Dryer vents are one of the most overlooked but important parts of a clothes dryer. A properly installed and maintained dryer vent helps your dryer run efficiently, safely, and extends the lifespan of the dryer drum. However, many DIYers and homeowners make common mistakes when repairing dryer vents that can lead to problems down the road.
The wrong materials.
Dryer vents require rigid metal duct, typically aluminum, to function properly. Never use flexible vent hoses, as they pose a serious fire hazard. Make sure any pipes, elbows or vent caps you purchase are high-temperature rated and made of metal.
The vent duct needs to be at least 4 inches in diameter for standard dryers. Using a vent that is too small causes excessively long cycle times and reduces airflow, wasting energy. But vents that are too large allow lint to escape, creating a mess. Measure your dryer’s CFM to determine the right size vent duct for your machine.
Kinked, crushed or twisted ducts.
The path the duct takes from the dryer to the outside vent should be straight and smooth. Bends, kinks or any point where the duct is collapsed restrict airflow and reduce venting efficiency. Use duct tape to seal all connections for the best seal.
Unsealed vent caps. The exterior vent cap prevents rain, snow, animals and debris from entering the vent. Any gaps or loose caps allow moisture into the duct, which can damage the dryer drum or cause mold growth. The vent cap should close tight over the end of the metal vent pipe.
Failure to clean vents and lint traps. Over time, built-up lint can significantly restrict airflow through the vent system, increasing drying times and utility bills. Clean your dryer’s lint screen before each use and thoroughly vacuum all vents, pipes and vent caps regularly, especially if you notice performance issues.
A properly installed and maintained dryer vent helps keep your clothes dryer running safely, efficiently and for a long time. Follow these best practices and troubleshooting tips to ensure safe operation of your dryer and lower long-term costs.