Is it time to clean your dryer ducts? – Home Maintenance Tips

As a design build remodeling contractor serving the Virginia, Maryland and DC area, we like to help our clients with home maintenance ideas.  Here are some tips on cleaning your dryer ducts.

Properly cleaned dryer ducts and vents improve the safety and efficiency of your gas or electric dryer installation. If not cleaned properly on a regular basis, dryer vents may become clogged with lint, debris or even animal nests.

In addition to increasing drying time and energy consumption, neglected vents can pose a costly safety hazard. Some of the potential problems include the dryer overheating, a fire due to heat build up, or even poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) fumes leaking into the house in the case of gas dryers.Clean Dryer Ducts


Dryer ducts typically need to be cleaned about twice a year, sometimes more if your household does an excessive amount of laundry. Dryer duct cleaning is fairly simple to do and many homeowners do it themselves. Others, who have dust allergies, might consider hiring a duct cleaning professional to do the job for them.


Homeowners who choose to do dryer duct cleaning themselves can benefit from following a few simple steps:

  • Check the lint trap in your dryer and clean it thoroughly after every use.
  • Before working on a dryer, turn off the gas (if needed) and disconnect the machine’s electrical power. (You will have to re-light the pilot later if your dryer has one).
  • Check the dryer’s vent cap where the dryer blows outside the house. It may be blocked with lint, bits of paper, leaves or a bird’s nest. Clean away any debris.
  • Pull your dryer out from the wall.
  • Disconnect the flexible air duct hose from the back of the dryer and clean out any visible lint.
  • Further clean the duct by inserting a wet/dry vacuum wand as far into the duct as you can.
  • If you don’t have a wet/dry vacuum, you might try blowing out the vent by holding a leaf blower at the open end or very carefully using a clothes hanger with a hooked end.
  • Repeat this process on the other end of the duct.
  • Then reconnect the ducts, and restore power as needed.

Many people do not realize how important dryer duct cleaning is until it’s too late. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – maybe two pounds when it comes to protecting your home and family.