How often should a dryer vent be cleaned?
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Regularly cleaning the lint out of your dryer’s lint trap isn’t enough to keep your home safe and energy efficient.
Sometimes, you need to clean beyond the removable trap. There are several signs lint has traveled into your vents, which increases the risk of a house fire and can cause higher than normal utility bills.
1. Clothes take longer than normal to dry.
How long does it take to dry your clothes? If your clothes are still damp after 45 minutes or longer for an average load, then it might be time to call in the professionals. This is often the first sign of lint build up in your vents. It can also significantly increase your utility bills. So, when you go grab your clothes and they’re damp and hot, then consider scheduling your annual vent cleaning.
2. Clothes are unusually hot to the touch.
Ouch! The clothes in your dryer shouldn’t be too hot. The most common reason for a dryer overheating is restricted air flow. The first step is cleaning your lint trap, but if your dryer is still too hot it might mean you have lint in the duct. Check this problem by going outside and seeing if you feel air coming from the vent when the dryer is running.
3. The room is warmer than normal when the dryer is running.
Similar to hot clothes, an extra hot laundry room when you run the dryer could be signs of lint trapped in your system causing the dryer to overheat.
4. You’ve noticed burning smells.
What does your laundry room smell like? A burning smell is a serious symptom of lint stuck in your dryer vent. The most significant issue with dirty dryer vents is the increased fire risk. Lint is flammable, and dryers are hot. It’s a recipe for disaster.
5. The lint flap isn’t opening.
When you’re using your dryer, the lint flap outside should open. If it doesn’t, it could mean you have restricted air flow. That usually means there is lint stuck in the vent.
6. The dryer tells you there’s a problem.
Some more sophisticated dryers might tell you there is a problem. There could be a warning light or an error code informing you the system isn’t working efficiently. If you have this type of message from your dryer, don’t ignore it.
7. The dryer stops working.
Sometimes, a dryer will automatically shut off if it detects too much heat. This could be a safety mechanism built into the dryer. If this happens, try cleaning the dryer vent to see if it solves the problem before you decide to buy a new dryer!
8. It’s been more than a year since cleaning the vent.
Lint will make it into your dryer vent. No matter how diligently you clean your lint filter, it’ll eventually make its way into the vent and start clogging your system. The fire department suggests having your dryer vent cleaned yearly. If you can’t answer the question, “when’s the last you cleaned your dryer vent,” then you should contact us today.