dryer next to clothes basket in home

Commonly Overlooked Signs That It’s Time to Clean Your Dryer Vent

Between 2010 and 2014, fire departments across the country responded to nearly 16,000 home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year, with about 92% of those cases involving the clothes dryer. And even up until that point, the likelihood that the operator was paying unnecessary and exorbitant energy costs was high. If it wasn’t a high energy bill that should have been a clue, perhaps running a previously efficient dryer four or five times now just to get the same amount of clothes somewhat dry should have done it?

Dryer vents should be cleaned annually. If it has been more than a year since the last time you have cleaned your’s or you can’t recall, remediate by removing as much built-up lint as possible from the lint trap, dryer vent hose, and outside dryer vent.

And whether or not you are able to perform the above steps, check for the signs listed below, as it could be an indication that your dryer vent is experiencing a blockage.

Clothes Taking Too Long to Dry

As mentioned above, this can have far-reaching effects, such as increased energy consumption and reduced appliance lifespan. This is typically the first noticeable sign that there is a blockage in the dryer vent.

Dryer is Hot to the Touch

If your dryer is getting hotter than normal during or towards the end of a cycle, it could be indicative of a blocked vent.

Clothes are Unusually Hot to the Touch

This one is directly the result of clogged lint traps. If your clothes are no longer too hot after clearing the lint trap but the dryer still gets unusually hot mid or near-end cycle, this would indicate a clogged dryer vent.

Hot, Humid Air

When the hot air the dryer is expelling has nowhere to go, it is piped back inside the house via the laundry room. This is typically accompanied by a musty odor. A burning smell indicates that some lint has ignited, which means you should stop your dryer immediately.

Flaps/Vents Not Working

While running a dryer cycle, check the outside vents in question to see if they are operational. Hold your hand up flat against the flaps to check for airflow as well. Weak or no airflow would indicate a blockage.

Dryer Turns Off/Displays an Error

Some newer dryers have been fitted with fail-safe technology that will turn it off in the event of a potential catastrophic failure. In this case, they may simply turn off mid-cycle or display an error message. In either case, pending no other potential errors that could arise, it is likely a blocked vent that is preventing that particular dryer from operating.

How FAMCO Can Help

We are one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of HVAC accessories and supplies in the Pacific Northwest. Proper home ventilation and a healthy home environment are important to us. If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to help.

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