Have You Cleaned Your Dryer Vent this Year or Ever?

lint packed dryer vent

Why clean your dryer vent?


In 2010 an estimated 16,800 reported home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines killed 51 people and caused $236 million dollars in property damage.

92% of the fires were caused by clothes dryers

Failure to clean, according to the National Association of Fire Protection is the leading cause of dryers catching fire. Last week, we stopped by our clients new home to check in after their move. They had purchased a townhome and noticed moisture spots in the living room ceiling. The spots were in odd locations and didn’t line up with where we believed the plumbing would be located. Our buyers said the dryer wasn’t drying their clothes properly. It took several cycles to dry a load of laundry.

After careful consideration and the use of a moisture meter, we were able to connect the moisture in the ceiling with the venting system for the dryer. The washer and dryer were stacked so it took some work to pull them out and check the vent. When we did, we saw the vent was bent and full of dryer lint! the lint was wet with moisture from the wet clothes in the dryer. We dismantled the long dryer vent and took it outside. Once again, confirmation as to why the ceiling was wet. The vent was packed with wet lint from one end to the other! We helped our buyers install a new dryer vent and when we checked in with them later, the dryer was working properly.

If you need a reminder, consider cleaning your dryer vent the weekend you change the batteries in your smoke detectors.  You can also use any other yearly event to remind you to do the job. Believe me I know, it's one of those out of sight out of mind kind of home chores.

However, we cannot afford to forget this simple task. 

The picture above is of the vent from my dryer. I grabbed my camera and took the picture because I couldn’t believe it! I'll be honest, until I saw Marshall heaving the machine around so I could see the back, I hadn't considered cleaning my dryer vent. I knew it was there but didn't think there would be too much lint to collect. I thought we cleaned it a few months ago. But I was very wrong! The metal flex tube connecting the dryer to the outside vent was packed with lint. Marshall used a shop vac and broom to clear the vent and clean behind the washer and dryer.

If you cannot remember the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent, do it today!

As Exclusive Buyer Agents, we make sure our clients know the basics of home maintenance. In fact, cleaning out the dryer vent is on our home buying checklist. I guess I will be keeping one of our checklists for myself!