Get the Lint Out (of Your Dryer Vent)

Written by Melanie Fourie
Updated September 10, 2015
dryer vent lint
A member paid $75 to have the dryer vent cleaned from the dryer to the roof stack, plus a kinked dryer connection replaced with new flexible pipe. The previous contractor had not cleaned the roof stack, and it was fully blocked. That caused the dryer to give an error message. (Photo courtesy of member Kenneth W. of Las Vegas, Nevada)

Dryer vents can become clogged and lead to devastating fires. Prevent this by opting for regular dryer vent cleaning. Learn about the process and cost.

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If you’re pondering getting a new clothes dryer because your current one isn’t drying as well as it used to, it could be a lint issue. Regular dryer vent cleaning can restore your dryer’s effectiveness. More importantly, it can help prevent fires and save you money.

A fire risk

Accumulated materials in a vent such as cloth, lint and even tiny animals restrict air flow and cause excessive heating. Clothes dryers account for more than 15,000 U.S. home fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

A malfunctioning duct also means you must run your dryer longer to get clothes dry. Clean vents can save you up to $24 a month on electricity.

Dryer maintenance and having your dryer vents professionally cleaned can prevent such risks and trim your energy bills.

Dry vent cleaning and inspecting

Contractors offer packages that can include an inspection of the connection between the wall and dryer, removal of lint, a full exhaust duct cleaning plus a check for code violations.

You also can learn more about the dryer vent cleaning process.

Dryer vent cleaning average costs

Angie's List members who had dryer vent cleaning done in 2013 reported paying an average of $137, with a general range of $125 to $150, not counting discounts many service providers offer to members.

Homeowners are usually charged per vent, and prices vary according to where the vent is. For instance, vents on your roof may be slightly pricier than a vent in a wall.

Steps to prevention

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are a few steps you can take to help prevent a dryer fire.

Clean the lint screen after each load has been dried.Inspect the exterior of the vent while your clothes are drying. This can help you determine whether the air is actually getting out.

There are some other fire-prevention tips you may want to know.

The CPSC also has urged manufacturers to ditch foil and plastic ducts and use a corrugated alternative. You may want to do that, too.

Professional checks

Locate a qualified dryer vent cleaning professional in your area. Always look for certification when selecting your contractor.

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