The Importance of Proper Dryer Venting

By Lyle Weischwill | Jan. 05, 2024 12:15 pm PST

Image of homeowner happy with dryer

Proper venting through your clothes dryer helps ensure the appliance runs safely and efficiently. Your dryer will also last longer when it’s properly vented.

In a gas dryer, proper venting is essential to prevent carbon monoxide from building up inside your home.

Poor venting is also the #1 cause of common dryer problems such as overheating, not heating, not starting and not drying clothes. You can avoid many dryer failures by keeping the dryer vent clear.

Here are tips on proper dryer venting and how to avoid common problems caused by poor dryer vent air flow.

How to Vent Your Dryer Properly

Your role in venting your dryer properly involves properly connecting the dryer exhaust to the duct system in your home then maintaining the dryer and your home’s duct system to ensure proper air flow.

Clothes dryer vent hose installed properly image

Installing the Flexible Vent Behind the Dryer

First, follow the guidelines in the installation guide for your dryer to properly connect the vent duct on the back of your dryer to your home’s exhaust duct system. Additionally, follow these tips when choosing and installing flexible vent between the back of the dryer and you’re home exhaust vent duct inlet.

  • Use the most rigid and sturdy flexible dryer vent possible. Avoid flexible vinyl and foil vents because lint builds up quickly inside these vent hoses. Use a semi-rigid aluminum vent hose to help keep air flowing from the dryer to your home’s exhaust duct system.
  • Seal the vent hose connections firmly using hose clamps. Air escaping through those connections can cause lint and dust buildup in your laundry room. If you have a gas dryer, carbon monoxide can also enter your home through leaks in those connections.
  • Minimize turns in the flexible vent hose and avoid kinks. The straightest path with the least amount of turns will increase exhaust air flow between the back of the dryer and your home’s exhaust duct system.

Cleaning the clothes dryer lint screen image

Maintaining the Clothes Dryer

To maintain proper air flow through your dryer and to the outside of your home, follow these maintenance tips.

  • Clean the dryer lint screen before starting each load.
  • Wash the lint screen using water and a soft-bristle brush monthly to remove fabric softener build-up that accumulates on the screen.
  • Clean the dryer vent duct system at least once per year – twice a year if the house dryer duct system goes up through the roof of your home. Consider using our Sears Home Services Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning service when you need to clean a complicated duct system or one that goes up through your roof.
  • Have your dryer professionally cleaned and maintained by a Sears Home Services Technician yearly. The tech will check your dryer vent system and clean lint from the inside of the dryer cabinet to help prevent fires and keep your dryer operating efficiently.

When you install the dryer vent hose properly and keep your dryer well-maintained, it will work smoothly and efficiently for many years.

Homeowner experiencing clothes dryer failure due to clogged vent

What Happens When the Vent System Gets Clogged?

When exhaust air can’t flow freely to the outside of your home, several clothes dryer problems typically occur.

Overheating

Lack of air flow causes air inside the dryer drum to overheat. This can damage clothing and even cause a fire if you have lint build-up inside the dryer cabinet. If you notice that the dryer seems to be running hotter than normal, check the venting and clear any kinks or clogs that you find.

Blown Internal Dryer Fuses

The dryer typically has several safety fuses to protect the appliance from overheating. The thermal fuse will trip if exhaust air gets too hot. In an electric dryer, the drive motor won’t start when the thermal fuse blows. In a gas dryer, the burner won’t work so the dryer won’t heat when the thermal fuse trips. Many dryers also have second safety fuse called the thermal cut-off fuse that shuts down the heating system when the dryer overheats.

A clogged exhaust vent system is the #1 cause of blown internal fuses in the dryer. A Sears Home Services technician will look for this issue any time a blown fuse is discovered during a dryer service call. Clearing a clogged vent system will prevent the fuse from blowing again shortly after replacing it.

Not Drying Clothes

Even though the dryer heats (or overheats), clothes won’t dry well when the exhaust vent system is clogged or partially clogged. Air flow through the dryer drum is essential to the drying process. Most air must be exhausted to the outside of your home for clothes to get dry. If you notice wet clothes or long dry times, check the vent system and clear any clogs so your clothes will dry properly.

Dryer Fires

When the exhaust vent system clogs up, more lint will accumulate inside the dryer cabinet and the inside of the cabinet will get much hotter than normal. Lint inside the dryer can eventually catch fire – especially in a gas dryer. Keep the exhaust vent system clear to prevent dryer fires.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

When you have a gas dryer, a clogged exhaust vent system can allow carbon monoxide to build up inside your home. Carbon monoxide has no odor and can be deadly. In addition to keeping your dryer vent system clear, make sure that you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home when you own a gas dryer (and other gas appliances).

Premature Dryer Failure

When your dryer constantly overheats due to poor venting, it won’t last as long and will likely break down more often. The motor and other components aren’t designed to operate in high temperatures for long periods of time. Keep the vent system clear so your dryer will run smoothly and last a long time.

Proper venting is the key to having a happy dryer. By keeping the vent system clear, you can avoid problems, maximize the efficiency of your clothes dryer and reduce energy consumption, ultimately saving money and helping the environment.

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