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Have you noticed that your dryer is taking longer to dry a load of laundry than it used to? Do you find yourself constantly restarting the dryer because clothes are still damp? It might not be a problem with your dryer; it likely means it’s time to have your dryer vents cleaned.

Why dryer vents become clogged

You probably know that your dryer’s lint trap is designed to stop lint from your clothing, towels and linens entering your dryer ducts. While it does stop some of the lint, the reality is that some lint does bypass the lint trap and make it into the vents. The still damp lint sticks to the walls of the dryer vent and accumulates over time. Eventually, the dryer vents can become mostly or total blocked, dramatically impacting your dryer’s functioning.

Why clogged dryer vents are a problem

Clogged dryer vents pose a serious hazard to your home. When your dryer can’t exhaust its hot air, the highly flammable lint can overheat and ignite. In fact, clogged dryer vents cause more than 12,000 home fires each year. On top of being a fire hazard, clogged dryer vents also can prevent carbon monoxide caused by your dryer’s combustion from exiting your home. That can allow carbon monoxide levels in your home to rise to a hazardous level, putting you and your family in danger.

Additionally, clogged dryer vents can jeopardize your dryer’s function. When dryer vents are clogged, your dryer can’t work efficiently. The longer drying times lead to higher energy bills, and the overheating that can occur from clogged dryer vents can wear out your dryer prematurely.

How you can tell if your dryer vents need to be cleaned

In addition to longer dry times, there are several signs that your dryer vents need to be cleaned. Those signs include a musty or burning smell when the dryer is running, excessively hot laundry, overheating in your laundry room when the dryer is running, a rapid buildup of lint in the lint trap or lint accumulating outside the dryer vents.

How to keep your dryer vents safe

If you notice any of the above signs that your dryer vents are clogged, it is time to have your dryer vents cleaned by a professional. Professional dryer vent cleaners — like the ones at A to Z Chimney Services — use specialized power brushes and vacuums to dislodge and clear lint trapped in your dyer vents. It’s recommended that you have your dryer vents cleaned at least once per year to reduce the risk of a dryer fire. In between dryer vent cleanings, you can keep your dryer vents from rapidly accumulating lint by cleaning your lint trap in between each load of laundry, never overload your dryer with laundry and regularly check the exterior of your dryer vent to make sure that it is free from obstructions and that the flap opens and closes when the dryer is running.

If it has been more than a year since you have had your dryer vents cleaned, or if your dryer is exhibiting signs that the vents are blocked, call A to Z to schedule a professional vent cleaning today!