The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that dryer vents be cleaned at least once a year to keep homes and families safe from the risk of a home fire. How often you clean the dryer vent depends on your clothes washing habits. Lucy Congress, who writes for home improvement professional Bob Vila, suggests that this cleaning should be done annually. If you have to frequently wash a lot of clothes, the lint will accumulate more quickly.
The Fire Administration recommends cleaning the ventilation grille every three months. As a general rule, it is best to have your dryer's exhaust vents inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once a year. However, if you have a household that uses the dryer frequently, such as one with many children, it is wise to consider increasing that amount to every six months. When having your dryer vent professionally cleaned, the technician will thoroughly clean the entire vent pipe and install protectors to keep pests and birds away.
Shannon Antinori, who writes for Angie's List, explains that dryers with obstructed vents won't work as efficiently, leading to an increase in the electricity bill. This can also become a fire hazard for the same reasons as lint buildup, giving homeowners another reason not to ignore cleaning the ventilation grilles. Cleaning the lint trap alone is not enough to prevent a fire, as excess lint can still reach the ventilation grille. Most homeowners diligently clean their dryer's lint filter before placing a new load of laundry.
Trying to clean a vent on your own can sometimes make clogs even worse if the brush isn't long enough to clear the entire length of the hose or duct. If you try to clean the ventilation grille yourself, you could miss a stain or accidentally compact the lint, compounding the problem and giving you a false sense of security. The main contributing factor to household fires related to clothes dryers was lack of cleaning, which caused a third (33%) of dryer fires. To help extend the life of your dryer and protect your family, it is essential to clean the dryer's exhaust gases regularly. To ensure that your home is safe from fire hazards caused by lint buildup in your dryer vent, it is best to have it professionally cleaned at least once a year - or more often if you have a large family or frequently wash large loads of laundry.