As you go about your normal daily chores, you might be more concerned about straightening up your living room and taking care of your grocery shopping than you are about the cleanliness of your dryer ductwork. Unfortunately, lint buildup can create all kinds of trouble. Here are three reasons that you should get your dryer vents cleaned regularly, and what might happen if you decide not to worry about it.
1: Dirty Dryer Vents Are Dangerous
If you are like most responsible homeowners, you probably encourage fire safety by keeping a close eye on those smelly candles that your spouse adores. However, while candles are responsible for about 10,000 residential fires a year, clothing dryers account for about 15,600 fires and 15 deaths annually.
As your dryer tumbles your clothes, tiny bits of fabric are sloughed off and sent shooting through your dryer ductwork. Although your filter catches most of these fine particulates, about 35% of lint is sent through your ductwork, where it can collect and dry out. If the heating element that warms your clothes becomes too warm, or hot air can't escape your system, lint buildup can fuel a fire in an instant.
Fortunately, you might be able to prevent dryer fires by having your ductwork professionally cleaned. Technicians can use long sweeping tools to vacuum out the vent lines around your dryer, so that heat doesn't have easy access to kindling. Dryer vent cleaning typically costs between $90 and $160, which is far less than you might spend on insurance deductibles after a devastating house fire.
2: Drying Time
Nothing is more frustrating than discovering a pile of damp, musty clothes sitting inside of your dryer. Unfortunately, if you have dirty dryer ducts, wet clothes might become the new normal.
When your system isn't capable of sending away damp air because of clogged vents, it can keep moisture inside of the dryer chamber and dramatically increase drying time. Instead of being able to whip through laundry, you might find yourself turning the dryer back on and waiting for your clothes. Although longer drying times might seem like a simple hassle, running your system more frequently can also increase your monthly energy bill and wear out your dryer's moving parts.
To keep your system running efficiently, keep an eye on how long that dryer takes to get the job done. If each batch takes longer than 40 minutes or you find yourself re-cycling loads, call in a professional. When your system can vent properly, it will put less strain on the dryer components, while reducing your chore time and energy usage.
3: Clothing Lifespan
Although you might not be that attached to your old bulky dryer, you might feel differently about those designer jeans that make you look incredible. However, if you have clogged dryer vents, it can put a serious strain on the clothes that you have carefully collected over the years.
When dryer vents become clogged, heat can build inside of your system. Unfortunately, extra heat can create tiny cracks in cotton fibers, reducing fabric strength by as much as 25%. The longer your clothes tumble in that hot dryer, the more friction they are exposed to. As your shirts, pants, and towels rub against one another, they can create unsightly pilling or wear marks.
If you want to keep your clothes in decent condition without carefully drip-drying each piece, invest in dryer vent cleaning. Although it might seem like an added expense, the cost pales in comparison to replacing your wardrobe.
Paying attention to your dryer vents might help you to whip through your laundry, save your favorite clothes, and protect your family from danger.