Installed properly, dryer vents provide an essential service: transporting lint and moisture from the dryer to the outdoors. However, when they become blocked, they can create several issues for users such as longer drying times, musty odors, or burning smells from their machines.
Common Signs of Potential Dryer Vent Hazards
1. Increased Energy Bills
Lint can quickly accumulate when dryer vents aren’t cleaned regularly, restricting airflow and lengthening drying times – this should be taken seriously as an early warning sign of potential trouble ahead.
While most people take steps to clean out their dryer’s lint trap after each use, this alone may not be sufficient – some lint may still accumulate and could present a serious fire risk over time.
A regular residential dryer vent cleaning can help mitigate this threat. In addition, it’s best to opt for metal ducts with rigid and smooth interior walls as these will reduce fire hazards as well as save money on energy bills.
2. Unpleasant Smells
As your clothes dry, the heat and gasses they generate pass through your dryer vent hose into your home. Over time, however, lint may build up in your vent, restricting its flow of exhaust and gasses and eventually leading to dryer fires; an easily preventable situation that could be avoided by having professional vent cleaning done regularly.
Vent pipes that carry your dryer’s heated air and gases out of your home may become an ideal spot for pests such as mice and birds to nest, leading to unpleasant odors in your house. If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from your dryer after clearing its lint trap, inspect its exterior to check for possible obstructions such as birds nesting.
3. Longer Drying Times
Dryer vents are responsible for many fire outbreaks each year. Ensuring that your dryer vent is free from obstruction and the appropriate length can reduce drying times and damage caused to fabrics, thus helping your clothes dry more quickly and more reliably.
Lint is an extremely flammable substance and the more it accumulates in your dryer ducts, the higher the risk of fire is. While washing clothes in your machine, small bits of fabric break off and become lint which gets drawn back into the exhaust duct where it could potentially start a fire.
Fire can quickly spread throughout your house if the exhaust duct becomes fully blocked, so if your dryer takes longer to finish cycles than usual, check its exhaust duct for signs of blockage.
4. Hot Room Temperature
An improperly functioning dryer vent can cause clothes to reach dangerously high temperatures, creating a fire hazard if accumulated lint isn’t cleared regularly or cleared away by professional cleaners.
Bends and ridges of your dryer vent create more places where dust and lint collect. Metal ductwork that’s rigid and smooth would be preferable over foil or plastic accordion-style ducts as these reduce fire risks significantly.
If your lint traps produce excessive amounts of lint after each use, this may be a telltale sign that your dryer vents need cleaning. An efficient dryer vent design allows heat to escape the room and out; when this system becomes blocked or blocked partially, heat remains inside the laundry room increasing temperature while stimulating mold or mildew growth in the process.
5. Burning Smells
Your dryer vent can easily become filled with lint, providing kindling for house fires if left unsecured. Furthermore, an accumulation of lint can cause your dryer to overheat and eventually stop functioning altogether.
Whenever your dryer starts up and emits an offensive burning smell, this could be a telltale sign of excess lint build-up in the vent pipe, drum casing, or lint trap.
Your best defense against this issue is regular cleaning of both the lint trap and its transition hose, as well as checking that vent louvers on the outside are open and free from lint build-up. Furthermore, crushed or pinched ducts may restrict airflow causing clogs in your dryer vent system; to maintain safe operations contact a professional to inspect and clean it regularly.