Just the same as a washing machine, dryers play a critical role in the households that use them.
Still, many homeowners often overlook the importance of keeping the vents for those dryers in good condition, leading to more significant problems later.
Dryer vents are crucial because they allow the dryer’s heat and moisture to safely exit the house. Over time, a lack of maintenance could create dryer vent problems that will cost you money to fix.
But before you go calling a dryer vent repair technician, keep on reading this article.
Here, we’re going to explore everything you need to understand about dryer vents so that you can make better-informed decisions when calling a technician.
Plus, we’ll even look at a few things you can do to keep those vents in good working order.
Let’s get started.
Common Vent Problems
One of the best ways to understand the importance of keeping your dryer vents in good shape is to explore a few common vent problems. They include mould and mildew growth, restricted airflow, and overheating and fires.
Mould and Mildew
Mould and mildew love to grow in warm places and have plenty of moisture, and there’s no better place to get both than the vent of a dryer.
Why? Well, that’s because the primary function is to remove moisture from the clothes that you load inside of it.
Sure, all of that moisture and heat gets pushed out through the vents while the machine is on, but what happens when it’s not?
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When you’re not using your dryer, their vents have very little ventilation.
That’s why moisture will still linger in there and encourage mould and mildew growth not only in the vent but also around the machine in your laundry room!
A dryer vent is only as good as the airflow that goes through it. Over time, airflow can get restricted by lint, dirt, debris, and anything else that may find its way inside.
Plus, there’s a chance you might not notice if your dryer vent gets kinked or blocked, especially flexible ducts that are much more pliable.
When airflow is restricted, that can cause several problems. For starters, your dryer won’t be as efficient as it usually is.
The appliance will end up using more energy to do the same job, and that’ll drive up your power bill!
Restricted airflow can also lead to more severe problems like overheating and fires.
Overheating and Fires
Dryers generate a lot of heat, and all of that needs to go somewhere. By right, heat should travel through the dryer vent and exit the house safely.
That’s not easy to do if the vent is blocked, kinked, or hot air can’t move through for whatever reason.
Unfortunately, that problem becomes dangerous when you consider how much lint and other flammable materials may also be trapped in the vent at the same time.
That’s why a significant number of house fires tend to be caused by dryers with blocked vents.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Dryer Vent?
Yes, that’s a very broad price range, but it’ll make sense in a minute. Let’s look at the factors that determine how much it’ll cost to replace your dryer vent.
Cost And Quality Of The Kit
The final cost to replace a dryer vent begins with how much the actual replacement kit will cost.
Do a quick search online, and you’ll see that there’s no shortage of brands offering dryer vent replacements.
They can range from low-quality options that cost next to nothing, all the way up to professional brands that’ll last a lifetime but cost you an arm and a leg.
Manufactures these days also make dryer vents using several types of materials.
Typically, you can find PVC or metal dryer vents, some of which are rigid while others are flexible.
Which one you choose will depend on your needs.
For instance, tight spaces might call for a PVC option. However, some buyers may go with a fixed metal dryer vent that looks better, especially if you’re placing it on the home’s exterior.
Any Other Modifications
Depending on your home’s layout and your laundry room’s location, you may have to make some modifications to allow for a new dryer vent.
Perhaps you’ll want to mount it a certain way along the walls, or if maybe there are holes that need to be drilled to mount your new vents.
Any of these will factor into the final cost of replacing your dryer vent.
Unless you decide to make it your next DIY project, you’ll also have to pay labor costs for someone to replace your dryer vent.
Remember: not all labor costs are the same.
A random handyman may charge you a lot less, though the quality of the work is uncertain. On the other hand, a qualified HVAC technician will charge more, but they’ll know the best ways to get the job done.
Can You Clean Dryer Vent By Yourself?
Yes, you can clean your dryer vent, and you should do it regularly. The simplest way to remember is to set a fixed schedule to clean your dryer vent, perhaps once in 6-12 months.
Cleaning your dryer vent is crucial for both the optimal usage of your dryer and the safety and hygiene of the home.
