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Dryer Vent Cleaning Should Be Top On Your List: Avoid Dangerous & Damaging Fires With Annual Care

Doing a couple of loads of laundry doesn’t seem like a life-or-death situation, but did you know it can be if you don’t get your dryer vents professionally cleaned? It may surprise you that you need to place cleaning your dryer vent high on your annual to-do list, but dryer vent fires are actually more of a risk than chimney fires – and most families have dryers. 

When the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues an alert, we should all pay attention. They issued one several years ago because there are approximately 15,500 fires, 10 deaths, and 310 injuries from dryers and washing machines annually. Of those fires, 92% of them can be attributed to dryers according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

This is just one reason we believe having our dryer vent technicians certified by Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is important. We want our customers to rest assured that every technician who enters their home knows what they are doing from start to finish. Because many of the tools used to sweep a chimney are also used to sweep or clean a dryer vent, it makes sense to cross-train our techs. This way, when people have both dryers and chimneys, the same sweeps can service both at the same time.

Get two things off your list with one service call. Schedule with Ashbusters Chimney in Charleston today by calling us at 843-595-4927. You can also request an appointment online.

Why Do I Have To Get My Dryer Vents Cleaned?

When you run clothes through a dryer, they shed small bits of fiber that clump together to form lint. Lint gets trapped in the dryer vent after a few cycles, and if the vent gets too clogged, it can overheat and catch on fire.

Unlike your fireplace, you probably use your dryer multiple times a week all year long. That much use increases the risk of a fire, but you can’t stop doing laundry, right? Instead of letting dirty clothes pile up all over the place, make sure you schedule regular appointments to have your dryer vents cleaned by a professional.

clogged dryer vent with lots of lint
Remember three key things:

  • Clean dryer vents WILL NOT ignite and start a fire
  • Clean dryer vents WILL extend the life of your dryer
  • Clean dryer vents WILL save you money in energy savings

Why is lint dangerous?

Lint is one of the most flammable materials in your home. Even the Boy Scouts of America recommend lint as a great fire starter. That’s great when you need to start a campfire, but not to start a fire in your home! 

Once that lint backs up in your dryer vent, not only is it a fire hazard, but it also limits air flow from the dryer – which then causes it to work harder than it should. This shows up when you have to restart the dryer for another cycle or two in order to get your clothes dry. These extra cycles are pulling energy (gas or electricity) and that is costing you more dollars! It really is just that simple.

Add to this the number of homes where dryers are installed on top levels – as well as condos and apartment buildings with dryer hookups on multiple floors – and you start to see that this is potentially a big problem. These vent runs are longer with multiple elbows and turns, and we’ve even seen vents that go up, having to work very hard fighting against gravity. We believe these instances are just oversights, yet they are still potentially dangerous if not discovered and rerun. It’s no longer easy to vent the dryer exhaust in many of these modern buildings.

Carbon Monoxide: An Extra Danger for Gas Dryers

Gas dryers also vent carbon monoxide (CO), which is a poisonous gas that kills people every year. If the venting is to the outside of the home, it can be naturally dispersed into the atmosphere. However, we have seen vents leading to attics, basements, and into walls where the lint, CO, and other debris collect. We’ll let you decide if you would want to live in a house where this was done.

Another thing we often see is the old plastic accordion-style connectors, which are no longer up to current codes. We replace them with a rigid metal vent tube or a UL-listed metal flex-connector cut to the shortest length possible – all of which is up to the current codes and standards.

How Does Ashbusters Charleston Clean Dryer Vents?

  1. The dryer will be moved away from the wall. (We may do a couple more diagnostics at this point.)
  2. A vacuum that is blowing out will be attached to the vent.
  3. From the outside, a setup to capture lint will be used. The rods are quite flexible and will navigate several 90-degree turns.  The drill action gives the rotation and spin to really scrub.
  4. The technician will move the drill/rod/brush in and out repeatedly while the vacuum is blowing from the inside.  All in all, this has proven to be an extremely effective method for dryer duct cleaning, also known as dryer exhaust cleaning.

Dryer vent cleaning service prices will vary depending on accessibility, length of the dryer vent, and possible blockages or breaks in the connector.

How Often Should a Dryer Vent Be Cleaned?

Each household and family is different. You might do a couple loads of laundry almost every day of the week, while your next-door neighbor only does a single load every Saturday. In that scenario, you would need dryer vent cleaning services more often than they would. And if your dryer vent system has a more complicated layout or your vent is longer, you’ll need to be even more vigilant about keeping it lint-free.

To start out, we usually recommend scheduling two cleanings per year. That sounds like a lot, but it allows us to establish a baseline, after which you can adjust the schedule to better suit your family’s needs as time goes on. Once we get an idea of how your dryer vent responds and how quickly it collects lint, your chimney technician can better advise you on whether to drop down to an annual cleaning or add more during the year.

How often should I clean the lint trap?

