A dryer vent needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. This helps the dryer operate at peak efficiency and also saves you money on energy bills. However, there is no one size fits all solution. While the general consensus is to have your dryer vent cleaned every 1-3 years, many factors can affect how often you should do it. Our HVAC specialists will explain below.
Signs Your Dryer Vent Needs a Cleaning
The following are some of the most common signs your dryer vent needs a clean:
- Your clothes are taking longer to dry
- Both your clothes and the dryer exterior get very hot
- There is debris around the dryer hose
- The vent hood flap doesn't open properly
- The dryer vent has not been inspected for more than a year
- You notice a burning smell on the clothes
- The laundry room feels hot when the dryer is running
How Often Should You Clean a Dryer Vent?
Many people have come to us to ask, "How often should dryer vents be cleaned?"
The general consensus is every 1-3 years. However, there are various factors that can dictate wether you should clean your dryer vent on the short end of the range or the long end. These include:
- Family size and loads per week
- Total length of the dryer vent system
- Number of bends in the system
- Type, length, and position of the transition vent behind the dryer
- Pet hair or dander present
- Whether the vent or duct joints are screwed or taped together
- Location & type of the outside exhaust outlet
- Brand of laundry detergent used
- Manufacturer’s requirements
- How often you buy new clothes
We'll discuss some of these factors below.
The bigger the family, the bigger the load size, the more often you need to use the dryer. Thus, more lint accumulates. If you have a large family, it's usually a good idea to have your dryer vent cleaned more often to keep your family safe and to reduce energy costs.
Pets & Pet Dander
There is a very good chance that your vents will get clogged if you have pets. If you do, it's a good idea to have your vents cleaned more often to remove the pet dander.
How Often You Buy New Clothes
Believe it or not, new clothes produce more lint than old(er) clothes. If you like updating your wardrobe frequently, it's a good idea to get your dryer vent cleaned more often.
Bulky and heavy items, such as blankets and towels, produce more lint. So, if you're washing items like these consistently, it's a good idea to have your dryer vents cleaned sooner rather than later.
How to Keep Your Dryer Vent Clean
Here are some tips to keep your dryer vent cleaner for longer.
- If you are using dryer sheets, switch to a liquid fabric softener
- Replace flexible vent pipe with a solid vent pipe
- Place the dryer closer to the external wall
- Allow the dryer to cool for at least 15 minutes between loads
But be aware, these aren't fix-all solutions. You should still schedule regular dryer vent cleanings, especially if you fall into one of the categories listed above. The answer to the question of how often to clean your dryer vents can vary depending on a number of factors, and every dryer vent system is different. Despite your best efforts, your dryer vent can still be extremely clogged and dirty, increasing the risk of a dryer fire, so it's important to consult professionals with experience.