Cleaning Services

Dryer Vent Cleaning & Safety Protocols

Did you know that failure to clean your air vents and dryer ducts could potentially lead to dryer fires? According to the US Fire Administration, there are an average 2900 dryer fires every year with up to $35 million in property damages. These fires also cause significant deaths and injuries.

And do you know what the most common reason for a dryer fire is? Lint build-up and an incorrect and inefficient installation of the dryer vent it was reported that almost 34% of these fires were caused because of a lack of regular dryer vent cleaning.

Surprisingly, most people don’t even know that their dryer vents need to be cleaned. They might clean out their dryer filter every now and then, but that’s about it. Dryer vent ducts are where the real clog-up happens, and lint can really accumulate and choke the vent. This lint is highly flammable and the reason for a majority of dryer fires.

What Are The Different Types Of Dryer Vents?

No matter what kind of dryer you have, it will probably have one of the following types of standard dryer vents:

  • Aluminum foil duct: these ducts are made of flexible aluminum foil and connect the appliance to the main duct and then to the outdoors. These ducts are usually held in place by dryer clamps or metal tapes.
  • Semi-rigid metal duct: this type of duct is used for duct transitions and should not be hidden inside walls or floors. It’s commonly held in place by clamps.
  • Slim duct: this type of rigid telescope duct is made of aluminum and is also used for transition ducting in small spaces. A slim duct can be installed in vertical, horizontal, and diagonal directions.
  • Rigid metal duct: this is the only type used for concealed ducting. Since it’s a rigid duct, it’s installed with elbow fittings that allow it to turn 45° or 90°, depending on the type of elbow.
  • Plastic or vinyl duct: this is a flexible type of duct that’s made of thin plastic instead of aluminum. But even though they’re pretty popular, most building authorities don’t allow these to be installed because the ribbed interior easily catches lint.

Why Is Dryer Air Vent Cleaning Necessary?

Even though dryer models may differ, they all work in the same way. When a dryer is turned on, the drum starts spinning and a blower pulls air into the drum. The air passes through a filter and into the exhaust port from where it flows out of a vent opening up in the side of your home. 

The filter plays a crucial role in stopping lint from blowing into the vent. But it still doesn’t catch all lint, and some particles still manage to pass through into the vent where they start building up and it’s actually quite common to find an inch or so of lint after drying a full load.

When accumulated, this lint blocks the flow of air through the vent and causes warm, moist air to build up. Naturally, clothes take longer to dry and the temperature starts building up to a point where it’s high enough to set the lint on fire. 

This is why air vent cleaning is so important after every use.

Dryer Vent Safety Precautions

Here are four very simple but important dryer vent safety precautions you should take to reduce the risk of a dryer fire.

  • Clean lint build-up and dryer vents regularly. It’s very simple to clean out lint traps yourself after every wash. Dryer vents should be cleaned out at least once a year (or preferably once in six months) using a dryer pipe cleaner.
  • Schedule professional dryer inspections. While you may think you can clean out the dryer vent yourself, it’s always better to get a professional to have a look in every once in a while for a thorough inspection for safety and cleanliness. A professional will not only clean out the fryer ducts but also the HVAC air ducts.
  • Know your dryer codes and protocols. Whoever installs your dryer should be aware of fire safety protocols but you should know them as well. Make sure your vent is at least 4 inches in diameter and as large as the dryer outlet. The exhaust duct should be no longer than 25 feet and should extend to the outdoors. The fittings should also be secure enough that no exhaust creeps back in. 
  • Don’t leave home with the dryer running. Just like you wouldn’t leave the iron or oven running, don’t leave the dryer on while going out, either. 

Hire A Professional!

Cleaning dryer vents effectively requires experience and the right tools. Save yourself the headache and hire a professional for vent cleaning in DC – you’ll notice a significant difference in the performance of your dryer!  At Dr. Duct, we ensure the highest standards of professional duct cleaning. So give us a call today if your dryer is due for a cleaning!


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