If you notice that your dryer takes longer to dry laundry than it used to, that’s a clue that there may be a blockage in the dryer vent system. When you’re drying a load, go outside and look at the vent. Do you see or feel exhaust air? If not, the vent or exhaust duct may be blocked with lint.
Start by disconnecting your dryer from the power source. And if you have a gas dryer, also turn off the gas valve near the dryer.
“Carefully slide the dryer away from the wall so that you can access the vent that’s typically in the back of the dryer,” Handel says. “If you have a gas dryer, take care not to overstretch or damage the gas line.”
Disconnect the duct from the dryer, and vacuum both the dryer and the duct—as much as you can access. Where possible, separate the duct into shorter sections for better access, then reassemble and attach the duct to the dryer. Be sure all joints in the duct are properly connected and held together with clamps or foil tape. Then return the dryer to its original spot and reconnect the power.
While you’re at it, clean behind the dryer and underneath it—lint builds up there, too. In winter, check after windy weather or snowstorms to be sure that snow isn’t blocking the outdoor vent.