What Wisconsin Homeowners Need To Know About Mold Growth in Dryer Vent Lines
Does Mold in Your Dryer Vent Line Pose a Risk to Your Health?
A lint-clogged dryer vent is trouble in more ways than one. Besides causing your dryer to not dry well and increasing the risk of fire, a clogged vent also provides the ideal conditions for mold to grow in the vent and your laundry room.
The typical load of wet clothes in a dryer contains about a gallon of water. The drying process converts this water to steam. If your dryer vent is obstructed, this steam will stay inside your dryer or condense into pools of water inside your vent line. Particles of lint blowing into the vent line mix with the water and form a paste that sticks to the walls of the vent—the perfect setup for mold and mildew to grow. And grow and grow.
A yearly dryer vent cleaning is the best way to ensure your dryer exhausts all the damp air so mold never colonizes your dryer vent line. If you do more than 5 loads of laundry per week, or launder a lot of pet blankets with pet hairs on them, you should consider two vent cleanings per year.
How concerned should you be about mold in your vent line?
Here’s the thing: mold spores are in the air, both indoors and out. Low levels of it aren’t a problem. It’s when mold grows unchecked that it becomes a problem—for both humans and their homes. Besides causing serious structural damage to a house, mold spores can cause a range of health problems, including:
- Congested sinuses
- Irritated eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Throat irritation and coughing
- Skin rashes
- Recurring headaches
- Chronic fatigue
About Black Mold
You’ve probably heard the horror stories about black mold. Officially known as Stachybotrys chartarum, black mold releases spores into the air while it feeds on organic materials in homes that have been exposed to moisture. Drywall, sub-flooring, insulation—they can all be infested.
"Black mold" is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s usually more of a greenish hue than black. With proper precautions, you can clean up small areas of black mold. If you have a large area on your wall (larger than 4’ by 8’) and it’s a greenish-black mold (a likely suspect for “black mold”), it’s a good idea to have a professional remediation service do the work. When the mold has grown to cover this much area, it has likely infested the drywall and the insulation.
How to Clean Up Mold
|An extreme case of mold growth on wall behind a washer and dryer.|
Inside your dryer: Clean the inside of your dryer with a sponge soaked in a mixture of bleach and water (one cup of bleach per gallon of water). You can substitute white vinegar for the bleach if you prefer. When done, leave the door to the dryer open so it can air-dry.
To remove any remaining vinegar or bleach residue and smells, take a small white towel and soak it in cold water with a baking soda mixed in, then put it in your dryer and run it at the lowest setting.
On the wall: The most common place for mold to grow in a laundry room is behind the washer and dryer. Likely culprits are a disconnected transition hose (the short vent line between the dryer and the wall) causing condensation to form drywall or a slow leak from a loose washer hose connection on the back of the washer.
To clean up any mold, you’ll need a scrub brush and a mixture of water and bleach (one cup to a gallon). Wipe down all surfaces well. And while you're at it, make sure your washer hose connections are secure.
Inside your dryer vent: You might think you're saving money by buying one of those DIY vent cleaning kits. Trouble is, they're prone to breaking inside your vent line. The cost of having someone come out and tear apart your drywall and vent line to recover a broken piece of a DIY vent cleaning kit is far more than hiring a professional vent cleaner. Contact Dryer Vent Wizard of Wisconsin for a thorough dryer vent cleaning.
Don’t Let Mold Get a Foothold
Mold doesn’t have feet, of course, but you know what we mean. The best way to keep it at bay is with a yearly dryer vent cleaning, which is also the best way to avoid the risk of a lint clog catching fire and burning down your house.
In Wisconsin, the dryer vent cleaning service to call is Dryer Vent Wizard. We’re the only company in Wisconsin focused solely on dryer vent cleaning. All our technicians have C-DET certification from the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the only nationally recognized dryer vent cleaning certification. As specialists in dryer vents, we also handle dryer vent installation, rerouting and repair.
If it’s been more than a year since your dryer vent was cleaned, or if you don’t even know when it was last cleaned, it’s due for a cleaning. Your dryer will work better, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your vent line isn’t at risk of mold growth or a lint fire.
Contact the Dryer Vent Wizard of Wisconsin Nearest You to Request a Free Estimate on Dryer Vent Cleaning and to Schedule Service:
Northeast Wisconsin: Fond du lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Kewaunee and the Fox Valley Counties. 920-644-3797
North Milwaukee: All locations north of Highway 94 in Dane County, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Dodge counties. 262-757-8368
Southeast Wisconsin: All locations south of Highway 94 in Dane County, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties. 262-312-1991. For property managers and condo associations, call 262-501-5240.