Warning Signs of Dryer Vent Clogs
While every dryer vent system is different, without regular thorough cleaning, most will exhibit the same warning signs of a clogged vent. Appliance Cowboys encourages residents to watch for the following warning signs that indicate a hazardous clogged dryer vent.
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- Long Drying Times: A longer drying cycle is usually a straightforward sign that airflow is restricted in the dryer vent line, resulting in trapped moisture in the dryer and, therefore, more time needed to dry clothing fully. Restricted dryer vent airflow is caused by clogs or obstructions in the dryer vent line.
- Hot Clothes, Hot Dryer: When a vent line is obstructed, moisture and heat build up in the dryer, resulting in a hot appliance and/or clothing. This is not only dangerous because of the increased risk of fire, but it can also cause excessive wear to the appliance itself and your clothing.
- Overheat Shutoff: If your dryer is getting too hot due to trapped heat and moisture because of a log or blockage in the vent line, the machine may turn off mid-cycle. This fail-safe is the dryer manufacturer’s final effort to prevent a dryer fire, and should be taken as a sign that immediate service is needed.
- Moldy or Mildewy Smell: Another issue that arises from trapped heat and moisture in the dryer is mold and mildew growth. Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas, and if heat and moisture are not properly vented from your laundry area, mold and mildew may begin to grow in your dryer, dryer vents, on clothing, and in and around the laundry area.
- Excess Lint: While keeping a clean lint trap may help prevent buildups and clogs, an annual dryer vent cleaning is still necessary in order to keep a safe and efficient dryer vent system. Lint that should be pushed through the vent line may build up instead due to the use of unsuitable ventilation materials, improper installation, or nests and other debris in the line that can accumulate lint passing through. When an obstruction forms in the vent line, lint begins to collect in spaces throughout the system and laundry area.
- Lint Behind Dryer and In Door Seal: Lint that is forced into and behind the dryer near the machine components is a significant fire hazard and should be removed immediately.
- Lint on Clothing: When your clothes come out of the dryer with lint on them, it is likely that lint is being trapped in the dryer with nowhere to go but on your clothes due to a dryer vent clog.
- No Lint on Lint Trap/Lint Screen: If you find no lint on the lint trap, or lint on the wrong side of the screen, an obstruction is most likely causing a backup of lint in your machine. Back pressure and a buildup of heat and lint in the machine can easily result in a dryer fire.
- Excess Pet Hair: If you share your home with a furry friend, their hair may produce an added fire hazard. Dryer vent systems in homes with pets tend to clog more quickly and carry more debris that can cause a dryer fire, meaning you may want to consider an inspection or cleaning more frequently than the recommended one time per year.