Appliance maintenance is essential to prolong its life and efficiency. Most people are aware of this as they schedule maintenance and cleaning for their furnace or clothes dryer. Once a year is usually sufficient; however, if you have a large family and you're doing more than the average amount of laundry, you might need schedule this more often. Here are some things to consider when deciding how often to have your dryer vent system serviced:
Age of the Dryer:
Older appliances are generally less efficient than newer models. The older your dryer is, the more likely it is that there is lint built up in the ducts. It is also likely that the dryer vent system is constructed of older materials that do not meet code and UL standards today. Older dryers can require more maintenance than today's newer, more efficient models.
Amount of Use:
Maybe you only need your furnace cleaned once a year (or less), but remember, the size of your family does not have an effect on how often your furnace runs. Your clothes dryer is a different story. If you have a small family, and you are only doing a couple loads a week, once a year is probably sufficient for a professional inspection of the dryer vent system. If you have a large family and are doing 10 -15 (or more) loads per week, you are moving a lot of lint through your dryer duct system. In this case, you will want to schedule a professional dryer vent cleaning at least twice a year to be safe.
Length and Path of Dryer Duct
The best place for your clothes dryer is on an outside wall, on the first floor of your home, so that the dryer duct will be very short and lead straight to the outside of your home. If your dryer is in the basement or an upper level, or located on an inside wall, the dryer duct is much longer and probably has some bends before it reaches the vent outside. As moisture, lint and heat travel through this long path, the chances are great that some will not make it outside. Wet lint will stick to the sides of your dryer ducts, forming a hard crust which will build up and restrict air flow. If your vent tube has many turns, especially 90 degree angles, this increases the chances of lint becoming trapped. If it is not possible to alter the design of your dryer duct system, you will need to schedule professional cleaning more often. A dryer vent cleaning specialist will have the necessary tools to tackle this job more easily than the average homeowner.
Fire Safety and Energy Cost
Dryer vent cleaning and maintenance is vital to your clothes dryer running efficiently and safely. When the duct system is clogged with lint, air flow is limited; the dryer works harder, and costs more to operate. The system can overheat, eventually causing a fire. The cost of a professional cleaning is low compared to the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged dryer or worse, your home and belongings if you should have a fire. Your dryer vent cleaning professional can advise you as to how often your dryer vent system needs to be serviced.
This article was written by Carl Hein, owner of Dryer Vent Wizard of St. Paul, Minnesota. DVW specializes in dryer vent cleaning, repair, installation and alterations, while educating consumers on dryer vent maintenance and fire safety. Carl services the Twin City Area of Minnesota. For more tips on dryer fire prevention or to order dryer vent cleaning service or inspection, go to http://www.dryerventwizard.com