Removing Lint from Dryer Vent

Prevent House Fires by Periodically Removing Lint from Dryer Vents

By Mark J. Donovan

It is important to periodically remove lint from dryer vents. By not removing lint from a clothes dryer vent you impact your dryer’s ability to dry clothes, put excess wear and tear on the dryer by overuse, and run the risk of causing a house fire.

Dryer lint is combustible and it is therefore important to periodically clean the dyer vent and tubing that connects the dryer to the vent.

To remove dryer lint, start by cleaning the lint trap. Normally you can remove this with your fingers, however for a cleaner job use a vacuum cleaner.

Next, disconnect the power to the dryer so that you can pull the dryer away from the wall and get access to the back of it.

Depending upon how the dryer vent tubing is connected up to the back of the dryer, use a pair of pliers, screw driver or dikes to remove the clamp that holds the vent tubing onto the back of the dryer. Note that sometimes a large tie-wrap is used, and in this situation dikes are required to cut the tie-wrap. In addition, you will need to purchase a replacement tie-wrap.

If the dryer vent tubing is a flexible accordion type, consider throwing it away and replacing it altogether. Flexible accordion type dryer vent tubing is relatively inexpensive to buy, and it is much easier to replace it than to try to clean the inside of it. In addition, you may want to consider replacing it with tin vent tubing as it has smooth surfaces and is therefore less likely to trap as much dryer lint. You will, however, probably need to buy some tin angle pieces if you go this route.

If you choose not to replace the existing dryer vent tubing, use your vacuum cleaner to remove the lint from the tubing. Use a long vacuum cleaner extension to clean far down the inside of the dryer vent tubing.

Next, use your vacuum cleaner to remove lint from around the dryer vent opening on the back of the dryer. Likewise, vacuum the back side of the dryer vent assembly that is attached to your home’s exterior wall. Also vacuum around the dryer area and along the back wall where lint may have escaped the dryer vent tubing and collected on the walls and floor.

Next, go outside and remove the dryer lint that is built up on the outside of the dryer vent. Make sure the vent louvers are free of any lint.

Finally, reconnect the dryer vent tubing, reposition the dryer and connect the power back up to it.

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