Who has time to clean? It’s one of those things you try to pump yourself up for by thinking about how great you feel when it’s done. But let's be honest: with work, kids, and nice weather…well, it tends to get pushed to “next weekend”.
So, I went on a quest to identify the most essential spring chores. And our NNINS home insurance claim experts were very clear that one home cleaning task stands out above the rest. One that poses potentially serious consequences for your home and the safety of your family if it’s not done.
You are probably familiar with the pliable dryer hose that connects your dryer to the wall. But have you ever thought about where it goes from the wall? You most likely have another more rigid metal duct inside your wall that takes your dryer exhaust to a vent on the outside of your home. We’ve seen vent pipes that run 15, 20, even 25 FEET to the outside of homes. The longer the vent, the harder to clean. And the more susceptible to fire.
If you’re like me, you’re thinking I clean out my lint trap after every load. Okay, most loads. Isn’t that good enough?
No. Here’s why:
Your dryer is designed to exhaust heat and moisture as it dries. At the same time, small bits of escaped dust, pet/human hair, and fabric fibers travel down into the exhaust pipe to the outside. Add your favorite fabric softener to the mix, and over time, you’ve got a sticky potpourri of highly flammable build-up.
Here are some signs your dryer exhaust duct is not safely clear:
- Your clothes are taking longer to dry.
- The laundry room heats up when your dryer is running.
- Your clothes are hot to the touch after a dry cycle.
- You’re noticing more lint your dryer's lint trap than normal.
- You see lint sticking out of the outdoor exhaust vent.
- Your outdoor vent cover’s flaps aren’t working.
If you've got one of those longer exhaust ducts, hire a certified vent cleaning professional. For about $75-125, they’ll bring brushes and hoses that can reach all the way to the end of the duct and get it good and clear.
On the DIY side, if your vent duct is shorter, you should be able to easily clean it out yourself. Remove the vent duct from the back of your dryer and the duct cover or flaps on the outside of your home and use long brushes and a vacuum to remove the build-up. Hint: Start cleaning inside, reconnect the duct and run your dryer while working on the outside- that way the lint will blow forward as you work instead of getting pushed further back. Wear goggles to protect your eyes!
Also, make sure you clean your lint trap after every load and disconnect the exhaust hose running from the dryer to the wall and give it a good cleaning once every 6 months. Justin also recommends never leaving your dryer running overnight or when you leave home.
So go get this one critical chore done now and then get out and enjoy the warm weather in Virginia. The other spring cleaning can wait.