Dryer Overheating With Every Use? It's Time To Clean Out Your Dryer Vent

18 March 2015
 Categories: , Articles


If your dryer overheats during every use, it's time to clean out your dryer vent. Even if you clean out your dryer's lint compartment periodically, the vent can still become coated or blocked with lint over time. Although you should have your dryer vent cleaned professionally every year to keep it working properly, a dryer requires cleaning right now if it overheats. Here's why:

How Does A Dryer Vent Become Blocked?

Whenever you dry your clothes, small pieces of fabric pull away from the material. The lint trap or screen typically stops these particles from passing through to the venting system. But if you dry clothes regularly, or don't remove the screen and clean the reservoir that holds it in place, the particles stick to the dryer's fan. Eventually, the air and heat traveling inside the venting system suck up the excess debris until it builds up on the inside of the vent's walls.

What Happens When The Dryer's Vent Becomes Blocked Or Dirty?

When a dryer vent fills up with lint, the hot air produced by your dryer can't leave the appliance properly. The blocked vent affects the fan first, which in turn affects the heating element and tumbler. Here's how:

The Fan Stops Working

The fan normally cools down hot air as it leaves the tumbler and travels to the vent. The vent contains the cooled down air until it exits to the outdoors. However, the fan breaks down or stops turning if the compromised dryer vent doesn't let the heat move through it.

The heat eventually builds up in or around the appliance's heating element and backs up into the tumbler. The heat affects the way these parts work, which leads to the breakdown of your dryer.

The Heating Element And Tumbler Overheat

If the dryer's fan does its job properly, the heat isn't a problem. But since the fan isn't doing its job because of the blocked dryer vent, the heat becomes a big problem. The immense heat produced by the heating element and tumbler endangers your family and home. Here's why:

The inside of your dryer needs to reach a certain temperature in order to remove the water from your clothing. Depending on your dryer's brand or model, the heating elements or parts found inside the dryer can reach up to 300°F before the appliance works properly. After the dryer reaches the right temperature, the tumbler or drum cools down to about 135°F during the drying cycle.

If the dryer's heating element or tumbler gets hotter than its normal temperature whenever you dry clothes, the appliance will feel abnormally hot in different places. The hot surfaces may indicate or point out the overheating part. For example, the:

  • Front and top of the dryer: If these areas feel hot to the touch, the tumbler may be overcome with heated air.
  • Back and bottom of the dryer: If these areas feel hot or give off  too much heat, the heating element and fan might be compromised.
  • Sides of the dryer: If the sides feel hot to your hands, you may have a problem in the entire appliance if both parts overheat.

An overheating appliance isn't a good thing — especially if it causes a fire or electrical shortage in the home. The built-up lint can heat up enough to start a fire. Keep in mind that some fabrics contain flammable dyes and chemicals. Even the smallest pieces of lint can be dangerous. Additionally, an electrical shortage occurs when the overheating parts send electrical currents through the dryer to the outlet used to power the appliance. The currents can travel through the home and knock out power to your circuit breaker. Cleaning out your dryer vent can prevent these issues.

How Does Dryer Vent Cleaning Help?

A professional cleaning service provider cleans the inside of the dryer vent, as well as the fan with different brushes, vacuums and cleansers. The company may clean the part of the vent located on the outside of the home, but you should inquire about the complete services when you contact the company.

After you have your vent cleaned out, the fan should work properly again. In addition, the heating element and tumbler shouldn't become too hot when you use the dryer. However, if the dryer does continue to overheat because the parts were too damaged from your blocked vent and poorly operating fan, contact an appliance specialist for repairs.

Sometimes, an overheating dryer just needs a good cleaning. Be sure to contact your cleaning service provider for more details or an appointment today.