Dryer Vent Clogged? How to Fix It

Fleet Appliance
October 2, 2023
Dryer Repair

If your dryer vent is clogged up, you’re in the right place! A clogged dryer vent can lead to several problems, including reduced dryer efficiency, longer drying times, increased energy consumption, and a fire hazard. To avoid these issues, you must immediately clean your dryer vent if it has become clogged up. It’s also a good idea to give it a clean a few times a year to prevent blockages from occurring in the first place.

In this guide, we will give you step-by-step instructions for unclogging your dryer vent and some tips for preventing it from happening in the future. But first, let’s briefly discuss the main signs your dryer is clogged and needs to be cleaned out.

Signs your dryer vent is clogged

If you’re having any of the following issues with your dryer, the culprit might be a clogged vent.

  • Your dryer is taking longer than usual to dry your laundry.
  • Your dryer becomes very hot when operating.
  • Your laundry is coming out damp after a cycle.
  • The lint trap is filling up with lint faster than usual.
  • There is a burning smell coming from your dryer.
  • The exterior vent fap isn’t opening and closing correctly.
  • Loud banging or rattling sounds are coming from your dryer.
  • There is an excessive amount of condensation forming on your walls or windows when the dryer is operating.

Steps to fix a clogged dryer vent

If any of the signs listed above occur when operating your dryer, cleaning the vent thoroughly is a good idea. Thankfully, this is a pretty straightforward task that you can do yourself.

Here’s how to clean your dryer vent:

  1. Turn the power off. Before you begin, ensure your dryer is unplugged or turned off at the circuit breaker. 
  1. Ensure you have the right tools. You will need a screwdriver, a vacuum cleaner, a dryer vent brush or other brush, a flashlight, and safety gear like gloves and safety glasses to clean the dryer vent.
  2. Locate the dryer vent. Once you have all the required tools and have put on a pair of safety gloves and glasses, the next step is to locate the vent. It will be attached to the dryer and an exterior wall. Once located, remove the vent cover. Removing the cover usually requires removing the screws that hold it in place. You can then disconnect the vent pipe at both ends.
  3. Clean the vent. Start by removing any loose lint with a brush. You can then use your vacuum cleaner with a long attachment to vacuum out the vent. To ensure all lint and other debris has been removed, get a long pole or stick and push it through the vent pipe. This should push out any lint that the vacuum cleaner hasn’t removed.
  4. Clean the vent cover. Once the vent pipe has been cleaned, use the vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth to clean the dryer’s cover and vent connection point. If necessary, wash the vent cover in hot, soapy water and dry it with a clean cloth. Once clean, reattach the vent pipe and place the cover back into position. Secure the cover with the screws you removed earlier.
  5. Clean the vent opening. If possible, go outside of your home and locate the vent opening. Ensure there aren’t any visible signs of a blockage. If so, give the exterior opening a thorough clean.
  6. Clean the lint trap. Before turning your dryer back on, thoroughly clean the lint trap. Once clean, place it back into the dryer.
  7. Turn your dryer on. To ensure the vent is reattached correctly and free from blockages, turn your dryer onto a cycle and ensure air is flowing through it freely and any loud noises have stopped. If so, you can start using your dryer again.

Dryer vent maintenance tips

Preventing your dryer vent from clogging up is essential for maintaining the efficiency and safety of your dryer. Following these simple tips can prevent your dryer vent from clogging up.

  • Regularly clean the lint filter. Make it a habit to remove and clean the lint filter after each drying cycle. This simple step helps reduce the amount of lint that enters the vent system and will prevent any major blockages.
  • Give the vent a regular clean. It’s also important to periodically clean the vent system out. This will ensure it doesn’t become clogged up. Ensure you also clean the vent opening on the exterior of your home.
  • Install a vent cover. Installing a vent cover with a bird guard can help prevent birds and rodents from getting into your vent. Just make sure the cover you choose allows for proper airflow through the venting system.
  • Install the vent properly. Ensure you use the shortest and straightest venting path from your dryer to the exterior opening. Avoid excessive twists, turns, or long vent pipe runs, as these can trap lint and reduce airflow.
  • Don’t overload your dryer. Overloading your dryer with too much laundry can produce more lint and reduce airflow. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for load capacity.
  • Check the vent connection. Ensure the connection between the dryer and the vent pipe is secure and isn’t leaking. Use proper clamps or fasteners to secure the connection if you’re not already.
  • Get it cleaned by a professional. Consider scheduling an annual professional dryer vent cleaning. A trained technician can thoroughly clean the vent system and ensure it’s in good condition.
  • Replace the vent or lint filter. If the lint filter in your dryer or any part of the dryer vent becomes damaged, it’s important to replace it immediately. This will reduce the chances of more serious issues occurring in the long run.

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