The outside dryer vent should be cleaned and checked quarterly to increase the airflow in your dryer. This will speed the drying time for laundry and help prevent moisture problems in your home.
How to clean dryer vent from outside
Your dryer uses motion and warm air to extract the moisture out of your laundry, and it needs a way to get rid of all of the damp air. Your dryer vent is a duct that connects from the dryer itself into the wall. It carries the warm air to be released outside.
If you’ve ever wondered why you can smell your fabric softener outside, this is why. The vent is doing its job! There is an external vent somewhere on the outside of your house – usually it is low down on the wall, but some homes have their external dryer vent on the roof. If your dryer vent is one the roof, we don’t recommend that you learn how to clean dryer vent from outside. Either hire a professional, or clean your dryer from the inside.
Why you should learn how to clean dryer Vent from outside
You’re probably familiar with the lint that collects in your lint trap – but that’s not the only place that it ends up. The air that cycles through your dryer to dry your laundry also becomes laden with lint, and this is carried through the dryer vent and collects there.
Over time, if you don’t learn how to clean dryer vent from outside, this buildup becomes inefficient and, eventually, dangerous. When it starts to obstruct airflow, you’ll find that your dryer will take longer to dry your laundry. Ultimately, a blocked dryer vent can lead to a dangerous fire.
Tips to Clean an Outside Dryer Vent
1- Check the Vent Opening
Check the exterior vent while the its running to make sure the slats are opening freely. If they are not opening correctly, turn off the dryer and open the vent manually.
2- Inspect the Vent
Inspect the hinges for rust and oil lightly with a lubricant if needed. The vent should also be inspected for cracks or missing parts. Missing parts can allow insects and vermin to enter the ductwork and your laundry area, and no one wants that.
3- Remove Lint and Debris
Use your hand or a long-handled, wire brush to remove clogging lint. Regular cleaning is especially important in humid climates where moisture can cause lint to mat and cling to the vent causing it to malfunction.
4- Use the vacuum to collect the lint
When you pull the brush out, it’s likely going to come with a shower of lint and dust, especially if you haven’t used a shop-vac. This is one reason to learn how to clean dryer vents from outside – there’s less clean-up than there would be in your laundry room. Use the vacuum to clean up the dirt.
5- Unplug your dryer
You don’t want to be dealing with air blowing into your face while you’re cleaning, and you want to mess with electrical components even less. That’s why the first step in how to clean your dryer from outside is to unplug your machine. If you have a gas dryer, close off the gas valve into the dryer while you’re working.