Being proactive about HVAC maintenance can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. Preventative measures are a whole lot cheaper than repairs, so our advice would be to schedule regular maintenance for your heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. One area of your home’s ventilation system that often gets overlooked is the dryer vent. If you fail to take proper care of your dryer, you could end up with a big problem Not only can improper maintenance lead to less efficiency and longer dryer times—which may end up shrinking your clothes or damaging fabrics—it can also drive up utility bills! What’s worse? Neglecting your dryer is a HUGE fire hazard! Dryer fires are among the most common reasons for residential fires in America, and failure to clean the dryer is the number one cause for these fires. Here are our tips for maintaining your dryer and minimizing the risk of a dryer fire.
Believe it or not, cleaning out the lint screen is something that people forget to do all the time! This is a super easy habit to get into, and you should start if you haven’t already. You need to empty the lint screen every single time you use the dryer. This isn’t a weekly or monthly thing—it’s an every-single-time thing. The reason for this is that too much lint in the lint screen will block airflow, which will prolong drying times and increase the amount of heat buildup.
If you have a newer dryer, it likely has moisture sensors which help the auto-dry cycle detect moisture in the laundry load. When the moisture sensor detects a low enough level of dampness, the machine will shut off to avoid overusing any energy. After enough laundry cycles, these sensors can get mucked up with a film which can cause them to work improperly. This is especially prevalent among users of dryer sheets. This will cause the dryer run longer than needed and excess heat to build up. To clean your moisture sensors, get out a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol and scrub off the film buildup.
Your dryer vent needs to be cleaned a few times a year. Our suggestion? Every four months. Here’s why: Although your dryer’s lint screen does a lot to help block all the little fibers and particles from your clothing from getting into the vent, it’s not fool-proof. Some of those particles still get through and they can really build up in your vent. This buildup is EXTREMELY flammable and can ignite at the first sign of a little spark. We can’t stress enough how dangerous this can be. If you can pull the dryer away from the wall, then you can perform this task yourself. Disconnect the dryer from the power source and separate the vent from the dryer and vacuum out both the dryer and the vent. If you can’t access the vent, it might be time to enlist a professional. Sure you might be thinking that this is an annoying expense, but trust us—it will cost a lot less than a house fire!