The Question One Should Ask Is When Should Air Ducts be Cleaned?

The question is asked often – when should I get my dryer vent and air ducts cleaned? Many debate on this question, some experts saying every three to five years, while others say as often as certain conditions are present, such as having home remodeling projects completed. With air duct cleaning being a vital part in maintaining a home, families should take a close look at what is living in their ducts.

When air vents, such as central air-conditioning ducts, become dirty and contaminated with living organisms such as mold and bacteria, the indoor air quality in a home becomes greatly compromised. Many people who suffer greatly from allergies, from such allergens as pet dander, greatly improve their symptoms by hiring a duct cleaning company to clean their air ducts. Although no scientific evidence proves that air duct cleaning will improve a person’s health, there are studies that show that indoor air pollution can aggravate and/or cause a variety of conditions. Pollutants are known to inhabit the air ducts of heating and air-conditioning systems.

Choosing a good quality duct cleaner is also vital when improving your air quality. Make sure that the company who cleans your ducts cleans the air vents, drain pans, coils, blowers, and the other parts of the systems should be cleaned. Inside your ducts are not the only place where pollutants linger, but also on the aforementioned parts. When the cleaner is complete, he (or she) should not leave any mold, dust, or stains in your air ducts. A simple stain could contain live organisms, such as bacteria, that can eventually multiply and present a problem.

As we talked about earlier in this article, when is a good time to get you ducts cleaned. There is no simple answer. This varies based upon a large number of factors, such as the outdoor conditions (dusty, wooded, moisture), indoor smoking, and pets.

Some things to take into account when determining if you should get you ducts cleaning is:

1.) Have you had your heating or air-conditioning system checked for mold growth?

2.) A build-up of debris and dirt visible inside the ductwork.

3.) Recent construction inside your home.

4.) Moving into a new home.

The cost of duct and dryer vent cleaning will vary. Some homes with a large amount of ductwork may cost several hundred dollars, while commercial locations can run in the thousands – it all depends on the amount of duct that needs to be cleaned.

Before letting a air vent cleaning professional work on your systems, ensure that the company is properly licensed in your area, according to local laws and regulations.

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Dryer Vent Cleaning to Prevent Dryer Fires

Proper Dryer Vent Installation is Important

Dryer fires are more likely to occur in a poorly installed dryer vent system made of flexible foil, plastic or vinyl.  This is because these types of dryer ducts sag and allow lint to build up at low points.  Ridges can also trap lint.  Metal ducts are much safer because they don’t sag so lint is less likely to accumulate.  Metal ducts are also more likely to contain a fire should one occur.

Even the very best, state of the art dryer vent system requires regular cleaning to remove lint build-up and promote maximum air flow.  It is highly recommended that you have a professional perform a dryer vent inspection and cleaning every year.

The Anatomy of a Dryer Fire

Dryer fires typically start under the dryer when the motor overheats.  Overheating is caused by a build-up of lint in the dryer vent system, blocking air-flow.  If your dryer should throw a spark and ignite the lint, the draft from the dryer will draw the fire into the duct where more flammable lint provides fuel for a rapidly spreading home fire.

Other causes of dryer fires include failure of the thermostat or limit switches, lint inside the dryer chassis, a missing, clogged or damaged lint screen, a crushed hose behind the dryer, or a bird’s nest or other debris in the vent.

More Problems with Poor Dryer Venting

With gas dryers carbon monoxide can also be an issue.  Your dryer vent is responsible for removing gas by-products from your home, including carbon monoxide.  The fumes are colorless and odorless and they can be fatal.  Low-level symptoms mimic flu symptoms, causing headache, weakness, nausea, disorientation and deep fatigue.  Higher levels cause occupants to fall asleep, lapse into a coma and die.

