As a homeowner, you understand the importance of changing your air filters, winterizing the sprinkler system, and cleaning out the gutters. But how much time do you spend cleaning your dryer vent? If you’re like the average homeowner, the answer is probably, “not much.”
Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, nearly 15,000 structural fires occur each year as a result of an issue with a clothes dryer, and clogged, dirty dryer vents cause 80% of the fires.
- Clothes are taking much longer than normal to dry. It will often take two or three cycles to dry them. You’ll notice that clothes are not completely dry at the end of a regular cycle. A dryer is designed to push out the hot moist air for clothing to dry. If your vent is blocked by lint, the air will stay in your dryer keeping your clothes hot and moist. And when it takes twice as long to dry clothes, your dryer runs longer, putting more wear and tear on it and therefore cutting the machine’s life in half.
- Clothes have a strange, burning smell to them. This could be a sign that your dryer vent isn’t properly able to ventilate the warm air out of the appliance. Lint, which is very flammable, can build up in the exhaust tube, lint trap and even in the drum casing. If it gets too hot, it can catch on fire, causing a burning smell. (Remember to empty the lint trap often).
- The laundry room feels excessively hot and humid when the dryer is running. Again, this could be a result of a clogged vent that isn’t letting hot air escape.