It’s The Season of Lint: Don’t Skip Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

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Every week, the detail-oriented folks at Green Scene Home Inspections will give readers an education in inspection. Want to see what they see? Tune in for “Upon Closer Inspection.”

Little maintenance tasks often get neglected: either homeowners didn’t know they needed doing, or they simply forget over time.

This week’s Upon Closer Inspection is all about one of the most common deficiencies we see in people’s homes: clogged dryer vents.

“Ooh, exciting!” you’re probably thinking. But read on, and then go check yours. We bet yours is clogged, too.

Most people know to clear out the lint screen inside the dryer. (Whether they actually do it or not is a discussion best left between family members and roommates.) But many people don’t realize that they need to clear out the dryer’s exhaust vent that goes from the machine to the exterior of the house.

When your dryer vent gets clogged, you might have longer drying times, a burning smell when the machine is running, the machine itself will be hot to the touch, and you’ll see more lint buildup inside the machine. 

Eventually, the dryer will stop working altogether.

The dryer vent above comes out on the roof, which makes for a trickier task. You can hire a duct cleaning service to do it for you, or here’s a helpful how-to video.

Dryer vents come in different shapes and sizes and exit the home at different places, depending on where the dryer is in your home.

You’ll want to check the end that connects to the dryer, and the end that goes into the wall for build up as well.

This dryer duct goes from the machine through the attic and out the roof, but you can see in the photo, the duct has become disconnected, so that hot air and lint is blowing into the attic.

So take a look at the back of your dryer and follow the duct to wherever it exits your house. If the outside vent is clogged, you need to clean it. If it looks like more than you want to tackle yourself, call a duct cleaner. It’s less than the cost of a new dryer!

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