Cleaning your Dryer Vent: 6 Mistakes to Avoid | Pittsburgh | Terry's Plumbing

Cleaning your Dryer Vent: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

Dryer fires are a very real and dangerous hazard that most often originate within the metal tube between your dryer and the wall. That is why you need to clean it out. Cleaning your vent will help your dryer run more efficiently and prevent your home from catching fire. Continue reading our new blog for more information on the 6 mistakes to avoid while cleaning out your dryer vent.

Common Mistakes

#1 Forgetting to Unplug the Dryer – Removing the machine’s power cord from the wall is one of the most important tips–this prevents you from getting shocked. For gas powered appliances, turn off the gas supply to prevent leaks.

#2 Using the Wrong Equipment – Using the wrong equipment can be detrimental to your dryer vent. Using the wrong tools can cause holes and tears in the vent, and even leave behind stuck debris–which defeats the purpose of cleaning the vent. Investing in a tool like the Lint lizard ($17) which attaches to your vacuum or the Everbuilt Vent Cleaning kit ($20) which comes with multiple attachments, will greatly improve your chances of cleaning your vent correctly.

#3 Bending the Duct too Much – Ducts bend and flex quite easily when you handle them, this can cause bends and kinks in the line. This can create crevices for lint to accumulate and may lead to breaks.

#4 Reattaching the Duct with Tape – Normal scotch tape, packing tape, and even duct tape won’t withstand the test of time if used to reattach the dryer duct. Over time the heat from the dryer can corrode the tape and create a sticky and flammable mess. To reattach the duct, it’s best to use aluminum tape, which is built to take the heat.

#5 Not Routing the Vent Outside – Keep in mind that accumulated dryer lint is highly flammable. For this reason, the only place the exhaust from your dryer should be going is outdoors. Never take matters into your own hands and attempt to reroute your vent, you may accidentally reroute it into a crawlspace or attic. Stick to just cleaning your dryer vent, and leave any major work to the professionals.

#6 Not Cleaning the Vent Often Enough – This is one regular maintenance job you shouldn’t put off. At a minimum you should clean it once a year–sometimes more if your machine is getting a real workout. The next 9 steps in the section below will walk you through the proper way to clean your vent.

How to Safely Clean Out your Dryer Vent

  1.  Unplug the dryer or turn off the gas supply.
  2.  Pull the dryer away from the wall.
  3.  Detach the duct from the back of the machine.
  4.  Shake out loose lint and use a vacuum cleaner and tools to remove the remaining lint from the duct.
  5.  Vacuum lint from the outside vent.
  6.  Check the dryer duct for any cracks or tears and replace the duct if damaged.
  7.  Carefully reattach the dryer vent with screws, clips, or aluminum tape.
  8.  Return the dryer to its normal position.
  9.  Turn the power supply back on.

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