The lint trap is your first line of defense against a dryer-related fire, but it can only do so much. If you don’t clean it regularly, excess lint will escape and get caught in the vent. To prevent this, you should remove the lint trap and clean it after every load. 

Yes, you read that correctly – clean the lint trap after every single load. Most of us don’t like doing chores like laundry, let alone adding another step to the boring process, but it only takes a few seconds to clean the lint trap. No worries, though, you don’t need any fancy equipment – scraping off the lint with your hands will do the trick!

What Can I Do to Stop Lint Buildup?

It’s great that you’re thinking proactively. What better way to avoid a dryer fire than eliminating the main concern from the get-go? Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to stop lint unless you’re okay with hang-drying clothes in your backyard. That said, there are some steps you can take to prevent lint from building up too quickly:

  • Clean the lint trap. Make this a part of your laundry routine by doing it after every load.
  • Get rid of accordion-style ducts. If you can, consider switching to smooth ducts. The nooks and crannies in accordion ducts trap lint more easily.
  • Go easy with the fabric softener and dryer sheets. They’re fine products in moderation, but too much fabric softener or dryer sheets can leave a residue on the lint trap and it won’t be able to catch as much lint.

Regular dryer vent cleanings by a professional service can also help you avoid lint buildup. When you’re scheduling your annual chimney inspection with Ashbusters Charleston, don’t forget to ask us about our dryer vent services! Call us now at 843-595-4927 or get in touch with us online.

How Do I Know if My Dryer Vent Needs To Be Cleaned?

As much as we would like it if our home appliances abided by our schedules, they tend to do their own thing. There may be times when your vent gets clogged, but your next vent cleaning isn’t scheduled for a while. If you notice any of the following problems, get Ashbusters Charleston on the phone as quickly as possible:

  • The dryer gets too hot. Your dryer should give off some heat, but if it’s hot to the touch, it could be a sign that it’s working harder than usual.
  • You have to run more dryer cycles. It’s happened to all of us – you put your load in the dryer and it goes through a full cycle, but the clothes still come out damp. If you have to run multiple cycles on a consistent basis, it’s time to get your dryer looked at. It could be a clogged vent or another mechanical issue.
  • There’s a burning smell. One of the perks of doing laundry is the comforting smell of clean clothes fresh out of the dryer. If you notice that moment is tainted by a burning odor, it could mean that lint is building up and overheating.
  • There’s more lint on your clothes. If you’re seeing more lint on your clothes than you’re used to, the vent is likely clogged. Also, take note of when lint collects in the dryer itself or you start to see lint around the machine.
  • The dryer is making odd sounds. Anytime one of your home appliances starts to do something new like make strange noises, you should have it checked out by a professional. That’s usually a good initial indicator that something is wrong and needs to be repaired.

How Long Does It Take a Professional To Clean a Dryer Vent?

We’ve convinced you and you’re fully on board with getting your dryer vent professionally cleaned, but you don’t want to lose a whole day – or more – to the process. We completely understand that, and we won’t take up more of your time than we have to. 

Before we can give you an accurate time estimate, though, we have to consider a few things: the length of the vent, the complexity of the vent system (how many bends and turns), how accessible the vent is, and the amount of lint buildup are just a few factors that can impact how long it’ll take us to get the dryer vent cleaned. 

With that said, it usually takes us anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to get the job done.

How Much Does It Cost to Professionally Clean a Dryer Vent?

Similar to the time estimate, it’s difficult to provide a price quote without knowing more about your dryer ventilation system. Is the vent hard to get to? When was the last time you had the dryer vent cleaned, and has it been properly maintained? How long is the vent and is it hard to navigate? 

If you’d like to get an idea of the cost, reach out to Ashbusters Charleston by phone or contact us online. Our customer service team will be happy to guide you through the process and answer all of your questions!

Why Can’t I Clean the Dryer Vent Myself?

You already clean your gutters, trim your hedges, and wash your car yourself. Why can’t this be one more chore added to the list? That’s a fair question. 

Your dryer vent is very different from the lint trap. You can’t simply pop it out, clean it off with your hands, and put it back in. Dryer vents are dark and it can be difficult to see if it’s cleaned out completely. If you have a long vent, special tools will be needed to properly clean it. If you don’t know how to handle these tools, you could compact the clog or, worse, puncture the vent, which would require it to be replaced. 

At the end of the day, it’s not safe or cost-effective to clean the dryer vent yourself. It’s always best to trust a licensed and certified professional to ensure the safety of your family and your home.

Call Us To Schedule Your Dryer Vent Cleaning Today!

If you live in the Charleston area and you’re ready to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, look no further than Ashbusters Charleston. We have almost four decades of experience cleaning and inspecting chimneys and dryer vents. 

Call us now at 843-595-4927 or book an appointment online. Our team of chimney technicians is ready to get to work protecting your family from the dangers of a dirty dryer vent!


Make sure you schedule your annual chimney sweeping with the most qualified professionals available – like our chimney and dryer repair technicians.