You may be aces at laundry – no accidentally pink shirts in your basket! – but here’s something even the most diligent dryer cleaners likely don’t know: your lint trap only collects between 30 and 50 per cent of the lint that comes off your clothes during drying.
The bulk of it collects in the hose between the dryer and the wall vent and in the dryer vent itself. That’s a lot of fabric bits, dust, skin, hair, pet fur and other crud to accumulate in your walls or attic, depending how your dryer is vented, says Andrew Simpson, owner of Saanich’s Aero Furnace and Duct Cleaning. “It fills up pretty quickly.”
Why does it matter?
That same crud that comes off your clothes and settles in your vents become extremely flammable.
Fire Prevention Canada notes that lack of maintenance is the No. 1 cause of dryer fires, urging residents to clean the lint filter before and after each use – never run the dryer without a lint filter – and wipe away any lint that has accumulated around the drum.
But what about the lint collected elsewhere? Some homeowners may be able to carefully check the hose for build-up, but the vents are another matter. Simpson’s team uses special equipment designed to get into the events and around bends and corners, to grab the lint and pull it out, then blow any excess out afterward.
How can excess lint accumulation cost you?
The risk of fire isn’t the only thing that increases with clogged vents.
Each laundry load expels a significant amount of water, and if vents are clogged, there’s nowhere for the water to go and that can actually cause flooding – something people rarely think about with their dryer, Simpson explains.
And even with smaller accumulations, the collected lint is costing you money as your dryer works harder – and longer – to expel the air, moisture and lint.
How do you know it needs cleaning?
First, how long are your clothes are taking to dry? If a regular load used to dry in an hour and now takes much longer, chances are you have a build-up.
Check where the vent exits your house – how much air is being pushed out?
How often a cleaning is required typically varies with how much you use your dryer, Simpson says. Larger families who are doing laundry every day may want to consider vent cleaning annually, while less frequent users may find every few years is enough.
In apartment and condominium buildings where multiple units are connected, the building vents should all be cleaned at the same time, Simpson says.
With friendly, skilled and non-commissioned staff, locally owned Aero Furnace Duct and Chimney Cleaning – a BBB Torch Award finalist – is Greater Victoria’s go-to choice.