We’ve all heard how dryer vent screens come with a multitude of benefits and already have them installed to keep out birds, rodents and to stop the air outside from flowing back inside.
However, there is a grim fact that surrounds dryer vent screens, and not too many of us are aware of this. In this article, we will discuss the dangers of dryer vent screens and how you should remove them to avert the hazards.
Let’s get started!
When was the last time you cleaned your dryer vent screen? Most probably, this could be the least of your priorities when doing a general clean-up of your house.
Unfortunately, lint is among the leading causes of dryer fires in a home occurring due to accumulation over time. Lint is a clump of cloth fibers that comes from the laundry during the drying process. When your dryer is functioning, damp air escapes carrying lint from the clothes.
As the damp air leaves the dryer, it condenses on the sides of the vent, and subsequently, lint sticks to the wet surface. The screen on the extended end of the vent can get clogged by a lint plug. As lint builds up, this can be a safety hazard that can cause a fire.
What Are Dryer Vent Screens?
Dryer vent screens are covers that you install on one end of the vent outlet.
Typically, these sit on the lint trap and area point of contact with lint as it escapes.
Their main role is to prevent air, rodents, and birds from getting into the ductwork.
Normally, these consist of a wire mesh construction but can also be somewhat like a cage.
For most homeowners, it may appear like a well-thought idea of keeping cold air and rodents at bay, but they are a potential safety hazard. Your dryer vent outlet should not have any obstruction that can lead to lint accumulation.
Problem With Dryer Vent Screens
Screens are actually not recommended for dryer vents because they can potentially block lint from escaping.
It’s vital to detach dryer vents screens because lint can cause house fires, endangering lives and causing property loss.
Screens can also interfere with proper airflow, which can lengthen the drying process and increase your electricity consumption.
In addition, it can shorten your dryer’s lifespan since it will struggle to work, thereby increasing the wear and tear of parts. For safety protocol adherence and dryer efficiency, dryer vent screens should be cleaned every time after a drying cycle. If not, you can remove them altogether in a simple process. In this discussion, we shall explore in detail what they are and how to remove them.
How To Remove A Dryer Vent Screen
Unless you regularly inspect your external dryer duct, you should refrain from installing a screen. Quite often, the duct exits at the wall, and only on rare occasions does it extend to the roof.
If your ductwork has a screen at the end, it’s imperative to have it removed. Mostly, it’s a simple task that you can do yourself by using available tools.
You will need the following materials to get started;
- A screwdriver
- Lint brush
- Safety equipment such as gloves and goggles
After gathering the materials, disconnect the dryer from the electric connection
After that, go outside and remove the ductwork cover. You can use the screwdriver to loosen the bolts. Next, pull the dryer vent screen.
Then, clean the lint opening using the lint brush. Be sure to extend it further down to remove lint that may be trapped inside.
For the lint brush, We recommend the Smart House Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit which comes with everything that you need to clean the ductwork.
The best part is that it has a flexible nylon brush with a drill attachment for quick clean-up.
I also like that the brush has a long handle and can navigate even tight corners inside the duct while slithering around turns and bends effortlessly.
If there is excess lint, you will need to attach a power drill to the lint brush. Alternatively, you can use a vacuum machine to blow off the lint.
After cleaning, return the vent cover and tighten it with screws.
Finally, reconnect the dryer to the electric connection and test whether air flows freely via the ductwork.
- Your dryer vent should not have an enclosure unless you plan on cleaning the vent screen every time your dryer is functioning.
- Whereas it may be logistically impossible to do this, the best thing is to remove the vent screen to provide a free escape for air.
- When removing the dryer vent screen, ensure you clean the ductwork to eliminate any lint that may have accumulated over time.
- Clean ductwork improves your dryer efficiency and helps bring down the cost of electricity.
- If you can’t access the dryer outlet on the external wall, you can contact professionals to do the job perfectly.
From the discussion, it’s evident that dryer vent screens can hinder the proper flow of hot air from the dryer if they become clogged with lint. In addition, lint can cause fire and endanger you and your family. Your dryer will perform more efficiently if you empty the screen after every cycle. However, if this is not possible, the best option would be to remove it.