What Is A Dryer Exhaust System?

Posted on Jun 1, 2020

1The washer and dryer are some of the handiest household appliances in our modern homes. Just think about all the work and time that is saved with these machines! Drop some detergent and your dirty clothes in here, and with the push of a button, your clothes are clean, fresh and dry in no time at all! But these magic machines need regular maintenance. One of the main pieces of upkeep you’ll need to complete in your laundry room is maintaining your dryer exhaust system.

What is a dryer exhaust system?
A dryer exhaust system is the duct work that takes the fumes, lint and dirt from the dryer out of your home. If you look behind your dryer, you’ll see a short 4-inch diameter exhaust, which connects to the ductwork inside your wall through an aluminum or metal pipe. This creates a path from your dryer to the wall, through the walls to an opening on an outside wall of your home.

Dryer exhaust system hazards
Like with many pieces of machinery, your dryer and dryer exhaust system need to be properly maintained to prevent issues down the road. Your dryer exhaust system can pose a threat to your health and safety if not properly maintained.

Health hazards – One of the biggest risks of a clogged dryer exhaust system is carbon monoxide. Your dryer releases carbon monoxide while it is working, which is vented out of your home through the dryer exhaust system. If it cannot escape, the carbon monoxide may build up in your home, which can result in carbon monoxide poising.

Fire – Another risk of a clogged exhaust system is fire. Over time, your dryer vent may get clogged with lint and dust, which prevents the heat from your dryer from escaping. The heat may ignite these debris, causing a devastating house fire. 

Faulty machinery – In addition, a clogged dryer exhaust system can cause your dryer to wear out faster. The dryer is working harder to perform the same job, which can take a toll on the machinery, causing it to wear out faster and cost you money to replace it.

Signs your dryer exhaust system needs maintenance
In general, you should clean your dryer exhaust system once per year. However, this amount can change based on the amount of laundry you do. A household with more people probably does more laundry, using their dryer more! So how can you tell that it’s time to clean your dryer exhaust system? Here are a few signs: 

Longer dry time – If your dryer is taking longer to dry your clothing, or you have to put the laundry back in for another dry cycle, it could be a sign that the vent is clogged.

Funny smell – If you smell a burning smell when your dryer is running, this might mean that lint and debris are blocking the heat from escaping through the vent. 

Hot to touch – Your dryer should remain room temperature to the touch while it is operating. If the top or sides get hot while in use, it may be time to clean the exhaust system.

Excessive lint – If your clothes are coming out with excessive lint on them, or you find your lint trap to be unusually full, this might be a sign that your vent system is blocked and not working properly. 

How to maintain your dryer exhaust system
Maintaining your dryer exhaust system can prevent health issues and fire in your home, as well as increase the longevity of your machine. Each time you put a new load in the machine, you should clean your dryer’s lint trap as well as remove any debris from the barrel. There’s a couple easy steps you can take to clean your dryer exhaust. Here’s how:

1) Gather the tools – Dryer exhaust systems are systems of duct work that can be long. Gather flexible rods and brushes that are long enough to clean your full system. These tools can be found online or at your hardware store. 

2) Unplug the machine – Move the dryer away from the wall and unplug the machine. This will keep you safe and ensure you have lots of room to access the wall and the exhaust duct. 

3) Remove the dryer vent – This will generally be a metal tube that connects your dryer to the wall. Pinch the prongs that hold it inside the dryer to slide it off. This is probably going to be dusty and dirty – don’t worry, that’s why we’re cleaning it!

4) Get to cleaning – Once the vent is removed, it’s time to clean. Find the exit point on the side of your home and remove the cover. Gently insert your brush tools into the duct from the outside, moving the brush in a circular motion to get all the lint and dust. Once you’re done, head back inside to clean the ground around the mouth of the duct.

5) Put the ducts back together – You did it! Nice work! Now it’s time to put it all back together and appreciate your hard work. 

Cleaning your dryer duct is incredibly important. If you’d rather leave it up to the professionals, that’s no probably! Airpro Indoor Air Solutions is locally owned and operated in Hawaii. Our team would be happy to assist you and help get your dryer working like new again. Contact us today to get started!