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If you use a dryer, then lint is going to be a part of your life. As clothes, towels, and linens toss and tumble in your dryer, loose fibers will detach. While most will accumulate in the dryer’s lint trap, some debris will always build up in your dryer hose and ventilation system. But what does it mean when your dryer vent blows lint outside?
Why A Dryer Vent Blows Lint Outside
The purpose of a dryer vent is to allow the hot air and moisture that accumulates in your dryer a way to escape the house. If you step outside while you’re drying a fresh load of laundry, you’ll be able to feel the warm air blowing out, and smell that fresh-laundry smell.
It’s normal for the dryer vent to blow a little lint outside. You might see a little fluffy bit here or there. But if you notice a large accumulation of lint in or below your outdoor dryer vent, you likely have a serious build-up of lint in your vent system.
How Does A Lint Build Up Occur?
As laundry tumbles dry in a dryer, loose fibers detach, drying faster than the laundry itself. These loose pieces blow in the hot air, and typically accumulate in the dryer’s lint trap. There is even a dryer duct lint trap that helps reduce the risk of a dryer fire and is a secondary lint trap for your dryer. However, not even the best dryer lint trap can capture every fuzzy bit!
Some bits of lint travel into the dryer’s exhaust hose and get trapped there. Others travel up the ductwork and get trapped along the walls of the duct. Some make the full trip to the outdoors, underneath your outdoor dryer vent.
Each time you use the dryer, that lint is exposed to hot, damp air. More and more lint blows through the ventilation system, and those particles begin to stick together in the humid environment. Just as you notice the collection on your dryer lint trap is sometimes very thick and fluffy, the collection of debris along your dryer vents outside and hoses can grow thicker and thicker as well.
Once the build-up is thick enough, hot air can no longer pass through easily. Some pieces of lint may break free from the congested duct, and as a result, the dryer vent blows lint outside.
Where Does Dryer Lint Come From?
When fibers shed from clothes, or just simply daily life, this can cause a considerable buildup of lint in your dryer vent. Simply wearing our clothes can cause fabric fibers to form as a result of friction. The fabric fibers loosen, due to friction, which then comes off during the washing and drying process. So if you are wondering, ‘where does lint come from’ just know it’s an accumulation of fibers, the more you dry the more you accumulate. That is why it is extremely important to have a dryer vent lint trap cleaned out by a professional.
What Should I Do When My Dryer Vent Blows Lint Outside?
The first step should be to inspect and clean your entire lint vent system. This process can take some time, but is relatively straightforward:
- Check your dryer lint trap. Using dryer sheets and fabric softener can cause a film to gather on the dryer lint trap, which will make it less able to catch laundry debris. If necessary, scrub it with an old toothbrush and a solution of dish soap to keep the screen portion clean.
- Unplug your dryer, push it away from the wall, and remove the hose or ductwork connecting it to the wall. You may need a screwdriver or pliers to loosen the connection to the dryer and the wall. Use a long-handled brush or vacuum cleaner crevice attachment to clean both the dryer connection and the wall connection.
- Clean the hose or duct from both ends as well.
- Remove the dryer vent faceplate from the exterior wall, and thoroughly clean the vent.
If you have concerns about cleaning the pieces yourself or questions about how to clean the dryer vent from outside, call 844-962-2681 to connect with a trained HVAC professional in your area. A local specialist will be happy to help determine why your dryer vent blows lint outside. Whether your vent needs cleaning, or there’s another reason at hand, you’ll receive a no-obligation quote for the necessary work.
When the dryer vent blows lint outside, it’s not just an unsightly mess- it could be a sign that your dryer vent needs some attention. Even if that means there is lint stuck in the outdoor dryer vent trap. If a full cleaning doesn’t do the trick, contacting a professional can give you the ultimate peace of mind.
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Frank is the chief editor and director at Specialty Air, where he oversees testing, research, and editing for all air quality-related articles. Frank is an expert in the air quality space with extensive experience testing, researching, and reviewing air purifiers, air conditioners, air filters, air fresheners, fans, and more. He also has over 4 years of experience with issues surrounding mold remediation, radon mitigation, moisture management, air duct systems, HVAC, and insulation.