A dryer needs a place to vent. Here’s why you should listen and what you can do to help.
“My clothes aren’t drying.”
“It’s not getting hot enough.”
“My clothes are coming out damp.”
“I think the element might be going out.”
“The door is dripping wet when I open it?!?!?!”
The most important part of your dryer is not even part of the dryer. It’s the exhaust vent. That doesn’t mean JUST the stuff snakely-crammed in-behind the back of the dryer and the wall. It’s everything from your dryer, to the wall, and through the house, to the vent cap on the outside of the home. Your dryer vent is the most critical part of the drying process.
Make it short and simple.
The vent needs to be as short as possible, with as few bends, twists, and elbows as possible. The quicker the dryer can expel the moisture from your clothes, the quicker they will dry. This will save you money on utilities and reduces the stress on your dryer, which may save you a repair bill or two.
What if it’s not short and simple?
I understand you do not have x-ray vision and can’t see inside your walls and under your floors to locate your vent duct, but you must know where your vent goes and where the vent terminates, usually to a vent duct outside your home, sometimes even on your roof.
Or it doesn’t terminate at all, because it hasn’t been maintained, and now it’s blowing moisture and lint underneath your home. This can lead to mold or even structural damage. I’ve seen customers buy brand new dryers in hopes drying performance would improve, but….
A dryer works only as well as the dryer vent.
Keep It Clean.
NO GARDEN HOSES. NO LEAF BLOWERS.
First, let’s find the right tool. The proper tool is a 4-inch dryer vent cleaning brush. Here’s some examples. Don’t go out a buy a power drill if you don’t have one. Just use your hands and manually use the vent brush.
- LintEater Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit
- LintEater Dryer Vent Cleaning System
- Deflecto Dryer Duct Cleaning Kit
- Holikme 25 Feet Dryer Vent Cleaning Brush
Why no leaf blowers or hosepipes? Look above at the image of the rooftop vent cap. Do you see how the lint is pasted and stuck to the walls of the vent? This requires a vent brush to loosen and scrape the lint from the walls so it can be blown out of the vent.
The inside of the dryer vent should be dry and clean. When lint mixes with moisture, it becomes a heavy paste, like lint mud.
- Estimate the length of the vent
- Locate the vent duct on the exterior of the home
- Insert the vent brush from the outside, with the dryer running. Start brushing, going in and out with one vent rod at a time, and adding a vent rod once that section is cleaned to extend the vent brush deeper into the dryer vent.
- The velocity of the exhaust should have force behind it. If you cover the vent with your hand, you should hear and feel the air trying to squeeze through your fingers.
Brush kit tips:
NOTE: If something catches or twists or binds, stop. The rods will break. It’s no fun to waste $50 or more on a tool, only to have it break inside the vent, causing you to take the vent apart to remove it…which then gives you a convenient moment to clean the vent sections you removed.
NOTE NOTE: PVC and plastic vents may hold water and are not recommended dryer vent material. Flexible vents may not be able to be cleaned, as they may rip or bind in the cleaning process. The best and easiest type of vent to use/clean is either rigid or solid aluminum.
NOTE NOTE NOTE: Wear gloves, long sleeves, protective eyewear, and a mask. Dryer vent ducts can have razor-sharp edges. When cleaning dryer vents, it’s best to be prepared.
After your vent is cleaned, your dryer should be purring like new.