Even if you have a newly constructed home, it is important to have a professional inspect the home’s dryer vent system. He can make you aware of turns and elbows in the venting system which require extra attention. Air flow, interference by bends and turns, and long vents can all mean faster and denser accumulation of lint within the system.
The purpose of venting the dryer is to allow the hot air it generates to be blown out of the house. Short straight vents are best, and more turns in the venting means more trouble in the offing. Elbows are a great place for lint to pile up, ultimately blocking the passage altogether. As lint is highly flammable, this is a good way to start a house fire, so vents with lots of bends and elbows need to be checked and cleaned more often by a trained professional.
Small stackable dryers and old ones blow air much less efficiently, so a full size dryer is the best option for homeowners who value home safety. Full size dryers vented by short straight runs may well provide a system that never needs to be cleaned. Typically, the home’s dryer vent system should be inspected and cleaned by a professional every couple of years.
Indications that problems exist with the venting are dryer tops that remain hot, clothes that are hotter than usual when they come out of the dryer, and clothes that take longer than usual to dry. This last indicator is counter-intuitive but an equally significant signal that there may be a blockage in the vent ducts. Another warning sign is the failure of the vent hood flapper to open when the dryer is in use.
Metal vents are the only ones that should be used; homeowners should avoid foil duct extenders and thin plastic ones. There also needs to be adequate space between the dryer and the wall and the area needs to be kept clear. Finally, the dryer must vent to the outside of the house and never into a crawlspace or attic.