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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Let That Air Flow!

1/31/2022 (Permalink)

A dirty lint filter sits in the open door of a clothes dryer There's more to dryer vent maintenance than cleaning off the screen!

There's nothing better than the smell of clean laundry, fresh out of the dryer. The dryer is one of the most-used appliances in a home. Proper maintenance is essential to keep your machine running at peak performance. Not only that, ignoring one of the primary maintenance tasks could cause your dryer – and your home – to go up in flames! The leading cause of dryer fires is a failure to properly clean them. There are close to 3,000 home clothes dryer fires every year, resulting in $35 million in property loss. Keep an eye out for some tell-tale signs that you need to level up your dryer maintenance game.

 Has this ever happened to you? Your dryer worked like a champ until you noticed that sometimes you needed to add more time to the cycle to make sure the clothes were totally dry. You clean off the lint screen every time you finish a load, so maybe the dryer is just aging? Not necessarily. Cleaning the lint screen is the first part of dryer maintenance. Periodically, give it a deep clean and a rinse! Dryer sheets leave behind a residue that can build up and cause an issue. While you're at it, wipe down the inside drum of the dryer with a touch of rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth. Finish it by removing the lint trap screen and using a dryer lint brush to clean out the lint built up inside. It's like a spa day for your dryer!

It's also important to watch the size of your dryer loads. Just because your dryer might claim to have extra capacity, it doesn't mean your college kid should come home and shove two months' worth of clothes into one load! Overfilling your dryer uses more energy and not all of the clothes are likely getting completely dry. That sour, musty smell is never a good look on anyone! Show some restraint and dry regular-sized loads of clothes each time.

Outdoor build-up like dirt, snow and even lawn debris can often affect the vent cover on the exterior of your home. Dryer fires are more prevalent in the fall and winter, so be sure to keep the area clear.

The most important part of dryer maintenance lies within the exhaust vent. At a minimum, your exhaust vent should be completely cleaned every two years. This can be done professionally, but if you're the DIY-type, it's a relatively easy job. Here's how to do it:

  • Unplug the dryer and detach the vent hose from the wall. Use a screwdriver to unfasten the holding clamps.
  • Carefully remove the vent hose from the dryer and use the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner to suck out the lint. Do both ends of the hose until it's all gone, but be gentle so the hose won't be damaged.
  • Find a clog? A wire hanger can snake out any large clogs. Be careful not to scratch the sides!
  • Reattach your hose with the clamps and slide it back into place.
  • Go outside and remove the exterior vent cover. Wear gloves and clear out the lint.
  • Plug in the machine and run it empty on the air dry setting for 20 minutes. Make sure air is blowing out of the vent before replacing the outside cover.
  • You're done!
  • Make it easy to keep up your dryer's maintenance by scheduling a recurring reminder on your phone!

    Don't feel like doing it yourself?  Call us for your dryer vent cleaning!  Save our number on your phone: 662-281-1881.

    We're always here to help at SERVPRO of Oxford/Batesville/Clarksdale.

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