Answer: The reason your dryer needs to be cleaned is because lint can collect in the lining of your dryer vent hose, like cholesterol, and create a few problems.
1) When lint collects in your dryer vent hose it will start affecting the time it takes to dry your clothes. The lint slowly begins to choke off the air supply and will make your dryer less efficient.
2) When too much lint clogs up your dryer hose two things can happen: 1) the lint will start to collect behind the tumbler where the heating element is and may catch fire or 2) the dryer itself will burn out and replacing the dryer may be necessary.
3) The main danger of too much lint collecting in your dryer vent hose is once the lint becomes solid and thick the lint can catch fire very easily.
2) How do I know when to clean my dryer vent?
Answer: There are a few tell tale signs that your dryer needs to be cleaned:
1) If you notice a significant change in your drying time.
2) If you check the vent outside and you can't noticeably feel the air blowing out at least 12" from the vent.
3) If you look inside the vent itself and see lots of lint starting to collect inside.
3)What's the difference between vinyl and metal hoses?
Answer: There are a few differences between vinyl and aluminum flexible hoses.
1) Aluminum hoses have a much higher temperature range than vinyl. Aluminum hoses have a temperature range of -22F to 248F where as a vinyl hose has a temperature range of 32F - 212F.
2) Aluminum hoses do not deteriorate like that of vinyl hoses. Vinyl hoses dry rot as a result from the heat and humidity from the dryer during its cycle. Once the dry rotting sets in the hose will develop holes and lint will collect where ever the hose is. The danger of lint collecting in the area surrounding the hose is if the lint should ever catch fire the fire will spread far beyond the hose itself and very fast.
3) Aluminum hoses, unlike vinyl hoses, are fireproof. When plastic hoses dry rot, they become brittle and extremely flammable.
4) Is a longer dryer vent hose better than a shorter one?
Answer: No, a longer dryer vent hose is not better than a shorter hose. This is a myth.
*A shorter run from the dryer to the exit is more efficient, doesn't clog up with lint as fast and costs the customer less to clean.
*The longer the run of the hose the harder the dryer has to work to push the lint out.
*It doesn't take much lint to dramatically affect the velocity of your dryer the longer the dryer hose run is. Just a little bit of lint can affect your drying time more in a longer run than a lot of lint in a shorter run.
5) How do I keep unwanted critters from entering my dryer vent?
Answer: To keep unwanted critters from entering your dryer vent there are products you can purchase to cover your dryer vent.
Warning!!! Do not put any mesh on the dryer vent opening as it can become a fire hazard.
6) Can't I just use a leaf blower to clean my vent?
Answer: No. Although the leaf blower sounds like a good idea unfortunately it doesn't always work. The dryer is basically a slightly less powerful leaf blower and if it doesn't blow it out a leaf blower wont either. If the lint has become impacted and gloms onto the pipe (like Papier-mâché ) because of the humidity created by the wet clothes it wont blow off. Think of lint as plaque on your teeth- simply spraying water on it wont remove it.You need to roto-brush the lint off.
Using a leaf blower only
Roto-brushing and using the dryers own air pressure after using only the leaf blower
Here are the results from both procedures.
Conclusion: Using a leaf blower DOES NOT remove all of the lint from your dryer vent. Be cautious of any company that performs a dryer vent cleaning with only a leaf blower and no roto-brush.
Dryer Vent Troubleshooting
1) Why does it take longer to dry my clothes?
Answer: There are a couple reasons your dryer could be taking longer to dry.
1) Your dryer vent hose is clogged with lint and needs to be cleaned in order to maximize airflow and that will make your dryer more efficient.
2) If your dryer vent hose is not clogged up then it is possible that your dryer mat need to be retired and replaced with a new one. Don't jump to this conclusion right away, have your dryer vent checked first.
2) Why does it smell like smoke whenever I turn the dryer on?
Answer: The reason your dryer smells like smoke is because the lint is getting trapped behind the tumbler where the heating element is. The reason the lint is getting trapped is because your dryer vent hose is clogged with lint or possibly a birds nest and has nowhere to escape. The lint gets trapped on the tumbler and the heating element dries it out and the lint begins to catch fire.
Warning!!! Stop using your dryer the moment you smell any smoke coming from inside your dryer! Lint is very flammable and will ignite!
3) Why does my dryer hose collect water?
Answer: The reason your dryer hose is collecting water is because the hose has a sag creating a "U" shaped valley and the condensation from the dryer will collect over time storing more and more water. If water is allowed to sit in your pipe the following problems may occur:
1) Water sitting in a metal pipe will cause rusting and will eventually eat holes in the pipe. If water collects in a vinyl hose, holes will also result from dry rotting.
2) Once a pool of water forms the lint gets mixed in creating a form of sludge making any air getting through almost impossible. Drying time will be dramatically affected and create the illusion your dryer needs to be cleaned. Running a brush through the hose with a brush will not solve the problem.
Solutions for this problem are:
1) A temporary solution (if the sag can't be corrected) is to crawl under the house and poke a little drain hole at the lowest part of the "U" where the water is collecting. The water will drain out allowing the air move more freely. The condensation will keep collecting and draining out of the hole and may possibly make a tiny hole bigger.
2) The best solution is to fix the sag in the pipe. Fixing the sag may be as easy as raising the hose making it level with the rest of the hose. If there are obstructions in the way of leveling out the hose then rerouting the hose altogether may be the only alternative.
***The cost of rerouting a hose depends on the length of the run and how far one has to crawl under the house. This procedure may be an initial cost but will save lots of money in the long run.
Warning!!! Water that lingers and becomes stagnant in the hose can create lots of bacteria like staph and tetanus. Exercise extreme precautions when going near the laundry vent if you smell stagnant water. Call a professional to correct the problem.