How Often You Should Clean a Dryer Vent?

A homeowner beginning to clean out the dryer vent on their machine.

Keeping your dryer vent clean is an essential part of keeping your house safe and ensuring that your dryer works properly. Read on to learn about how often you should be cleaning your dryer vent and hoses.

How Often Do You Use Your Dryer?

One of the key things to consider when determining the frequency with which to clean your vent is how often the dryer is used. If you only dry four or five loads of laundry per week, an annual cleaning should suffice. However, if you have an exceptionally large family and dry as many as four or five loads a day, it may be a good idea to clean your dryer vent once every six months or, if you want to be extra cautious, once every three months.

It is always a good idea to keep an eye out for problems with your dryer and to check for any clogs or issues with your vent between cleanings.

Symptoms of a Vent in Need of Cleaning

You may conduct your regularly scheduled vent cleanings like a responsible homeowner, but there can still be times when your vent has an unexpected problem with too much buildup or a clog. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be time for an emergency cleaning.

Clothes Do Not Get Dry

If your clothes come out still damp or wet after a normal drying cycle, there could be buildup interfering with your dryer’s ability to vent air and operate normally.

Excessive Humidity or Heat in the Room

Obviously if the dryer cannot vent properly, this means the air is not getting pushed out of your home and is instead leaking out inside.

The Dryer Itself Is Hot

If your dryer feels excessively warm to the touch, a blocked vented could be the cause.

Musty Odor

Lack of proper air circulation can also cause a musty odor from the hot, damp air remaining inside the hose and the machine.

There are still other signs that may indicate your dryer vent is in need of a cleaning, but these are some of the most common and easiest to notice on a day-to-day basis.

Consequences of Infrequent Cleaning

Failure to regularly clean dryer vents will increase drying time and, in turn, increase the cost of your utility bills. Furthermore, as dryer lint is highly flammable, the hot temperatures caused by a plugged-up vent's lack of sufficient air flow are liable to give way to large fires. In fact, dryers with clogged vents or lint screens are one of the most frequent causes of in-home fires. Also, when a dryer vent is blocked, carbon monoxide will be forced out inside your home. So in addition to saving you money, regular vent cleaning just may save your life.