There are many advantages to be had simply by keeping your home’s dryer vents clean, including increased safety and money savings.
Clothes dryer fires and hazardous carbon dioxide emissions often start with problems in the dryer’s venting system or lint trap area. Why these two places? Because the lack of proper vent cleaning and the use of improper dryer venting practices. Mixing the extreme heat of the dryer necessary to efficiently dry clothes and an over-abundance of lint and debris can be dangerous, if not deadly. Clean the lint filter/screen after each dryer use. Clean the vent and exhaust duct periodically as well.
Check the outside vent while the dryer is in operation to ensure that air is escaping and not getting clogged somewhere. It may be necessary to remove the exhaust duct from the dryer to dislodge an obstruction. Also, pull the dryer out from the wall and ensure that lint and other fibers are not lingering. This lint and debris amounts to highly-flammable particles of cotton and polyester that have come off of clothes being dried. Once these fibers clog the vent, heated air cannot escape.
Although you can perform many of those tasks yourself, it is also a good idea to have a professional come in yearly and give your dryer unit a thorough clean. You can even have a professional focused on chimney sweep services clean your chimney and dryer vent all at once. Today’s newer homes often place a dryer away from an outside wall, which makes the dryer is vented for a longer distance and inspection and debris removal is complicated. Many apartment/condominium complexes and homeowner’s associations now require an annual or semi-annual cleaning to prevent accidents and fires.
Another advantage to keeping dryer vents free of lint and debris is the money savings you will see. When lint traps, vents and exhaust areas are full of debris, heat is not distributed in the drum as it should be. This makes the dryer run longer in order to fully dry clothes. It may also take more than one cycle to completely dry a full or heavy load. Also, as your vent continues to fill with debris, the life expectancy of your dryer is cut in half with each load.