There’s a danger lurking in your home that you probably don’t know about: Your clothing dryer and dryer vents. Each year, clothing dryers cause 2,900 home fires, leading to $35 million in property damage, 100 injuries and five deaths. In 34 percent of those fires, clogged dryer vents were to blame.

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Why dryer vent cleaning matters

Each time you dry a load of clothing or linens, lint is pulled from the material and through your dryer’s ventilation system. Some of it is caught by the lint trap you’re likely familiar with cleaning between loads. More lint escapes bypass the lint trap and begin to coat the inside of your dryer vents. Vents also can be blocked by small animals that make their way in from the outside or by plants that grow up into the vent’s outlet. If the vents become blocked, the highly flammable lint inside can overheat and ignite, causing a fire. The lint also can prevent carbon dioxide from escaping your dryer, forcing it back into your home and putting your family at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. It also prevents your dryer from operating efficiently and can reduce its lifespan. Dryer vent cleaning sweeps away lint and makes sure there are no other blockages or weaknesses in the dryer vent system.

When to have your dryer vent cleaned

Because of the risk blocked dryer vents pose to your home, the National Fire Protection Association recommends having dryer vents cleaned once per year. If you do a high volume of laundry, you should consider having your vents cleaned even more often.

Additionally, there are other signs that your dryer vents might be overdue for a cleaning. When dryer vents are clogged or partially blocked off, drying times will increase. If you notice your loads of laundry taking longer to dry, that’s a major sign your dryer vents need to be cleaned. Other signs include: laundry that seems very hot to the touch, a significant increase in the temperature of the laundry room when the dryer is running, a burning smell when the dryer is running, or the smell of dryer sheets that seems stronger than normal. If your dryer vents are blocked, you also might notice an increase in the buildup of lint in the dryer, or dryer lint debris around the dryer vent. On the outside of the house, the dryer vent flap should flutter open and closed when the dryer is running.

If you haven’t had your dryer vents cleaned within the last year, or if you notice any of the warning signs that your dryer vents might be clogged, call Total Chimney Care to schedule a dryer vent cleaning appointment today! We’ll clear your dryer vents to reduce the risk of a dryer fire and increase the efficiency of your dryer.