Warning Signs to Watch for

Increased drying time – No, this does not mean you dryer is wearing out! Clothes very hot to the touch at the end of the cycle Outdoor flapper on vent hood does not open when dryer is running Little or no airflow in the vent

The many Benefits of Dryer Vent Cleaning:

Dryer vent cleaning eliminates home and health threats Dryer vent cleaning prevents dryer fires Dryer vent cleaning increases efficiency; reduces energy bills Dryer vent cleaning extends the life of your clothes dryer Dryer vent cleaning prevents premature break-down resulting in expensive repair bills Dryer vent cleaning improves air quality in your home, preventing mold and mildew damage and carbon monoxide poisoning. Dryer vent cleaning helps preserve clothing with faster drying time

Dryer vent cleaning is recommended annually; it is the only solution to poor venting caused by lint build-up in the system.  In some cases, dryer vent cleaning may need to be done more often.  Determining factors include:

How heavily the dryer is used

How long the vent is – shorter vents work more efficiently

Angles and venting materials used – solid metal is most efficient

Dryer vent design – turns and elbows reduce air-flow and trap more lint.

The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents

Did you know that a hidden menace in your home is your dryer? According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1998, 15,600 fires began because of dryers. This resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Ignoring a few small but important maintainence tasks can lead to a damaging fire is still unknown to many.

Did you know that you should clean your lint screen before and after each and every use? The lint that builds up on the screen can ignite. Lint can also accumulate behind the dryer. Cleaning behind the dryer and keeping the area surrounding the dryer clear at all times is of utmost importance.

Outside exhaust vents should be cleaned periodically to ensure that they are not blocked. Checking these vents for blockages should be done while the dryer is operating. If the air flow is weak, there is probably a blockage that needs to be cleared. This is accomplished by disconnecting the vent from the opening and removing the lint blockage. Be sure to reconnect the vent before using the dryer again.

Accordian plastic or foil ducts should be replaced by semi-rigid metal ducts. The chance of more lint being trapped in the accordian-like structure is greatly increased because of the shape of the duct as the heat builds up inside.

Inside of the chasis of the dryer also gathers lint and creates a fire hazzard. This should be cleaned by a professional on a regular basis. Heavier use of the dryer requires that this process be implemented more often than a lesser used dryer.

When drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile substances such as gasoline or oil, it is strongly suggested that you wash them more than once and remove them immediately once the dryer cycle has ended. It is also suggested that you dry such clothes on a lower heat setting to further avoid the possibility of a fire.

The importance of knowing about cleaning dryer vents and checking often should not be ignored. Be sure to tell everyone you know. You may be saving a life.

Reasons to Hire a Raleigh Dryer Vent Cleaning Service

The proper maintenance of automatic clothes dryers includes keeping the dryer free from lint and debris. The lint can build up inside the vent, the lint trap, and in the vent hose that runs behind the dryer. Many problems can be traced back to the build-up of lint inside the dryer. There are several good reasons to have a dryer vent cleaning performed routinely. One concern is over safety, another efficiency, and finally, appliance longevity.


The accumulation of too much debris in the dryer vent can lead to a fire. Dryer lint is an extremely flammable material that can ignite very easily. Proper maintenance includes keeping the dryer vent cleared of lint. The lint trap should be cleared each time a load is removed from the appliance. Additionally, hiring a professional dryer vent cleaning service adds an extra measure of safety and peace of mind. A qualified service professional will be able to clean the inside of the dryer body as well as the vent. Checking behind the dryer for lint build-up is another step in safely maintaining the dryer.


A dryer that runs with too much lint clogging the vent will not run efficiently. It will take longer to dry each load, consuming far more electricity than is necessary. This can raise the average electric bill by as much as $20 per month. A load of clothes that comes out at the end of a timed cycle still damp, but very hot is an obvious sign of too much lint.

Appliance life

Too much lint build up will cause the dryer to work harder and wear out sooner. A good sign the dryer has too much lint build up occurs when the screen in the lint traps shows no lint after a load is cycled through. A clogged vent will lessen the amount of hot air that passes through the hose, causing the dryer to heat up more than normal. This will make the unit work harder than usual, increasing the likelihood of breakdown and shortening the life of the dryer.

For safety’s sake, a dryer vent cleaning performed regularly by a professional service is well worth the money. In the long run, it will save money by extending the life and the efficiency of the dryer.