Have you noticed your dryer is taking forever to dry your clothes? In some cases even a small load can take nearly three hours, even after going out and buying a new dryer. What’s the deal?? Chances are you have an improper dryer vent, which is probably the single most common defect that I find during home inspections. Taking several hours to dry your laundry can be frustrating, but what’s even worse is that this condition can become a fire hazard. Read on to see how to eliminate the safety concern and get those dry times back down!
Above you can see a picture of a flexible ribbed exhaust vent. This is an incredibly popular material for dryer venting because the flexibility makes for an easy installation. Unfortunately this vent is not ideal for use with dryers. The ribs and multiple curves to take up slack work together to trap dryer lint before it can exhaust to the exterior. Airflow is restricted by this trapped lint and the capability of the dryer to remove moisture is reduced. Trapped moisture means increased dry times.
Here’s where things get dangerous. Homeowners with improperly functioning dryers will often become so frustrated that they’ll run a single load multiple times without even checking the laundry to see if it’s dry. If the dryer is run with completely dry clothes it will force hot air though that lint clogged vent? Do you know what burns really well? Dry lint!
Here’s the fix: replace the flexible plastic vent with smooth metal duct. The duct should be less than 25 feet, minus 5 feet for every bend of 45 degrees, from the dryer to the exterior. Make sure the exterior vent hood is clear. This will give lint and moisture a clear path to the exterior, reduce dry times, and ensure safe operation of your dryer.