9 Signs it’s Time to Clean Your Dryer Vent
The 9 Signs
One: Drying Time Takes Longer than Normal
Sometimes the first sign that your dryer vent is clogged is when it takes longer for your clothes to dry. You may notice that your clothes aren’t completely dry at the end of the regular cycle. A dryer is supposed to push the hot moist air out of your clothes. If your vent is blocked, the air will stay in your dryer keeping your clothes moist.
Two: Your Clothing and the Outside of the Dryer are very Hot
How hot are your clothes? Hotter than normal? How about the outside of your dryer? If you notice that the dryer is burning hotter than normal, this is a pretty obvious sign that your vent is not exhausting properly.
Three: You Notice a Burning Smell
Lint is very flammable. It can build up in the exhaust tube and in the drum casing. If it gets too hot, it can catch on fire, and that might be the smell you’re smelling. If you smell a burning smell, you should quit using your dryer and have it inspected as soon as possible.
Four: The Vent Hood Flap Doesn’t Open Properly
If you see lint or debris around the dryer hose or the outside vent; or your outside duct hood flap doesn’t open as it is designed to do, then it could mean that airflow is being restricted. If you don’t have someone clean this out, then more lint will build up and cause additional problems.
Five: Higher Energy Bills
You hate to see it. But if you are having to run your dryer two or three times just to get your clothes fully dry, you can probably see that your dryer is contributing to two or three times more than it normally would.
Six: Clothes Aren’t Lasting
When your dryer takes longer to dry your clothes, then those clothes are in the dryer much longer. This causes more wear and tear on your clothes, which shortens their lifespan. Also, when the lines are clogged, the heat has to go somewhere. So it goes back into the dryer and into your clothes.
Seven: You Have Critters Nesting
This one piggybacks off of #4. If you have too much lint buildup in your dryer vent, the duct hood flap won’t close properly. This is a common entry point for our favorite critters like Mr. Mouse, Mrs. Bird, and their neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Snakes.
If this gives you the creeps as much as it does me, then you should be especially mindful of your outside flap during the colder months. Imagine being a small critter walking through the yard when a warm, open door presents itself to you. No B&E laws in the wild.
Eight: Your Laundry Room is Hotter than Normal
Running your dryer over and over, plus the hot air being recycled back into your dryer, can cause the heat to leak into your laundry room. As I mentioned, the hot air has to go somewhere and a lot of times it just leaks into the room.
Nine: It’s been Longer than a Year since Your Last Inspection
Your dryer vents should be inspected every year. This can help give you peace of mind for your safety. But it will also give you an idea for how your dryer is holding up. You should have your dryer cleaned each year too. If you use your dryer more than a few times a week you may want to have it checked out and cleaned more than once a year.
Here are a few things that may encourage more frequent cleanings:
- Family Size – the more loads you wash, the more you’ll need to clean
- Pets – pet hair and fur can cause your vents to get clogged quicker than pet-free homes
- Types of Laundry – towels, blankets, and fleece clothing are bulkier and can cause your dryer vents to clog quicker.
- Frequency of buying new clothes – new clothes produce more lint than your older clothes that have been washed several times.