Advice from Rhonda: Dryer Vent Cleaning Schedule

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Dryer Vent Wizard of the Greater North Bay Area

How Often Should Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning be done?

 

You know you need to make sure you get the proper maintenance done on your dryer, but you may have a tough time deciding how often to do what you can yourself and how often you should call in a professional to do the rest. Here are a few things to consider that will help in making a responsible decision:

 

How old is the dryer?

 

The age of your clothes dryer is something you really need to consider.  The older the dryer is, the more likely there is lint clogged up in the system. It's a fact, time means more loads have gone through the machine and more lint has gone through the system. Another thing to keep in mind about older clothes dryers is that they were not built to the same efficient standards as today's dryers so they may need more maintenance to keep them going more efficiently.

  

How active is the dryer?

  

Do you just do a couple of loads of laundry on the weekend or less frequently; or do you have a large enough family to have you drying clothes every other day? The more active your clothes dryer is, the more often you will need to clean the dryer vent system.

  

How long is your dryer vent?

  

The length of a dryer vent is a major factor to consider when scheduling regular maintenance.  If you have a dryer vent that is more than 10 feet long (meaning from the back of your dryer to where the line terminates outside your home), this means a lot more space where lint can be trapped along the path and a higher need for more frequent cleanings.

 

What path does your dryer vent take?

 

If your dryer vent takes a turn that is at a 90-degree angle, that is a hard space for the lint to make it's way around and safely out of your house. This type of vent is more likely to be trapping some amount of lint or dust in the line and that dust can slow down operations of your machine. If this design cannot be altered, you will want to consider having it professionally inspected more often.

 

Maintenance

 

You should start with the maintenance you can do which is cleaning out the lint trap before every load. You can also clean out the chute that the lint trap sits in with a specialized cleaner or the nozzle portion of your vacuum cleaner.

 

Eventually you should call in a professional who can look for the lint trapped inside your machine as well as in the vent line.  This should be done at least once a year for moderate use and more frequently if you use your machine more often.

 

This article was written by Rhonda Nole, owner of Dryer Vent Wizard of the Greater North Bay area, http://www.dryerventwizard.com  servicing Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Lake and Mendocino Counties and the following cities in California:  San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Windsor, Napa, Ross, Kentfield, Bodega Bay, Healdsburg, American Canyon, Corte Madera, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Guerneville, Greenbrae, Sausalito, Marin City, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Cloverdale, Mill Valley, Woodacre, Novato, Tiburon, Belvedere, Stinson Beach and other near by areas.

Comments (2)

Kevin Warmath
Warmath Real Estate @ Keller Williams North Atlanta - Alpharetta, GA

I'm sorry, but you have got to be kidding me...I need to have my dryer vent PROFESSIONALLY cleaned at least once a year?  If I can't clean my own dryer vent, I'm a moron, sorry.  Why would I pay someone a service call to do that?  That is like calling the HVAC guy to change my furnace filter.

My rule of thumb:  clean your dryer vent when you change your furnace filter.  just vacuum it out and be done with it.  Take the money you'd spend to have it PROFESSIONALLY cleaned and go to dinner.

Aug 27, 2008 07:07 AM
Anonymous
Rhonda Nole

Hi Kevin,

Hope this e-mai finds you well.  You are lucky and very smart to maintain your vent lines.  It also sounds like your are fortunate enough to have a vent line that is easily cleaned.  Many times we rescue do-it-yourselfers who end up causing more harm than good, and don't get the results they hoped for.  We have pulled mops and other implements from lines as well as unclogged lines which the homeowners have tried to use a blower to clean the vent line only to make it worse.   I always encourage people who are handy to mantain their vent lines if they can; so I applaud you.  However, as a professional who sees hundreds of dryer vent lines your scenario is not always common.  Many vent lines are very long and poorly installed.  This type of situation warrents more frequent cleaning.  It depends on how much laundry you do, how the configuration of the vent lines, the length and type of material.  The Fire Protection Agency has excellent information for homeowners regarding the dangers and remifications of those unlike you who don't maintain their dryer vents.

As I said you are fortunate that you can maintain your vent lines, and keep up the good work. As a Realtor you may have encountered situations in the sale of a home where the home is inspected and the dryer vent lines are overlooked.   Many times the vent line vents under the house, in an attic, or is leaking and causing mold and water damage.   We work with quite a few Realtors that have us do inspections on home sales.  We will come out and inspect the entire vent line for $39.00 and provide a written report on the findings. 

Here is an excellent link which supports our recomendations.  http://www.vcisafety.org/dryer_vent_fires.cfm

I welcome your comments, but I am not kidding.  We see a lot of differenct scenarios, and most are not as easy as your.s

 

Rhonda

Aug 27, 2008 03:30 PM
#2