Dryer Vent Cleaning -
We all know how to clean the dryer lint filter. We should do it after every load to keep the dryer working safely and efficiently. But did you know it doesn’t catch all the lint, and the dryer’s vent system can become clogged with layers of lint over time? Read on to find out why dryer vent cleaning is important and how to tell if you need an inspection. And check out my post “My Process For Dryer Vent Lint Cleaning” to find out how it’s done.
Dryer Safety and efficiency
It’s a slow process, but as the lint accumulates in the duct and restricts the airflow, the dryer can start losing efficiency and overheat. The loss of efficiency costs you in higher energy bills, but it’s the overheating that can really be devastating. Lint is very flammable, and per the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 16,800 fires due to washers and dryers in the United States in 2010.
So how do you tell if your dryer vent is clogged?
1. You find it is taking longer to dry your clothes. A typical load should only take about 45 minutes to dry.
The reason it takes longer is a dryer is designed to exhaust the hot, moist air and replace it with hot dry air. But if the vent is restricted or clogged with layers of lint, less of the hot moist air is pushed out during the normal cycle and more time is needed to fully dry the clothes.
The extra cycle time directly affects your utility bills, and can cause your dryer to overheat, increases wear and tear, and lessens the dryer’s lifespan.
2. You smell something burning when drying.
Dryer lint is very flammable. If you smell burning, stop using your dryer and have it inspected ASAP.
3. You notice your dryer is unusually hot on the outside.
Restricted or clogged dryer ducts cause your dryer to run hotter so your dryer will be very hot to the touch at the end of a normal cycle. Hotter is not better because it’s the airflow that removes the moisture from the clothes.
4. You see lint clogging the outside vent opening.
The dryer exhaust exits your home at the outside vent. Normal dryer airflow should be enough to carry the lint past the vent. If you see lint accumulation here it’s a good bet the vent system needs cleaning.
5. You’ve never had your dryer vent cleaned, or it’s been a while.
It’s wise to have your dryer vent ducts inspected and cleaned annually for safe and efficient operation. Just look at the amount of lint I removed from the home I moved into recently. In this case, removing this lint and optimizing the flexible duct behind the dryer resulted in a 19% increase in airflow through the vent.