In many homes, the dryer vent goes untouched. See why this is a dangerous mistake, plus five major warning signs that your dryer vent could be clogged.

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There’s more to preventing dryer fires than cleaning the lint tray. While removing the lint after every use is important (especially after drying towels), you should also keep the dryer vent in mind. The dryer vent is the vent behind the dryer that carries heat, gas, and moisture out of your home. Because it’s behind a bulky machine, it’s all too common for homeowners to ignore this vent. But leaving your dryer vent to collect debris can be very dangerous. A blocked or clogged dryer vent prevents your machine from working properly and can even cause a house fire.

There are local services that can help you maintain a clean, safe dryer vent. However, in order to reap the benefits of their service, you need to have your dryer vent cleaned before a disastrous fire strikes. Heed these signs, provided by Dryer Vent Wizard, that could indicate a clogged dryer vent.

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Credit: Edmund Barr

1. Your Dryer’s Auto-Shutoff Kicks In

Most modern dryers come with an auto-shutoff feature. This safety measure will shut off your dryer mid-cycle if it's trapping excess heat and moisture. Trapped heat could be a sign of a blockage in the vent line. A blocked vent is a serious risk for house fires and should be dealt with immediately.

2. Lint Builds Up

Most of us know to clean out a dryer's lint tray after each use. But experts warn you should also keep an eye out for lint behind and under the washer and dryer. Excess lint behind the dryer is a sign of a clogged vent system and can be very dangerous. The lint accumulates there because it has nowhere to move through the vent.

3. Pet Hair Is Everywhere

As a pet owner, you might not think twice about a little fur on a pair of jeans or sweatshirt. But all that hair has to go somewhere. Pet hair is a common cause of dryer vent buildup and should be monitored throughout the year. If your pet is going through a particularly rough shedding period (like in the summer), you might want to check on your dryer system more frequently. Chances are it needs to be cleaned even more than your rug!

4. You Smell Mold

A clogged dryer vent traps heat and moisture in your dryer, which creates a perfect home for mold and mildew. This unpleasant smell is not something you want on your clothes, but it can serve as a warning that you should check the vent system. After a thorough cleaning, your laundry room will be safe and back to smelling like normal.

5. Clothes Take Longer to Dry

If you find yourself wondering what’s taking your dryer so long, you might want to instead focus on the vent system. A clog or block in the vent will prevent proper airflow, resulting in longer drying times. A quick call to a local washer/dryer expert can get your system back on track.

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