How to check dryer vent for lint issues

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One major cause of drying problems when it comes to dryers is a troubled dryer vent.

So, how can you tell if the reason why your dryer is acting up is an issue with the dryer vent?

Well, in this short guide, I will share how you can check the dryer vent hose to determine if it is fine or has issues(it can be clogged, bent, restricted, etc.) which are, in turn, making your dryer malfunction.

Let’s dive in:

How to check dryer vent for clogging and other problems

So below is how to check your dryer vent

Disconnect the vent pipe from the back of the dryer (and run a few drying cycles)

Start by disconnecting the vent hose…

Now, after disconnecting the vent from the dryer, put a load in the dryer and try to run a couple of cycles(run 45-50 minutes cycle).

Here you want to see if your drying times reduce.

And if they do, then you likely have a venting issue.

To be clear, if you notice a considerable shortening of drying, this can be a sign of lint buildup in the vent.

Please note that it is not advisable to do that (run a cycle with vent disconnected) if you own a gas dryer, because of the danger of carbon monoxide.

Instead, with a gas dryer, just turn on the dryer and then go outside and feel under the vent-There should be warm air blowing out.

Now, there’s a chance that there is lint buildup in the vent if there‘s no airflow or the airflow is poor.


Pull the vent off the back of the dryer and run the dryer(without clothes)

Alternatively, for both gas and electric dryers, you can pull the vent off the back of your dryer and run the dryer but without clothes, this time.

Here you again want to test the airflow so you need to go outside (once it has started to run) and put your hand in the vent/the entrance of the vent- you want to feel how strong is the airflow.

As we have seen previously, there could be problems with the exhaust vent (lint clogging issues or even critter issues) if the air does not seem to blow freely from the vent at the back of the dryer.


If you can, look through the entire run of the vent

If the vent is somewhere you can look through like in the basement-and it is straight and not so long such that you cannot see through- then try to peep through.

This is a simple test since if the vent is clear(there’s no lint buildup) then you should see through.

Otherwise, you will not see through if there is a thick layer (of lint).


Open up the door on your dryer and look around for any lint buildup(on top of the door)

Another thing that can point to a probable lint buildup fault is noticing a lot of lint buildup on top of your door- you will need to open your dryer’s door and visually inspect the top area.

For the most part, this is a result of the exhaust vent on the outside of your house getting clogged.


How to check dryer vent-more steps

Below are more steps on how to check your dryer vent when you think it is clogged.

Put your hand on top of your dryer when it’s running

After doing so, if it feels hot to the touch (it is very hot), then it might mean that your dryer is working extra hard because it’s not venting properly.

Side note: Keep in mind that if your dryer is warm(when you touch it) then that’s okay (they dry by producing heat)…problem is when it is hot…


You can touch your clothes after a drying cycle and feel if they are unusually hot to touch

The clothes coming out of your dryer should typically not be too hot.

So if that is the case, then it may be due to hindered airflow (resulting from lint buildup in the vent).


Smell if your laundry room smells burning smells

It is normal for your laundry room to have traces of smell (the odor from dirty socks and clothes tends to linger in the air).

However, if you encounter a burning smell, then that can be a sign that lint has blocked the vent.

Important tip: Lint is flammable so the smell can signal an impending fire disaster.


Get in the room and feel the temperature when your dryer is still running.

If the room is warmer than normal when the dryer is running, then that is yet another potential indicator that too much lint is trapped in the dryer vent, causing overheating (in your dryer).


How to check dryer vent-FAQs

Will a dryer stop working if the vent is clogged?

In most cases, when your dryer is clogged, it will not stop working unless there are other damaged parts in it.

Instead, the dryer will not work properly- your clothes will take longer to dry or your clothes may come out extremely hot and moist.

Of course, there’s a risk of your dryer catching fire.


How often do dryer vents need to be cleaned?

How often your dryer needs to be cleaned depends on how often you use your dryer.

That said, a good rule of thumb is to clean your dryer once per year and to clean it after every six months if you use your dryer more often.


How to check dryer vent-Final words

The easiest way to check if your dryer vent is badly clogged is to run a few short 45-50 minutes drying cycles, with the vent disconnected, for electrical dryers to see if will dry properly.

If it does dry fine, your vent might need urgent cleaning.

Meanwhile, for a gas dryer, turn on your dryer then go outside and try to feel the air under the vent- warm air should be blowing out if it’s not a vent problem(the vent damper need to be clear here).



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