When it comes to home safety, dryer vent cleaning is an important service.

Consider yourself warned. This column is a departure from my usual sharing of great places to get great beer and food. It’s about an experience that left an impression on me.

And what was that memorable experience? Well, actually, one that I had very little to do with, other than making a phone call and opening up my garage so John Gregory and his son could gain access to my laundry room,

Specifically to my dryer.

If you are like me, the number of times you think about the buildup of lint in your dryer vent is probably pretty low. I had been reading online about the dangers of over-clogged, never-cleaned dryer vents, and realizing that in the five years I have been privileged to live in beautiful Brunswick County, I became very familiar with the practice of cleaning pollen off my cars, but had never cleaned out my dryer vent.

Oh, both the missus and I are uber-diligent about emptying the built-in lint catcher regularly, even occasionally enjoying the special fascination that comes with peeling off a perfect layer of lint from the screen and watching it float ever so gently into the garbage bin.

Dryer Vent Cleanout

But the disposal of that lint rarely made us consider the amount of that same magical fluff that may have been lining our dryer vent. And apart from the danger of its inflammability, excessive lint could and does negatively impact the efficiency of the appliance itself. Out of sight, out of mind, you know.

So, like a true internet warrior, I did a Google search for dryer vent cleaning, and while there were various places here in Brunswick County that would do the job, I opted for John Gregory and his business called Tidy Vent.

Why? Simple. He posted the price to clean out my vent up front, without any of the give-us-your-vitals folderol that many companies put you through before actually getting in touch with you or — God forbid — giving you a price up front. I also liked the fact that John’s is a ”family-based business.” He had nice pics of his own missus and kids, and, as a family man myself, his pitch just appealed to me. So I sent him an email.

Within two minutes, I had a reply, and within three we had made an appointment for him to come from Shallotte to OIB. Open less than a year, Tidy Vent is John’s side gig, as he has a full-time job. And he allowed that Tidy Vent might be a tidy business to take into retirement when that time comes.

I admire that kind of pluck. And speaking of pluck, he called us in to show us what he had plucked from our system after merely opening the vent to insert the camera. (That’s a neat thing about John’s service: He sends you a video of the vent assembly both before and after the cleaning.)

And it was enough to cause a gag reflex. It was like watching a camera go through someone’s clogged arteries. And the thought struck me: If our dryer vent was that clogged after just a few years, there must be more than a few folks in my development alone who might need a cleaning. Hence, this PSA.

I know you clean the lint off the filter before every drying session, but who gives a second thought to the stuff that is accumulating in your wall? Most of us throw the clothes in the dryer and wait for them to be done.

So let this be my good deed for the month. Check your dryer lint — and not just the one you empty all the time — at least yearly. If you don’t have the know-how or tools to do it, contact a guy like John Gregory at Tidy Vent to come do the job.

Your dryer will probably run better, it will be safer and you will sleep better at night.
And a good night’s sleep entitles you to a celebratory beer or two the next day. (I had to work beer in here somehow!)

Check out Tidy Vent for yourself on Facebook.