venting.
  8. Check the hood on the outside of the house. You may see either louvered flaps or a critter screen where lint tends to accumulate. Use your shop vac to clean this out if possible.

This should be done at least once per year. If you have just purchased or moved into a new home, you should do this immediately.

Your lint filter inside the dryer should be cleaned every time that you use it. If you use dryer sheets, you should also wash your lint filter every three months. Install a smoke detector in the laundry room.

In addition to protecting your home, maintaining your dryer venting may also prevent you from paying for unnecessary service calls, and increase the lifespan of your dryer.