As discussed earlier, dryer vents are hot and humid. All of that heat and moisture make the dryer vent a very attractive place for mold and mildew to grow over time.
Once they have, the vent will spread all of those spores everywhere each time you use your dryer.
Besides that, lint, dust, and other debris tend to cause buildups inside dryer vents.
The more significant those buildups are, the less air will flow through the vents efficiently. That can lead to several problems, including a dryer that overheats and buildups that catch on fire.
How To Clean A Dryer Vent
Thankfully, cleaning a dryer vent is a very straightforward process. First, you’ll need to disconnect the dryer vent at both ends.
That’ll make it much easier to access the interior of the vent for cleaning purposes.
Next, you’ll want to vacuum out any large dirt or debris that may have gotten caught inside the vent. Take your time and be thorough in making sure that you don’t miss anything.
Lastly, you’ll want to use a brush to remove any remaining lint or dust inside the vent.
Once you’re convinced that the dryer vent is clean enough, reconnect it at both ends, and you’re done!
Here’s a bonus tip: don’t forget to clean out the filters in your washing machine and dryer, too.
Those filters will help to reduce the overall amount of lint and small debris in your laundry, which means that even less will find its way out the dryer vent as well!
How Often Should You Replace Your Dryer Vent Hose?
You don’t have to replace your dryer vent hose very often. That is, of course, assuming that you clean and maintain your dryer vents regularly. Still, you should inspect the entire length of your dryer vent hose at least once a month.
You should replace that vent hose immediately if you notice the following:
- If you have a flexible dryer vent hose made of thin foil or plastic.
- If there’s any sagging along with the dryer vent hose, creating too many bends or turns along the way.
- If the airflow at the vent’s exit is very low.
- If you ever notice your dryer overheating.
Suppose you notice any of the symptoms above. If that’s the case, then you should replace your dryer vent hose immediately, even before you use the dryer again.
That’s right! Do not use the dryer until you are sure that you have a fully-functioning dryer vent hose.
That way, you can rest assured that the dryer will work perfectly fine without posing unnecessary risks to your household.
Can You Put Duct Tape On A Dryer Vent?
No, you should not put duct tape on a dryer vent.
Let’s suppose that you notice a small hole or tear in your dryer vent. Like most homeowners, it’s understandable that you’d think using good ‘ol duct tape will solve the problem quickly. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Duct tape is handy in most cases, but a dryer vent is a different creature entirely.
Remember: dryer vents carry loads of moisture and heat through them.
That’s a significant problem because duct tape isn’t built for that.
When exposed to extreme temperatures and humidity, duct tape will come undone, leaving you with a bigger problem than the one you had before.
Worse yet, some kinds of tape are also at risk of catching fire when exposed to high temperatures!
So, the only acceptable tape you should use is a foil-backed tape when it comes to dryer vents. Not only will it cover the hole or tear, but it’ll also keep it airtight and stay there despite any changes in temperature within the dryer vent.
Is A Flexible Dryer Vent Safe?
Even though you’re able to get flexible dryer vents at a low price and at almost any hardware store, you should not be using them. The reason is simple: flexible dryer vents can be very unsafe.
For starters, flexible dryer vents are typically made of foil and lack any rigidity.
For that reason, they can very easily get kinked or crushed without anyone in the household realising it.
When that happens, airflow is obstructed, and the vent can overheat very quickly.
That danger is multiplied as a result of the flexible dryer vent’s interior walls.
Quite often, you’ll find that these flexible dryer vents are accordion-shaped.
With all those many folds in the vent walls, lint and other flammable debris can very quickly build up on the inside.
When combined with the risk of overheating, there is a very significant risk of a fire starting from the dryer vent.
With that said, you can still find safer types of flexible dryer vents on the market these days.
Those products are built according to strict industry standards to reduce the risk of overheating and fires. Still, they’ll never be as good as conventional, rigid dryer vents.
So, if you can afford it, you should always opt for more rigid types of dryer events. These will make your dryer more efficient while also reducing the risk of overheating or fire.