Keeping your dryer’s exhaust vent free from debris serves two important purposes. One it keeps the airflow through the vent unobstructed. This smoother airflow means the dryer doesn’t have to work as hard to to dry your clothes. Thus, each load will dry faster and the appliance won’t have to work as hard. Secondly the lint that builds up inside the exhaust vent causes thousands of home fires each year. This fire hazard can be avoided by cleaning the exhaust vent once per year. Here are some signs that it is time to clean your dryer exhaust vent:
- Your clothes are not completely dry after a typical drying cycle.
- Clothing has a musty odor after a complete drying cycle.
- The load is unusually hot to touch after coming out of the dryer.
- The dryer vent hood flap does not properly open during dryer operation as it is designed.
- Visual inspection reveals debris within the outside of the dryer vent opening.
- More lint is accumulating in the lint trap than normal.
Typically we recommend leaving the dryer vent cleaning to the professionals. They have all the proper tools, know all the up to date codes, and have serviced a wide range of setups (probably including yours). Hiring a professional typically costs between $100 and $150, and is worth it in comparison to having your house burn down. If you feel like you can do it yourself, wikiHow has a great step by step guide with photos to walk you through the process.