You keep your laundry room relatively tidy, but admittedly, you don’t pay as much attention to the dryer vent as you should. That is until you heard a neighbor say you can save energy by cleaning the vent.
But, is it true?
This article will tell you everything you need to know about dryer vents and how they relate to energy savings. That includes a section on how to unclog your dryer vent, so make sure you check it out!
Table of Contents
- Will Unclogging Your Dryer Vent Save Energy?
- How Much Money Can You Save by Unclogging Your Dryer Vent?
- 6 Benefits to Inspire You to Unclog Your Dryer Vent
- Lower Risk of a House Fire
- How to Unclog a Dryer Vent
Will Unclogging Your Dryer Vent Save Energy?
Unclogging your dryer vent only once per year can shave your annual energy bill spending by about $20. Clearing the vent will also improve your dryer’s efficiency and performance, reduce allergens, and lessen your risk of a house fire.
The average dryer run cycle needs 225 watt-hours, which translates to 2.25 kilowatt-hours. If you were to use your dryer every day for an entire year, the dryer would cost you $100.93 in utility bills.
By unclogging the dryer vent once a year and changing nothing else about your setup, your dryer won’t have to work as hard, which can shave down your spending on dryer utility fees.
How Much Money Can You Save by Unclogging Your Dryer Vent?
When we say lower energy bills, exactly how low are we talking about?
Per year, you could save between $5-$20 on your energy bills by unclogging the dryer vent.
6 Benefits to Inspire You to Unclog Your Dryer Vent
If the thought of saving money on your yearly energy bill isn’t enough to motivate you, then the following benefits of a clean dryer vent surely should be!
Did you know that in dryers with a clogged vent, it takes twice as long as an unclogged dryer to dry a standard load of clothes? All that time that your dryer is running is highly inconvenient.
For one, it’s increasing the dryer’s run time, which means you’re looking at higher energy bills at the end of the month. On top of that, it also makes laundry day highly inefficient.
You wait so much longer for your clothes to dry than you do to wash them that laundry day turns into laundry night and perhaps even laundry day, part two. Once you clean your dryer vent, you’ll notice that you’re not waiting nearly as long for your clothes to dry anymore, even if drying them on the same settings as always.
Lengthens Dryer Lifespan
Another inconvenience associated with your dryer taking twice the average time to dry your clothes is that it means your dryer is working harder.
Imagine a clogged plumbing pipe—you’re getting just a trickle of water because the line is so backed up, right?
Your dryer vents are so full of laundry lint that the dryer can barely get through an average load. In addition, the prolonged strain on your dryer will often cause it to fail.
The average lifespan of a dryer is between 10 and 13 years. So if yours is five years old or under and it’s already needed several serious repairs, it’s time to clean the dryer vent.
After all, an electric dryer with stainless steel features can cost upwards of $1,750, so it’s not exactly convenient to have to buy another one.
Whether your dryer is electric or not, humidity exits the vent system as it produces heat to dry your clothes. Well, humidity is supposed to exit the vent system, but that can’t happen to the full extent when your vents are backed up.
That means the humidity can enter your basement, especially when you open your dryer to take out your clean clothes. If you notice that the clothes feel damp and the dryer is steamy, those are surefire signs that your dryer is pumping out too much humidity.
Humidity is dangerous in your home, especially if it can’t exit the rooms. A damp, humid environment like a basement – the location of many laundry rooms – can quickly become a hotbed for mold.
Once you clean your dryer vents, humidity from your dryer will safely have a place to exit.
Could Prolong Your Favorite Clothes’ Lifespan
The dryer, although necessary, isn’t always friendly to your clothes.
It can twist and tangle them as your garments get ensnarled during the dry cycle. As a result, shrinkage can occur, especially if you have to run your dryer over and over.
When your dryer dries your garments the first time, they spend less time spinning violently around, which prolongs them.
Lessens the Spread of Allergens
Do you know what’s primarily in your clogged dryer vents? Dryer lint, sure—but also dust.
The stuff is all stuck in the vent, where it can spread throughout the entire house, contaminating the air.
Breathing in unclean air can be horrible for allergy and asthma sufferers. Even if you have healthy lungs, if you breathe dirty air for long enough, you could develop a runny nose, watery eyes, a cough, and possibly headaches.
That should be a huge motivator to get your dryer vents cleaned!
Lower Risk of a House Fire
We saved the most significant benefit of unclogging your dryer vent for last.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, every year, 2,900 house fires are started by clothes dryers. Up to 34% of those fires are from dirty or clogged dryer vents.
Those thousands of fires led to $35 million in property losses, hundreds of injuries, and roughly five deaths yearly.
You don’t want to become another statistic! Get your dryer vent cleaned.
How to Unclog a Dryer Vent
You don’t have to unclog your dryer vent personally, as you can always hire the pros to do it. However, you’d spend anywhere from $60 to $275 for the service.
If you want to proceed with a DIY dryer vent cleaning, here’s how to do it.
First, grab these supplies:
- Power drill
- Dryer duct cleaning kit
- Duct or electrical tape
- Vacuum and hose attachment
Then conduct the following steps.
Step 1: Disconnect the Dryer and the Duct
You don’t want to work while your dryer is still powered on, which could lead to electrical shocks.
To turn off the dryer, reach behind it and feel for a plug on the wall. Then, unplug the dryer.
If yours is a gas dryer, you’ll also have to twist the gas valve into the off position and unplug the dryer.
Next, separate the dryer duct from the dryer, which is around the back.
Step 2: Use the Vacuum on the Dryer Duct
Now it’s time to get cleaning. Plug in your vacuum cleaner, connect the hose attachment and turn it on.
First, run the hose attachment around the perimeter of the vent entrance, then reach as deep as you can and vacuum inside the vent.
You won’t be able to get everything with this method, but that’s okay.
Step 3: Use the Dryer Duct Cleaning Kit
Remember the dryer duct cleaning kit you’re supposed to have? That will include a tool that allows you to reach at least 12 feet within a dryer duct.
The kit will include a series of flexible rods that hook into one another. Using your duct or electrical tape around each connection point is best.
If one of the rods falls out while you’re feeding it into the dryer duct, you can’t exactly get it.
Step 4: Use a Power Drill
If you still don’t feel like you’ve gotten all the lint and dust out – which may very well be the case if you’ve never cleaned the vent before – you can take things one step further.
Pull out the attached dryer duct cleaning kit rods. Next, take your power drill, and tape the rotating brush that’s included with the kit onto it.
Carefully turn on the drill and watch as the brush spins—you only need the drill on medium speed for this.
Insert the whole setup as far as you can, and the brush will do its thing, dislodging dust and stuck lint. Only allow the drill to spin the brush clockwise, or the whole setup could fall apart on you.
Step 5: Reattach Everything
Your dryer vent should be completely free and clear of all dust and debris.
Reattach the vent and plug in your dryer when you’re pleased with your work. Then, the next time you run it, things will go very differently!
Unclogging your dryer vent can save you money on energy bills, keep your family breathing in clean air, reduce the risk of mold, and prevent catastrophic house fires.
We hope you’re now inspired to clean your dryer vents today!