This is a fair question! It makes a lot of sense to understand what can go wrong if you don't have a service performed. So let's take a look at what can go wrong if you do not clean your dryer vent.
Failing to to perform regular dryer vent cleaning causes lint to accumulate within your ductwork to the point that it becomes a fire hazard. But it also causes the following major issues:
It is common for a customer to repair or replace their dryer several times before realizing that the precipitating issue was a dryer vent that needed to be serviced. It's unfortunate, but many times it takes a major issue like this for people to become aware that dryer vent cleaning is essential to maintain.
The worst possibility of all, however, is a house fire due to the lack of dryer vent cleaning. The National Fire Protection Agency estimates roughly 16,000 laundry related home fires each year. A dryer can be replaced, a vent can be repaired...but the people in the house are irreplaceable.
We highly recommend getting on a cleaning plan in order to ensure proper upkeep with your dryer vent system.
It is hard to know what to look for when having a service performed at your home. What should you expect a service professional to address during your next dryer vent cleaning? You want to ensure that you are paying for a job well-done, so should be included in an effective and professional residential dryer vent cleaning? When researching companies make sure that you choose a dryer vent technician that addresses the following areas.
A proper dryer vent cleaning will thoroughly clean out the debris built up around the flexible duct behind the dryer (transition duct), the ductwork traveling through the house (main duct), the flapper area on the exterior (termination cover) and pest guard (if applicable). Pest screens are against code, so make sure you don't have a screen installed as this is a major fire hazard.
Depending upon the cleaning method used by the technician, sometimes the dryer will need to be pulled and sometimes it won't need to (or be able to). This depends on the cleaning, but typically it is best to make sure the dryer is pulled out to ensure as thorough cleaning as possible.
Many companies also clean the dryer duct (the portion of duct sticking out from the back of the dryer), the lint screen and the lint trap as part of their cleaning process. These are all technically parts of the dryer--not the dryer vent--but due to the overlap in the function of venting, it is great to have these cleaned out as well.
Occasionally, a dryer vent technician will also offer the additional service of opening the dryer to clean out the inside the appliance. Many dryer vent technicians leave this as a service to be performed by an appliance repair technician due to the complexity and liability of opening up a dryer. If you do have this performed by a dryer vent technician, be sure that they are experienced, licensed and insured for appliance work in addition to the vent work.
Yes, dryer vent cleaning is crucially important to be performed regularly by a qualified technician! Dryer vent cleaning is necessary to eliminate the flammable lint build up within the vent system. This build up can catch fire and spread throughout the house, restrict your dryer's ability to perform, create blockages leading to water damage and cause premature dryer repair/replacement. Often it is best to get on cleaning plan for service so this important aspect of home maintenance is not neglected.
Most dryer manufacturers recommend "regular cleanings"; the US Fire Administration recommends that you "clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months." Generally, however, a good guideline is to never go more than 1 year between dryer vent cleanings. Here at The Dryer Vent Guys we offer three cleaning plans--6 month, 9 month and 12 month discounts--but you can schedule whatever frequency works best for you.