Company Blog

Spring Cleaning Should Include Your Dryer Vent

Dryer lint clogs the dryer venting with flammable material, causing roughly 17,000 house fires every year. In fact, clogged dryer vents cause more house fires every year than chimney fires do!

Dryer lint is extremely flammable. In fact, campers often take
dryer lint with them to provide a ready material to start a campfire.mother and child doing laundry

Unfortunately, the lint trap on your dryer doesn’t catch all the lint produced by your dryer and a fair amount of this flammable debris makes its way into the dryer vent.  A heating element can produce a stray spark, catching the dryer, its venting system, and nearby walls on fire.

THE FIRST SIGN OF A CLOGGED DRYER VENT is when you notice that clothes aren’t getting dry in one cycle. When there is a buildup of lint in the dryer or its venting system it’s harder to remove the moisture from your clothes. A clothes dryer uses more energy – at about 3000 watts/hour – than most any other appliance in an average home. (For comparison, a ceiling fan uses 10-120 watts, a microwave oven uses about 1200 watts and an electric heater 1500 watts per hour.) So when your clothes take double the time to dry, that’s a lot of wasted energy dollars.

Please call us immediately to inspect and clean your dryer and it’s venting if clothes aren’t getting dry.

Electric Clothes Dryers vs Gas Clothes Dryers

Both types of dryers help carry away lint and moisture, but a gas dryer also produces dangerous fumes – including carbon monoxide – that must be safely vented to the outdoors.

Flexible dryer vent pipe makes installation easier, but it provides an uneven surface for lint to accumulate to cause clogged areas and potential fires.  A smooth rigid metal venting system – using the straightest run possible – is recommended as the best system to vent your clothes dryer. We will always recommend that plastic or vinyl venting be replaced; the material degrades quickly, and simply cannot stand up to the tiniest of sparks. We also will advise replacement to a smooth metal dryer vent system in installations with flexible metal pipes, and we can perform this job for you too.

Dryer Safety Tips12

  • Clean the lint trap on your dryer after each load
  • Do not overload your clothes dryer; this can damage the drum belt, bearings and can cause pulleys to be overworked and produce higher drying temperatures and extra friction that can spark and cause a fire
  • Move your dryer out from the wall at least every 3 months and vacuum under and behind it
  • Clean the outside exhaust regularly
  • Do not store flammable products, such as cleaning products, in the vicinity of your clothes dryer
  • Use caution when drying items with rubber – such as padded bras, bath mats and baby bibs – that should not be exposed to high heat and therefore are a potential fire hazard
  • Clothing and textiles that have been stained with volatile chemicals may not come clean in the washer, so opt to air dry these items to prevent exposure to the high temperatures found in your dryer
  • Don’t operate your clothes dryer while you’re gone from home or sleeping.
  • Keep an eye out for overheating. If the top of the dryer is hot to the touch, or clothes are hot at removal, or if your dryer cuts off unexpectedly as this can indicate a defective appliance or a venting issue

For more information about dryer vent safey, visit

Why are the clothes taking so long to dry?

Your dryer vent is a similar system to your fireplace chimney or furnace flue.  Its purpose is to vent heat and lint from the clothes dryer. It needs regular maintenance to properly function…just like your chimney and furnace.  If it isn’t maintained, the clothes dryer may become a serious fire hazard…just like your chimney or furnace.

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger……

Many installers don’t know how to install or even realize that a dryer vent should be installed to specific safety standards.   Many of the standards are outlined in the User Guide. For example, the total length of the run for the vent should not exceed 25 feet.  And every 90-degree turn counts for 5 feet. The pipe itself must be at least 4”. A lightweight flexible pipe should only be used as a connector and not for the main vent run.  

There are many dryer vent related fires that cause loss of life and property each year.  However, they are preventable with proper installation, use, and maintenance of clothes dryers and their venting systems.  The majority of these fires were caused by simple failure to clean the dryer vent on a regular basis.

The Problems….

Many homeowners incorrectly think that routinely emptying the lint trap is all it takes for a clean dryer vent.  Not so…..

Your clothes dryer may not have been installed correctly.  An inspection by a qualified professional can give you peace of mind as to whether your appliance has been installed properly.  

Please read the complete User Guide from your dryer manufacturer.  Please give special attention to the parts about maintenance and use. There should be specific maintenance instructions for each model.  Get to know your appliance, and follow instructions and schedule regular maintenance to ensure proper operation.

Check out the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Dryer Safety Tips Brochure.

How do you know if you need maintenance?

Have you noticed a change in your dryer’s performance?   It’s likely a dryer vent problem. Things to notice:

  • A normal load of clothes takes more than one cycle to dry completely.
  • The surface of the dryer feels hotter than usual.
  • Clothes are excessively hot at the end of the drying cycle.
  • The temperature in the house rises while the dryer runs.
  • The area around the dryer covers in condensation or lint while the dryer is in use.
  • The outlet outside at the end of your dryer vent doesn’t have any air/lint moving thru it.

Benefits of regular maintenance…

  • Saves money when you use less energy
    • by running fewer cycles
    • by not having to cool a house overheated by a malfunctioning dryer.
  • Lengthens the life of your dryer when you run fewer cycles.


Take advantage of the “Spring Cleaning” bug to get your dryer checked out.  It’s a perfect add-on when getting your chimney cleaned at the end of the burning season.