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Signs of Clogged Dryer Ducts

A clogged dryer duct is more than just an inconvenience that impairs the efficiency of your dryer—it’s also a fire hazard!

The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Ducts

According to the National Fire Protection Association in the U.S., dryers and washing machines were the culprits behind one out of 22 fires in U.S. homes between 2006 and 2010. Dryers were by far the most dangerous appliance, causing 92% of those fires. The sad part is that many of those fires were preventable since 32% of clothes dryer fires were caused by a failure to clean the dryer’s ducts, lint traps, and vent.


It’s important to keep your clothes dryer clean. That means cleaning the lint trap after each use and cleaning the lint out of the vent pipe each year. Staying on top of this job can increase the efficiency of your dryer—saving money AND lives.


Signs it’s Time to Clean the Dryer’s Duct and Vent


If your dryer ducts or vents are clogged, you’ll notice a few signs.


The first is if your dryer does not dry your clothes well. If it’s taking your clothes longer to dry, it may be time to stop increasing the timer and bring in someone to inspect your vent duct and the dryer. A blocked vent duct can’t release the moist air from your dryer, which means it stays trapped in the dryer with your clothes. Ignoring this problem also decreases the life of your dryer since it has to run longer to dry each load of clothes.


If you’ve noticed that your dryer and clothes seem to be hotter at the end of a cycle, it may be that the dryer duct is clogged. This will waste energy as the dryer works harder and may even cause the heating element to burn out quicker.


If you notice a burning smell when your clothes dryer runs, it’s time to turn it off and call a laundry appliance repair expert. That burning smell may be the lint that’s caught in the exhaust tube, lint trap, drum casing, or dryer duct.


You may be able to see a clogged dryer duct just by inspecting the vent hood flap outside of the house. If it isn’t opening properly, it’s likely that there’s so much lint building up in the ducts that the air flow has been blocked. If you can actually see lint or other debris around the opening of the vent, it’s definitely time for a cleaning. You need to take care of this problem before the vent duct becomes totally blocked and you risk a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.


Yearly Inspections


It’s easy to let an annual inspection slip through the cracks when your dryer seems to be working well. Given that a blocked duct risks fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s worth hiring an expert to clean the ducts.


If there’s problem with your clothes dryer, don’t ignore it or put off a repair for as long as you can. By taking care of a clogged duct early, you’re saving money by increasing your dryer’s efficiency and, possibly, saving lives.

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