Cleaning your lint trap after every drying cycle won’t completely prevent buildup in your dryer vent. As air moves through the vent, small amounts of lint and debris can enter that air. This amount of dry lint builds up over time and can be a serious fire hazard. Proper upkeep of the dryer vent and the appliance can help it last longer and save you money on your energy bills. You should clean the dryer vent once a year, or one of these warning signs will let you know it’s been too long.
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Over time, you may notice your dryer needs more time to dry or clothes still feel damp when you pull them out of their usual cycle. This dampness is a sign that the dryer is operating less efficiently. The inefficiency is likely caused by buildup in the dryer vent that is slowing, or even stopping, the air flow and keeping the dryer from operating at its best.
Clothes Feel Hotter Than They Should
The dryer vent serves as an important part of the air cycle in the dryer. Fresh air is continuously added, with the hot moist air exiting through the vent. When lint clogs the vent, the hot air has nowhere to go, and the heat continues to increase in the dryer. As a result, your clothes may feel hot even if you have selected a medium heat setting. Cleaning the vent allows the air to circulate, and control the temperature, properly.
Musty Odor on Clothing
Similar to the hot clothes situation mentioned above, your clothes may feel damp if air in the vent is not circulating properly. The dryer dries clothes by using both air and heat. The heat evaporates the moisture, and the air absorbs the moisture before being pulled through the dryer vent. If you don’t clean your vent, the moisture-filled air has nowhere to go and makes the dryer a humid and musty environment.
Excess Lint on Dry Clothes
Your dryer’s lint trap does part of the job of grabbing all the lint that the dry cycle creates. Still, some lint can stay and be pulled out the dryer vent with the air flow. Over time, when lint buildup clogs your dryer vent, air has a harder time moving through the vent, and the lint remains in the machine with your clothes.
Vent Hood Flap Doesn’t Open
The vent hood flap, the vent opening on the exterior of the house, should stay open when the dryer is on. If you notice the flap isn’t opening, or you see some lint poking through, clean the vent. The protruding lint and flap malfunction are due to lint accumulating in the vent.
Cleaning the dryer vent is best done by a professional who can do the most thorough job by getting into all the necessary but hard-to-reach places. Scheduling an annual dryer vent cleaning will prevent these problems and remove potential fire hazards so that you can use your clothes dryer safely.