Everything You Need to Know About Dryer Vent Cleaning
Dryer Vent Tech serves Nashville TN and all surrounding areas with professional grade, high quality dryer vent cleaning and dryer vent maintenance services. In this article we will explain, in great detail, why dryer vent cleaning is so important and share the process from start to finish.
If you are in need of this service and are located in middle TN, contact us for a quick and friendly quote today!
Why is Dryer Vent Cleaning Important?
Up until a few years ago, dryer vent cleaning was largely unheard of. Awareness of the risk factors and important maintenance requirements of dryer vents started to rapidly increase shortly after the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a report covering a few statistics about the issue in March of 2017. According to the report, between the years of 2010-2014, each year U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 15,970 home fires caused by dryer related issues.
These dryer fires resulted in the following statistics:
- An average of 13 deaths each year.
- An average of 440 civilian injuries each year.
- $238 Million in property damage.
- The majority of fires (92%) involved clothes dryers.
- The top items to first ignite in these dryer fires were dust, fiber or lint (26% of the total)and clothing
This information is based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s
National Fire Incident Reporting System and the National Fire Protection Association’s yearly fire department experience survey.
Because of these unsettling statistics more media attention has been given to the subject of proper maintenance for dryer ducts. As a general consensus, experts recommend getting your dryer vent professionally cleaned once every 1-3 years to reduce the risk of a home fire and other undesirable complications.
Should You Do-It-Yourself or Hire a Pro?
This is the initial question that most people have when they discover their need for routine dryer vent cleaning. Should you figure out how to just do it yourself or should you pay a professional to take care of the job for you? Well, just like anything else, there’s pros and cons to both. Let’s look at a few of the pros and cons for DIY dryer vent cleaning first.
D-I-Y Dryer Vent Cleaning Pros & Cons
- Pro: Save money. This one’s obvious so let’s get this one out of the way. Dryer vent cleaning typically ranges between $80-$250 depending on the area you’re located, the quality of service and the type of dryer vent cleaning process your professional is using (more on that later). So if you plan on doing this every year, you will definitely save money, over the course of the next couple of years, if you opt to purchase the equipment and do it yourself.
- Con: It takes time and work. The time it will take you to figure this stuff out, drive to the store or order the equipment online, and then clean your vent, makes most people shy away from doing this. Not to mention you may need to take an additional trip after you encounter a few unforeseen challenges along the way.
- Pro: It’s a fun learning experience and, who knows, maybe you’ll want to start a business doing this for your neighbors!
- Con: There are many possible challenges and complications you could encounter while trying to service your own dryer vent that may require a professional who is experienced and well-versed in dryer vent repairs and building codes. You’d be surprised as to how many difficult code compliance issues we come across on a regular basis!
Pros & Cons to Hiring a Professional
- Pro: Assuming you make the right choice, you will experience 5-star customer support, quick and efficient work and all potential problems pointed out and corrected in a timely fashion.
- Con: Obviously you’re going to have to pay for the quality of service you’re receiving. Depending on your budget, this may be a bit pricey for you. Also, if there are hazardous dryer ventilation issues, depending on the difficulty of the repair, you may be charged an extra fee (hopefully they will consult you and ask for your approval first).
- Pro: If you hire a professional who is experienced and skilled at dryer vent maintenance, upon completion of the job, you should have peace of mind that your dryer vent is perfectly clean and free of all hazards and code compliance issues.
- Con: There’s always the chance of hiring the wrong “pro” and getting subpar service and/or getting hassled on the price. We can’t vouch for every dryer vent “expert” out there these days so if you choose to hire a pro, just make sure you do your due diligence first.
The Dryer Vent Cleaning Process
There are many ways to get the job done right. If you ask 5 pros how they clean dryer vents their processes may all differ slightly or entirely from one another. Since we’ve cleaned hundreds of dryer ducts and have developed our process over time to be both effective and efficient, we’ll share the basic processes we use each time we encounter the three most common types of dryer vents. You can use these steps as a reference point when deciding which pro to hire (ask as many questions about their process as possible) or you can follow this process to thoroughly clean your own dryer duct.
Ground Level Dryer Vent Cleaning
For ground level dryer vent cleaning we start on the inside of the laundry room behind the dryer. We first check to see if the flex hose is damaged or disconnected. Next, we unhook the dryer and thoroughly clean it with a rotary brush and vac.
We then clean down past the first elbow, in the exterior vent, with the rotary brush. Next, we connect the vac to the exterior vent using an adapter. We then switch the vac to blow and then check for back pressure using the hole in the adapter. Depending on how clogged the vent is we will usually feel a certain amount of air forcing it’s way back out (back pressure) through the hole in the adapter.
At this point, we’ll clean from the outside in, using the rotary brush to loosen the lint and debris inside of the dryer vent as the vac blows from the inside out. After we’ve sufficiently removed all lint and debris and checked for back pressure once more (it should be gone), we carefully hook up the dryer making sure the connection points are secure. Of course, last but not least we’ll thoroughly clean up after ourselves and take pictures to show to the customer.
Second Story Dryer Vent Cleaning
Similar to the ground level cleaning process, for second story vents we’ll also start on the inside, check for damage to the flex hose, disconnect the dryer and clean the flex hose with the rotary brush.
Next, we’ll clean up (or down) past the first elbow, in the exterior vent, with the rotary brush. This should remove some of the lint that is in the line. Then we connect the vac to the exterior vent using the adapter and check for back pressure.
Next, we switch the vac to blow and set up a ladder beneath the exterior vent cover (be sure to follow ladder safety guidelines). Then we clean from the outside in with the rotary brush until we pass the last elbow in the system. Next we’ll check for back pressure once more, ensuring the vent is free of all blockages and hook up the dryer. Lastly, we clean up nicely and show any pictures we’ve taken, to the customer.
Roof Dryer Vent Cleaning
For dryer vents that terminate on the roof, we’ll first follow the starting steps listed in the first two processes for ground level and second story vents (check flex hose, disconnect the dryer and thoroughly clean the flex hose).
Next, we’ll clean the entire length of the exterior duct starting at the back of the dryer and ending beneath the roof vent cover. You’ll know you’ve reached the end when you can’t go any further. As we clean from the bottom up, the lint and debris naturally falls out of the vent.
Next, we’ll attach the vent to the vac, using the adapter, and remove all excess lint from the vent before switching the vac to blow and checking for back pressure. Then, we set up the ladder, climb on the roof and thoroughly clean the roof vent cover. Any type of screen poses a fire hazard, is non code compliant and must be removed (see photo).
After the vent has been thoroughly cleaned, we’ll hook up the dryer, turn it on a timed dry and check the air flow at the roof vent cover. As always, we take pictures of the lint that we extracted and anything else that might be of interest to the customer.
There is much more to dryer vents than what meets the eye. On this page we’ve covered what we consider to be the most important aspect of dryer vent maintenance. If you’ve made it to the end of this detailed article, I’m sure you can see how necessary dryer vent cleaning is and maybe you’ve decided to go ahead and get this done. Whether you decide to hire us or do it yourself, we’re here to help with any questions you may have. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email. You can find our contact information here.
Wishing you a happy healthy year!
– Jacob Mills, Owner