Your dryer vent is a similar system to your fireplace chimney or furnace flue.  Its purpose is to vent heat and lint from the clothes dryer. It needs regular maintenance to properly function…just like your chimney and furnace.  If it isn’t maintained, the clothes dryer may become a serious fire hazard…just like your chimney or furnace.

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger……

Many installers don’t know how to install or even realize that a dryer vent should be installed to specific safety standards.   Many of the standards are outlined in the User Guide. For example, the total length of the run for the vent should not exceed 25 feet.  And every 90-degree turn counts for 5 feet. The pipe itself must be at least 4”. A lightweight flexible pipe should only be used as a connector and not for the main vent run.  

There are many dryer vent related fires that cause loss of life and property each year.  However, they are preventable with proper installation, use, and maintenance of clothes dryers and their venting systems.  The majority of these fires were caused by simple failure to clean the dryer vent on a regular basis.

The Problems….

Many homeowners incorrectly think that routinely emptying the lint trap is all it takes for a clean dryer vent.  Not so…..

Your clothes dryer may not have been installed correctly.  An inspection by a qualified professional can give you peace of mind as to whether your appliance has been installed properly.  

Please read the complete User Guide from your dryer manufacturer.  Please give special attention to the parts about maintenance and use. There should be specific maintenance instructions for each model.  Get to know your appliance, and follow instructions and schedule regular maintenance to ensure proper operation.

Check out the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Dryer Safety Tips Brochure.

How do you know if you need maintenance?

Have you noticed a change in your dryer’s performance?   It’s likely a dryer vent problem. Things to notice:

  • A normal load of clothes takes more than one cycle to dry completely.
  • The surface of the dryer feels hotter than usual.
  • Clothes are excessively hot at the end of the drying cycle.
  • The temperature in the house rises while the dryer runs.
  • The area around the dryer covers in condensation or lint while the dryer is in use.
  • The outlet outside at the end of your dryer vent doesn’t have any air/lint moving thru it.

Benefits of regular maintenance…

  • Saves money when you use less energy
    • by running fewer cycles
    • by not having to cool a house overheated by a malfunctioning dryer.
  • Lengthens the life of your dryer when you run fewer cycles.


Take advantage of the “Spring Cleaning” bug to get your dryer checked out.  It’s a perfect add-on when getting your chimney cleaned at the end of the burning season.