A clothes dryer blows hot air in the dryer drum, evaporating the water in the clothes and sending water vapor and lint particles through the dryer vent. These lint particles need to be cleaned out periodically, as lint buildup can lead to house fires. However, since the dryer vent is usually out of sight, many homeowners forget that they need regular cleaning.
There are many warning signs of a clogged dryer vent. Longer drying times indicate that the airflow in the dryer is restricted and that the vent needs to be cleaned. If no lint is on the screen after a drying cycle, this may indicate that the lint is collecting on the side of the vent or on the back of the dryer drum. If the dryer is hot to the touch, or if clothes are extremely hot after a drying cycle, there may be an obstruction in the vent that is causing a ventilation problem. If homeowners experience these issues, it may be time to contact a professional for an assessment.
Experts suggest that dryer vents be cleaned annually. The cleaning service includes a visual inspection, removal of any clogs, and cleaning of the lint trap. For further dryer maintenance, experts also suggest clearing the area around the dryer, removing lint from the trap after every cycle, and not overloading the dryer.