A very common complaint that we receive for clothes dryers is: “It’s barely heating” or “It takes a long time to dry my clothes.” Often, this problem is not the dryer itself. It is caused by poorly run venting or restricted venting between the back of the dryer and the outside of the house. Consumers who are handy can often address this themselves; otherwise, it’s good to contact a professional HVAC contractor.
Improving your dryer vent
Your dryer vent pipe should be made of aluminum. The white vinyl duct that was common several years ago no longer meets most building codes, because if your dryer ignites it, a fire may start in your home. If you have the vinyl venting, please replace it as soon as possible. There were over 15,000 dryer vent fires last year alone.
- The shorter the vent, the better. Do not leave excess vent coiled behind the dryer.
Proper venting will allow your dryer to operate more efficiently and therefore dry your clothing quicker which will cost you less in electricity and extend the life of your dryer and your clothing.
Cleaning your dryer vent
- Check the entire length of the vent pipe for lint buildup at least once a year, or more often if the dryer gets a lot of use. Remove the lint from the duct; don’t just push it back into the dryer or let it clog any part of the vent. You can tackle lint buildup in the duct with a vent brush for cleaning 4″ round vents. These are available at home improvement stores or appliance parts stores.
- Check and clean the lint filter after every drying cycle. If the lint filter has any rips or tears, replace it. If the filter gets clogged by fabric softener residue or any other residue, you can easily clean it with a soft-bristle brush and a little detergent.
- You can also clean the chute, duct, or area that the lint filter fits into. If necessary, use a vacuum cleaner to reach into the duct and clean out any lint. If the lint buildup is severe, it may be necessary to disassemble the dryer and clean out the lint more thoroughly. This is often a job for a qualified appliance repair technician, because there’s a risk of injuring yourself or damaging the machine.