In most cases, we expect to be able to put our clothing into the dryer, run it for one cycle, and have dry clothing come out. However, there are those occasions when we sometimes have to run the clothing through two or even three times before it is completely dry. There are more than enough times when the actual dryer is not the problem. The cause of this problem more often than not is a dirty and clogged dryer vent.
I can already feel you shaking your head no and saying, “I clean it out after every use.” What you are referring to is the dryer vent screen. This small screen catches most of the lint before it actually gets into the vent system, but small particles always get through. Over time, these particles build up inside the venting and cause problems with the operation of the dryer.
Whereas older homes more than likely had a dryer in the basement very close the wall, designs that are more modern have dryers located in areas where longer vents are needed. The longer the vent, the easier it is to clog. In addition, if the venting has ample twists and turns, there is likely a buildup accumulating somewhere in the system.
In order to prevent this on a small scale, homeowners can actually detach the vent from the dryer and vacuum it out. This should be done about once a month to prevent excess buildup. However, because home vacuums are not nearly as powerful as equipment used by chimney sweep companies, the venting should also be cleaned professionally once or twice a year.
Dryer performance is one reason to have this done, but the real reason is fire safety. One of the major causes of home fires is directly related to dryer vents. The lint that accumulates is extremely flammable, and just a small spark is enough to ignite a fire. If you notice your dryer is not performing well, it is probably time to call in a professional to have your dryer vents cleaned.