4 Signs It’s Time to Clean Your Dryer Vents

 In System Maintenance

A clothes dryer is something most people use every day, but how often do you clean your dryer vents? Aside from being less efficient, a dryer that is not functioning properly can become a safety hazard. That’s because a dryer vent that is working properly pushes heat and any debris outward through the dryer ducts to an external vent on the outside of your home. If it is clogged by lint, it cannot ventilate properly, trapping heat and moisture inside.  According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 fires around the United States are caused by clothes dryers every year.

Typically, an annual professional inspection of your dryer vents and ducts is sufficient to keep your dryer in good working order. If you notice any of these four warning signs, however, it may be time to clean your dryer vents now.

1. You notice a burning smell.

Noticing a strange or burning smell, whether on your clothes or in the laundry room, is a big warning sign that you need to clean your dryer vents. Because lint is so flammable, a buildup in your dryer can easily cause small pieces to catch fire. If you notice a burning smell when drying your clothes, shut off the power and immediately contact a technician for assistance.

2. The room is unusually warm.

Is your laundry room feeling a little toastier than usual, but you aren’t running the heater? It might be an issue with your dryer. When the dryer is clogged and not ventilating properly, heat and moisture can’t escape. This can result in your dryer feeling hot to the touch, or the entire area feeling warmer than usual. If you notice excessive heat, it’s time to call a technician to clean your dryer vents.

3. Your laundry is taking longer to dry.

While every dryer is different, you probably know how long your dryer takes to dry a load of clothes. If you notice that it’s taking longer and longer, or you’re having to run multiple cycles, it might be a sign that you need to clean your dryer vents. Because the moisture can’t escape properly, your clothes will likewise remain damp.

4. Your clothes are unusually hot.

Just like with the temperature of your unit itself, a clogged dryer vent that keeps heat trapped inside will also affect the temperature of your clothes. If your laundry feels much hotter to the touch than normal, it might be another warning sign about the state of your dryer vents.

Keeping your dryer vents clean and functional is an important part of keeping your home safe. As an added bonus, it can also save you money over time. Similar to your HVAC system, keeping your dryer well-maintained and functioning can save you money on your energy bills. A dryer that takes twice as long to dry your clothes also takes twice as much energy. Investing in annual maintenance is better for your wallet and for the environment.

To keep lint buildup to a minimum between annual cleanings, you can use a small vacuum to gently clean the inside of your dryer. It might be tempting to skip emptying the lint trap between loads of laundry, but that’s another important step to keep your dryer running safely. It’s also helpful to give your dryer a break between large cycles instead of running several large loads in a row.

Vent issues leaving you high and not-so-dry? The next time the experts at Barineau Heating & Air Conditioning are performing maintenance on your home comfort system, ask if they can take a quick look at your dryer vents and ducts. To learn more about cleaning and inspection, give us a call today at 850.580.4029.

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