How To Clean A Dryer Duct

By Robert Robillard on How To

Cleaning A Dryer Vent

When you consider that 15,000 fires start in the laundry room every year and that these fires are mostly due to lint build up in the clothes dryer or a clogged dryer duct it makes you wonder why we don’t do something about it.  Annual dryer duct cleaning will ensure you avoid these possible issues.

Cleaning Dryer Vent


When you further consider that these fires result in 10 deaths and 310 injuries per year I just shake my head.  [stats according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission]

Can you imagine if this happened to your family?  Your children? Instead of fretting do something . . . clean your dryer ducts!

Empty Lint Screen Every Time

Many dryer fires are attributed to lint accumulation inside the dryer or dryer duct work. Failure to clean the lint trap is the most likely cause of massive lint build up.  You should clean the lint trap EVERY time you use the dryer.


How To Clean A Dryer Duct

Does Your Dryer Vent Need To Be Cleaned?

Determining if your dryer duct is full of lint and in need of cleaning can be straightforward. The clue is noticing if your clothes dryer is taking longer to dry a load of clothes, actually taking two and three cycles to dry clothes that once dried in one.

If your clothes come out hot after the last cycle then you can usually rule out your your heating element and suspect a blocked duct.

Bathroom fan

Inspect Exterior Vent Flap

Inspect the exterior vent flap when the dryer is in use.  Make sure there are no exterior obstructions like bird, mouse or bee nests.  The air velocity should open this vent wide open. If the exterior flapper barely opens then your airflow is minimal and your duct may need to be cleaned or shortened.

bathroom vent hood

Check For Kinked Hose Behind Dryer

When dryers are located a short distance from an outside wall, the short, straight exhaust duct runs worked well, and leaves little need for maintenance and making inspecting easy. Many laundry rooms today are situated deeper inside homes with long runs and several elbows, often resulting in restrictive airflow. Many times these pipes are buried in finished ceilings or floors.

Clues Your Dryer Duct Is Clogged

  • Clothes take an unusually long time to dry
  • Clothes are hotter than usual at the end of the drying cycle
  • Outside of dryer feels unusually hot
  • Exterior vent flap barely opens when dryer is on
  • Laundry room feels warmer or more humid than normal
  • Unexplained moisture stains appear in ceiling below exhaust pipe
  • Burnt smell when using machine
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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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