Why Does It Matter Anyway?
Keeping your dryer's vent clear of lint is hugely important for both the safety of your home and those inside it, as well as for reducing energy waste. The built-up substances that clog the vent can begin to burn over time due to the high temperatures used to dry your clothes, and this may eventually cause a spark that sets everything alight. The blockages also slow down air flow, so it takes longer for your clothes to fully dry, and this extra time adds up to excess energy being spent and a higher cost along with it. So, how do you know it's time for that regular cleaning? Here are a few things to keep an eye out for!
1) A Burning Smell
This is the most important indication that something's wrong, and one that requires you to immediately turn off your dryer and refrain from using it until your dryer's vent is inspected by an expert. If you notice that while your dryer is running you smell burning, it's likely the lint that's trapped in the vent starting to melt and could mean you might be moments away from a fire. After turning off the dryer and checking to ensure that everything is safe, it's certainly time to call a technician.
2) Longer Run Times
If you notice that your clothes are still damp when the dryer stops and it's necessary to add additional time to the cycle to ensure they're completely dry, this can mean that the choked-up vent is in fact slowing down the air flow and making it difficult for the air to get through to properly dry them. This is particularly pertinent if previously they would be completely dry with just one cycle, or if you also notice this next sign.
3) Higher Energy Bill
Do your energy costs seem to continue to rise slowly over time? Are you unsure what could be causing this problem? The culprit may be a too dirty dryer vent that's requiring the cycle be extended in order to fully get clothing dry, and thus wasting energy in the process. However, a cleaning will take care of this right away!