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Magic Sweep Blog

Dangers of Clogged Dryer Vents

If you have your own home, you most likely have your own washer and dryer. These appliances are expensive and require very little upkeep, but it’s important that homeowners remember that LOW maintenance doesn’t mean NO maintenance. Your clothes dryer needs routine cleaning in order to work properly and safely. Having your dryer professionally installed, including the vents, and scheduling dryer vent cleanings annually will keep your unit venting correctly and prevent dangerous dryer vent clogs.

Dirty Dryer Ventshand holding dryer lint in front of clothing dryer

According to the U.S. Fire Administration there are nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires reported each year. Of these fires, there are 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property damages. When units are as efficient as they are, manufactured as well as they are, and there are professional services designed to maintain them, there is no reason to have even one clothes dryer fire. As far as Magic Sweep is concerned, one fire is too many, and it’s our goal to prevent dangerous dryer vent fires in your home.

Dryer Vent Cleaning

The leading cause of dryer vent fires annually is the failure to clean the unit—the appliance and the vent. Homeowners think that cleaning the lint trap after use is the only thing you have to do to prevent lint buildup, but this is not so! The lint trap should be cleaned after each use, and the dryer vent itself must be professionally installed, adhere to professional standards, and be cleaned by a certified technician annually.

Did You Know…

-A dryer vent must be a minimum of 4 inches in diameter and as large as the dryer outlet?
-The dryer vent should not exceed 25 feet in length when each 90-degree angle equals 5 feet?
-Dryer vents should terminate outdoors and independent of all other systems?
-The outside termination hood should have a backdraft damper to prevent air from entering the vent from the outside?
-Flexible ducts should never be used in an attic, crawlspace, or inside a wall?
-Metal ducts should be used between the dryer and exhaust ducts?
Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians (CDET) are trained in manufacturer and fire safety standards?

Cleaning Dryer Vents Saves You Money

You can benefit from a dryer vent cleaning no matter what type of dryer you have. It helps to prevent fires in electric and gas-powered dryers, raises efficiency, and saves money in utilities. The most common sign that you need a dryer vent cleaning is that the unit takes more than one cycle to dry a load of clothes. Many homeowners attribute this to a worn-out unit, but we know better. Your clothes dryer should last ten years. If it’s been less than 5 years old and isn’t dry in one cycle, you probably have a clogged vent! Running the dryer in this state can ignite the liner buildup in the dryer vent. It will also cost you 2 to 3 times the utilities if you run 2 to 3 cycles.

Save yourself money and protect your home and family from a devastating fire by scheduling dryer vent cleaning.

Call Magic Sweep at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online.

Keeping Dryer Vents Clean


How a Slow Dryer Might be a Fire Hazard

If you’ve been having to hit the “Start” button on your dryer’s cycle more than once lately, it’s likely that this may be more than just an annoyance—it may be a sign that your dryer vents need to be cleaned. Clogged dryer vents don’t just slow you down on laundry day—they can be a danger to your home. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that overheated clothes dryers can cause fires and recommends routine cleaning of dryer vents for prevention.

A slow dryer may indicate it is time to schedule a dryer vent cleaning from a professional.

A slow dryer may indicate it is time to schedule a dryer vent cleaning from a professional.

Cleaning your lint screen before or after each load of laundry helps to reduce lint buildup in ducts, but this only slows the process and does not eliminate it. When lint builds up in the dryer hose, it reduces the flow of air and causes the dryer to have to work harder. Dryers have switches to keep the temperature from running too high, but constant use can wear the switch out and cause it to fail. Not only does cleaning the vents remove a fire hazard from your home, it will also increase the life of your dryer and save energy by keeping it running efficiently and effectively.

Signs your vent needs to be cleaned:

  • Clothes drying slowly
  • Lint behind dryer
  • Clothes/dryer feel too hot
  • Heat element in dryer burns out
  • Water spots on walls
  • Carbon monoxide alarm going off

Long, concealed vent runs, which are used more frequently in new construction, are difficult to navigate and are not as friendly a do-it-yourself project as a simple duct going directly from the dryer and straight through the wall or a window. CPSC also notes that if you are currently using plastic or foil, it is important to replace that with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal ducts.

An easy way to remember to keep up with this maintenance is to schedule your dryer vent cleaning at the same time as your chimney inspection and cleaning (if you have a chimney). Just make sure this is one thing you don’t have to worry about.