I, like many of you forget about routine maintenance around the house...sometimes major things like having the HVAC serviced once a year or smaller things like changing my air filters once a month. One thing that I could almost guarantee is that the average homeowner forgets to have their dryer vent cleaned regularly. Not the removable screen from the machine that collects lint; but the actual vent (duct) going from the back of your dryer leading to the exterior of the home.
Dryer Vent Cleaning
Most people think cleaning the lint from the removable screen does the trick. If you do not even do that you will notice your clothes take longer to dry. If your screen is clear and it is still taking longer to dry your vent (duct) is likely getting clogged with lint and not only will it make your dryer work harder and use more energy, but it is also a fire hazard. Getting it cleaned once a year is probably a prudent idea.
How do you clean a dryer vent?
Our towels were taking a very long time to dry so I went outside to look at the exterior of the home where the vent exits the house above our garage. It was totally clogged....pictures below. Some houses have a very short 2 foot duct running to the exterior of the home...if the laundry room is on an exterior wall. My dryer is in a closet on the second floor on the front side our our home so the duct actually runs about 25 feet or so until it exits above our garage.
I called JNJ Dryer Vent Cleaning from a google search. This company is owned by a local full time Fireman. The inquiry was returned within a day and we scheduled a visit. Pete, also a full time Fireman came out on his day off and took care of the vent quickly. The process involves hooking up a vacuum cleaner/dry-wet vac to the duct behind the dryer and then going to the exterior of the home where the ducts exits the house and putting through a brush with long extensions while twisting it making the lint break off and end up being sucked into the vacuum cleaner. It took about 30 minutes and our clothes dry very quickly now compared to the days before.
Be safe. Do routine maintenance on your home and don't procrastinate, even with smaller items like a dryer vent.
**I actually had my house painted last year and the vent they installed is not one that should be used for a laundry vent as it didn't have enough room for lint to exit....see pics.