Best practices for dryer vent maintenance

While professional dryer vent cleaning once a year is recommended, there are some best practices you can follow for ongoing maintenance and safety.


While professional dryer vent cleaning once a year is recommended, there are some best practices you can follow for ongoing maintenance and safety. By performing regular inspections, cleaning up any lint spills, and avoiding flammable fabrics, you help prevent larger issues from developing between professional services.

•Inspect the vent opening and exterior vent cap regularly for any visible lint buildup or blockages. Use a vacuum with hose or brush attachment to clear debris at least once a month or if you notice an increase in drying time.

•Wipe up any lint spills or debris around the dryer opening or in the drum immediately after unloading the dryer to avoid smoldering fires.

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•Avoid over-drying clothes which produces excess lint.

Remove clothes while they’re still slightly damp to prevent over-drying.

•Screen the lint trap on your dryer thoroughly before each load to ensure maximum airflow and prevent extra lint from entering the vent system. Remove any debris caught in the screen during unloading as well for safety.

•Consider a lint sensor which can automatically shut off the dryer once clothes reach proper dryness. The sensor helps avoid over-drying while reducing excess lint in the system.

•Have a professional inspect and clean your exhaust vent at least once per year or every 500 cycles for multi-family housing. Even when performing regular maintenance, built-up debris levels may become unsafe over longer periods. Professional clean out is critical for fire safety.

•An air-flow restrictor can sometimes help reduce lint buildup in certain vents. However, an inadequately sized restrictor will reduce efficiency and affect drying times. Only install on recommendation of an HVAC professional.

•Never use duct tape to properly seal or repair holes or tears in a damaged dryer vent. Duct tape is not rated for high heat and can become a fire hazard. Have a professional repair or replace vent sections as needed.

•Consider a dryer vent booster or “elephant trunk” which provides more direct exhaust for better airflow and less lint buildup. Not all vents will benefit from a booster, so consult an HVAC technician first before installing.

Following best practices for maintenance and installing recommended enhancements can help keep your dryer vent cleaning and your dryer running safely for years to come. However, professional service provides comprehensive cleaning and safety checks that can’t be matched through homeowner care alone. For complete prevention of lint-related hazards, trust a professional for annual or semi-annual vent service. With properly maintained vents, you’ll enjoy quick, efficient drying and peace of mind.

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