Hugh Cairns: 5 conditions that contribute to excessive dryer lint build-up

November 9, 2014 4:29 pm

Clothes dryers are one of the more expensive appliances in your home to operate. The longer the dryer runs to dry your clothing, the more money it costs you. Clean and unobstructed dryer venting improves the safety and efficiency of your dryer. Photo: Contributed – (Hugh Cairns)

A quick look at your dryer venting can be very illuminating. Up on the roof and out of the way this dryer vent is causing problems. Notwithstanding long drying times, clogged vent contribute to the danger of a fire.

Considering what is at stake, dryer venting deserves more attention than it garners. In addition to the danger of fire, clogged dryer vents prolong drying time. This wastes energy and helps contribute to even more lint build-up.

 A quick look at both ends of your dryer venting system can be very beneficial. Often I see those plastic flexible dryer hoses installed improperly. Known as transition ducts, the flexible hose usually come in a length of 25 feet long in a package. Frequently the installer will use the entire length rather than the short piece that is required. Multiple bends of the flexible hose can be dangerous. In addition, crushed dryer hoses between the dryer and the wall can severely restrict airflow. Lint build up behind a dryer coupled with the odd lost sock and an empty fabric softener box adds fuel to the fire.

Dryer vent piping usually should not exceed 35 feet between the dryer and the exterior exhaust port. Long runs of vent piping, bends and elbows in the system lead to inefficiency. In most cases vent piping is concealed with the walls of the home. Poor dryer vent terminations are all too common and contribute to negative conditions. Of course I strongly recommend that the dryer lint screen be cleaned before every load; the fact is that some lint will still make it past the filter. There are many reasons for dangerous lint build up – some you can see and some you can’t.

5 conditions that contribute to excessive dryer lint build-up

Excessive duct piping and restricted piping

It used to be that the laundry room was near an outside wall. New construction styles focus on the convenience of the room for placement rather than what is optimum for the equipment resulting in laundry equipment being further and further away from exterior walls than in the past. Longer distances require more piping and elbows to reach the outside wall.

Nests

Birds like to be safe warm and dry. I don’t see it very often, but birds are known to nest in uncovered termination hoods.

Crushed, excessive and kinked transition hoses

Hidden behind walls and out of sight, crushed, excessive and kinked transition hoses can drastically reduce the equipment’s ability to efficiently vent exhaust air.

Blocked exhaust vent boots

As pictured in this home, blocked dryer vents are a hazard. In some cases the wrong kind of termination hood has been used or one that has a screen feature. Dryer vent hoods require inspection and regular cleaning as debris builds up.

Condensation in the duct system

Where warm meets cold the potential for condensation is real. Installing an un-insulated duct through an attic or crawlspace will most certainly cause condensation in the pipe. Wet surfaces within the pipe attract and promote negative accumulation of lint to the pipe walls.

 

Clothes dryers are one of the more expensive appliances in your home to operate. The longer the dryer runs to dry your clothing the more money it costs you. Clean and unobstructed dryer venting improves the safety and efficiency of your dryer.

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