Are you seeing an increase in the number of cycles it takes to dry your clothes? Are your clothes or dryer hot to the touch? Do your clothes smell musty or feel damp after a complete cycle? If you answered yes to any question it is likely you need a dryer vent cleaning.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a survey in 2010 revealing that even when a consumer believed their dryer to be faulty the real cause was actually a clogged dryer vent.
Think of your dryer vent duct like the exhaust pipe on your car. The dryer vent is attached to the back of the dryer, and its job is to exhaust the hot air and moisture being evaporated from the clothing during the drying process to the outside. While your lint filter (if cleaned after each load) does most of the work catching the lint, over time lint will build up in the vent and restrict air flow. This forces your dryer to work harder and use more energy. If your dryer vent is not routinely and thoroughly cleaned it could lead to mechanical problems and most importantly puts you at greater risk for a dryer fire.
FEMA and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) estimated 16,800 fires in 2010 involving clothes dryers-including combination washer/dryers. Dryer fires result in an average of 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in direct property damage annually.