Is your dryer taking longer to dry your clothes? Before you call in the professionals, there are a few things you can check on your own to find out if your dryer is choking. If air isn't flowing in and out of your dryer efficiently, it will cause the drying process to take a lot longer than it should.

Problems Associated with Inadequate Air-Flow

If you are having one or a combination of these problems, the air-flow is likely inadequate:

  • Long drying time
  • Overheating dryer – causing clothes to shrink or even burn
  • Bad smells – musty or burning smell
  • No heat
  • Fire

Check for Adequate Air-Flow

Turn your dryer on high heat and start a cycle. Go outside to the vent and feel the air coming out. You should feel a steady flow of warm air coming from the vent. If the flow is weak or not coming out at all, you will need to do some work to improve the air-flow through your dryer.

Improve Air-Flow

Start with the lint trap. The lint trap is oftentimes the most neglected, but troublesome part of the dryer. Unfortunately, when you remove the screen and clean it off, not all of the lint comes with it. This is why you need to use a vacuum attachment made for cleaning the lint trap every month or so. When you are vacuuming, listen to the sound of the vacuum. You should be able to hear lint as it is being sucked out of the dryer.

After you have cleaned out the lint trap, test the air-flow as you did before. If that didn't fix your problem, continue to the next step.

Now that the lint trap is cleaned, it is time to clean out the vent hose. This will require you to pull the dryer away from the wall so that you can gain access to the back side of it. Remove the vent hose from both the dryer and the wall. Lay it flat on the floor and use your vacuum to clean it out. Examine it closely for any damage. If it appears to be clear and in good condition, you are safe to reconnect it after vacuuming the exhaust on the back of the dryer.

When you reconnect the vent hose, be sure that it is attached securely and that there aren't any kinks in it. Test the dryer once more.

If this process hasn't resolved the issue, contact a local dryer repair expert like House Calls Appliance Repair. He or she will have to run a few tests to find the problem and make the necessary repairs to avoid further damage to your clothes and eliminate the risk of fires.