Seldom does the act of cleaning some spot qualify as a safety procedure. Yet the act of cleaning a dryer vent does work to ensure the safety of one home’s occupants. A clogged vent can act like a fire-starter.
How to know when a vent should be cleaned
The person doing the laundry notices that the clothes are still damp after completing one drying cycle. The only way to correct that problem seems to entail a lengthening of that very cycle. It may have to be well over the standard of 35 to 40 minutes.
Note the smell of the clothes that come from the dryer. Do any of them smell burnt or musty? Do any of them smell strongly of a fragrance that is like the one that comes from the dryer sheets?
Do you find a large amount of lint on the dryer’s lint screen, once a cycle has ended? Realize that the same screen should be free of all lint when the cycle starts. Do you know how long it has been since the vent has been cleaned? Has it been more than one year? For safety reasons, an annual cleaning is recommended.
Approach used by professional vent-cleaner
If contacted, the appliance repair professional in San Diego County will probably show up with 2 pieces of equipment. One will be a snake brush, a tool that can clean a vent in the same way that a plumber’s snake cleans a drain. The other will be a long vacuum. It can suction things out of the pipe-like structure that has been used to carry off the dryer’s steam.
How a DIY expert can clean the same vent
• First, unplug the appliance and pull it away from the wall.
• Loosen the vent clamp on the back of that same appliance.
• Remove the lint from the exposed opening.
• Use a vacuum to suck more lint out of the opened tube.
• If it looks like there is more material clogging the middle section of that same tube, attack it with an unfolded coat hanger.
How to slow development of any future clogs
Take steps to control the introduction of substances that can attract clog-making materials. That means using lint-control measures. Do not make a habit of throwing 2 or 3 dryer sheets in with any load of wet clothes. Such sheets leave a lint-attracting residue on the inner section of the dryer’s spinning drum. Experiment with the liquid softener, and try using a reduced amount. Note how that change has altered the extent to which lint-formation has been altered on the dryer’s screen. If you want, discuss the details with an expert to get the best solution to your issues.