Dealing with Frozen Dryer Vents

An estimated 20,000 dryer fires occur throughout the United States each year. Most of these fires are a result of worn or damaged vents that trap dryer lint. The solution for this type of problem is simple: Hire a professional for a thorough service call and cleaning. While having your vents professionally serviced is critical to reducing the risk of fire, doing so can also help stave off issues that occur because of frigid winter temperatures.

A common problem caused by cold weather is a frozen dryer vent. The plastic flaps that lead from your dryer to outside are often unprotected. The purpose of these vents is to release dryer exhaust while keeping cold air from traveling back to your dryer and home. But you have two concerns here: If the flaps don’t close properly, prolonged cold air can lead to ice build-up inside your home and on the outside of the dryer. On the other hand, if they’re frozen shut, harmful carbon dioxide can’t escape and will circulate back into your home.

The simple solution when this happens is to plug in a hair dryer and blow on the frozen area until the ice melts. Long-term, however, your best bet is to have your dryer vent serviced regularly. A trained professional can ensure that your vents are best prepared for the trials of winter. You won’t waste as much energy, your clothes will take less time to dry, and you’ll ensure your family’s safety.

Have you ever suffered from frozen dryer vents? What did you do to solve the problem? When was the last time you had your vents cleaned?