Apart from special occasions, the United States Fire Administration recommends that dryer vents be cleaned by a professional at least once a year. Cleaning dryer racks is an essential part of the home cleaning and maintenance routine. It's easy to think that the dryer's ventilation grille won't accumulate a lot of lint if you regularly clean the lint trap. In reality, regardless of how often you empty the accumulated fiber in the front of the dryer, the machine will still accumulate large amounts of lint and debris in its ventilation grille.
Only a dryer rack cleaning service offered by a trusted professional will clean your dryer completely and safely. If the air flow of the dryer vent is obstructed or blocked by debris, there are several ways in which cleaning the dryer vent can improve the efficiency of the dryer and the overall safety of your home. Clogged ducts make it difficult for the dryer to release warm, humid air from the clothes chamber. That air can cause a lot of problems in the machine, such as increasing drying times, increasing the temperature of the laundry room, and putting greater overall pressure on the dryer.
Cleaning the dryer vent removes this accumulated debris, allowing air to escape before it causes more problems for you and your machine. The main factor contributing to the ignition of household fires related to clothes dryers was lack of cleaning, which accounted for one-third (33%) of dryer fires. Fire isn't the only concern when it comes to dirty ventilation grilles, carbon monoxide also presents its own serious risks. If you have a gas-powered dryer, the hot air that exits through the dryer's vents to the outside of your home may also contain carbon monoxide.
Dryer vents clogged with debris allow air from the gas dryer to be released into the house, leading to different levels of hazardous gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real and deadly danger. Symptoms of poisoning usually include headache, upset stomach, lightheadedness, and confusion. When you don't know what to look for, it can be difficult to determine when the dryer vents need to be cleaned.
Fortunately, many signs can indicate that you have blocked the flow of air from the dryer vent. Long drying times, burnt odors, and hot laundry temperatures are good indicators that you might have a problem with the dryer's ventilation. Running the dryer several times to dry clothes is also one of the most common symptoms experienced by dryer owners when a vent is blocked. In this case, requesting cleaning should help protect clothes from heat damage and increase the speed at which the machine dries.
If you're interested in learning more about the symptoms of clogged dryer vents, we've put together a list here with more detailed information. If you can't remember the last time you cleaned a dryer vent or it's been more than a year, it's time to schedule one with a trusted local professional. Likewise, for tenants, be sure to contact your landlord or property manager, request a record of a recent cleaning, and request a cleaning of the dryer vent when necessary. One scheduled cleaning per year could be what protects your home and family from disaster.
Safety risk: Poorly planned or defective cleaning by an amateur can have disastrous effects if done improperly, which can cause even more harm than good to your dryer. Without professional knowledge of how to properly access, clean, and replace your dryer vent, there is a risk that your machine will be damaged or injured. Damage to drying system: Since cleaning your dryer's ventilation grilles requires specific experience and equipment, there is always a chance that you will cause damage by trying to clean them yourself. The cost of a professional cleaning service is significantly cheaper than replacing part of your system (or buying an entirely new dryer).
Compounding future risk: Professionals have resources and training to know when a dryer vent is completely clean. If you don't have this knowledge, you'll most likely leave some lint or residue behind during cleaning. These small fragments that remain can accumulate over time, which means that future risks associated with having problems with your dryer are greater than if a professional had done it. Wrong tools: Effective cleanings require special brushes and high-quality (often expensive) equipment to complete them.
Professional service technicians own this equipment and carry it with them during cleaning. To achieve similar results yourself would require bearing costs for cleaning tools and learning how to use them correctly - which would take up more time, energy and money than opting for an established service. Unprofessional results: No matter how confident you are in cleaning ventilation grilles at home, amateur techniques will never measure up to professional results. The only way to ensure high-quality cleaning that meets recommended safety standards is to hire a reliable cleaning service.
Unlike doing it yourself, hiring a reputable company ensures that trained professionals get the job done. Many parts of ventilation grille cleaning process require specific technical knowledge - something that only experienced professionals possess. Dryer ventilation repairers have received years of extensive training and on-the-job experience - they know small details that may go unnoticed by amateur vent cleaners or untrained eyes. For your safety - as well as that of your ventilation grilles and home - hiring a professional company is an ideal option.
For example, many people don't realize that excessive lint buildup can cause their dryers' ventilation grilles to be hot to touch - especially after recently turning on cycle. Attempting to clean ventilation grille yourself without this background information could result in burns or injuries. By hiring service you can rest assured knowing job will be done correctly - without risk damaging machine or putting yourself danger.