Most people have no idea how much lint gets past your dryer's lint trap. The amount is substantial. Over Time your dryer vent pipe becomes coated with dryer lint. If your dryer vent hasn't been cleaned in over a year, you may have a potential fire hazard on your hands. Once the vent becomes restricted your dryer will take longer to dry a load. Lack of airflow will cause your dryer to over heat. If your dryer vent is over eight feet long, your dryer vent should be cleaned annually. Some of the early warning signs of lint blockage include:
- Is the top of your dryer hot to the touch?
- Does your dryer take over 50 minutes to dry a load?
- Do you ever experience a moldy smell on your clothing?
- Is dryer lint gathering on the inside of the dryer door?
- Does it seem like your clothes have extra lint on them?
- Is your house dusty? Dryer lint is almost microscopic and goes everywhere.
Most dryer vents have a flap or a screen located at the exit. This must be cleaned on aregular basis. Where your dryer vent exit's the building is usually the first place dryer lint will gather. It is very important when you have your vent cleaned they address the exit.
Dryer vents come in all different shapes and sizes. The dryer vent itself refers to the exhaust pipe inside the wall. This pipe should be a 4" steel pipe that exits right outside or some times up through the rooftop. Some builder's occasionally use the more rectangular gutter piping, or the flexible metal piping. Both of these can be inefficient. If your home has a foil accordion type material inside your wall, this needs to be replaced immediately. This material is actually flammable, if you ever had a dryer fire it would have no chance of staying contained.
A dryer vent that exits on to a tile roof can pose another potential airflow restriction. Much of the time builders use the same gooseneck type exit as on a standard shingle roof. Unfortunately these vents aren't long enough, and tend to vent right on the tile with very little space. The fix for this problem is to fabricate an extension that raises the vent at least four inches above the tile.
Another common problem is a crushed transition tube. The transition tube is the pipe that connects the dryer to the wall vent. Most of the time delivery people use the foil type transitions because of ease of installation. Unfortunately this material can easily become crushed or restricted. This type of material is actually paper and can ignite. Unlike the all metal venting material that the dryer manufacturers recommend this material is a real fire hazard. (see your owner's manual or the labels on back of the dryer.)
Unfortunately a blocked dryer vent can break your dryer. The two main parts that break, are the element and the thermostat. The excessive heat produced by a blocked vent is a repair waiting to happen. Many of the new high efficiency dryers have warning lights that tell you when your vent needs cleaning. Some of these dryers even lower the temp on their own to keep from overheating.
The best way to test your dryer vent's efficiency is to disconnect the tube from the wall and dry a load of clothes. If your clothes get dry in a reasonable time it's your dryer vent. Over 15,000 dryer related fires occur every year. Most of these fires could have been prevented, with an annual vent cleaning. Don't become a statistic get your dryer vent professionally cleaned today.