Your clothing dryer is one of the most important appliances in your home. You likely use it multiple times a week, or maybe even more if you’re doing laundry for a large family! But one thing you might not realize the importance of is having your dryer vents cleaned.
Clothing dryers ignite 2,900 fires in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Those fires cause approximately 5 deaths and 100 injuries and result in $35 million in property loss. In 34 percent of clothing dryer fires, the fires were caused by dirty dryer vents. Those fires start when the lint that’s stuck in the dryer vents — which happens over time with normal dryer use — causes the dryers’ heating elements to overheat.
To prevent clothing dryer fires, the Fire Administration advises that dryer vents are cleaned regularly by a professional. The general recommendation is to have your dryer vents cleaned at least once per year, but your dryer will send you signs that the vents are becoming clogged and are due for a cleaning.
The Signs You Need a Dryer Vent Cleaning
Signs that your dryer vents are becoming dangerously clogged include:
- Longer than normal drying times. When your dryer vents are clogged, your dryer can’t work efficiently. Your dryer should dry any load of clothes within 30 to 40 minutes. Clogged dryer vents can double, or even triple, the time it takes your dryer to dry a load of laundry.
- Musty smelling laundry. When clothes sit damp in your dryer or spend a lot of time churning within the dryer before they’re finished drying, they can develop a damp, musty smell that can leave your newly washed clothes feeling dirty.
- Excessively hot laundry. If you go to remove your laundry from the dryer and find that the clothes seem unusually hot, that’s a sign that your dryer vents are due for a cleaning.
- A burning smell. A precursor to a dryer fire is a burning smell when the dryer is operating. That burning smell signals that the dryer’s heating element is working overtime and the dryer itself is overheating.
- An overly warm laundry room. That overworked heating element can have one more side effect. When the heating element is working overtime, it can heat your dryer to the point that the entire laundry room becomes noticeably hotter while the dryer is in use.
If you notice any of the signs of clogged dryer vents, have your dryer vents cleaned by a professional immediately. Don’t become a house fire statistic! If you don’t know when your dryer vents were last cleaned, or if your dryer is showing you signs that the dryer vents are clogged, call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service to schedule your dryer vent cleaning today!