Why Isn't Your Dryer Drying Your Clothes?

Why Isn't Your Dryer Drying Your Clothes?

Washers and dryers make our busy lives a little more convenient. But, when your dryer won't dry in the time you expect, it can throw off your plans. Plus, a dryer not drying in the preset time requires more energy, making your energy bills higher. The problem also takes more of your limited time, which can be frustrating and stressful. 

The solution to a dryer not drying could be a quick fix, but if you neglect it, you could have a dangerous and costly risk in your home. Most dryers last about 13 years. So if yours still has life left in it, there are a few things you can do before buying a new one. Many of the reasons for your dryer not heating up properly could be simple things you can take care of yourself. 

Check and Clean the Lint Filter

The lint filter removes lint, dust and hair to keep your clothing clean. Many clothes shed lint and fluff each time you dry them, so you should check and clean the lint filter after every dryer session. 

Cleaning the lint filter between each drying session can extend the life of your dryer. It can also make your home safer, as a clogged lint filter can trigger fires. Annually, about 3,000 homes burn due to dryers with clogged lint filters and ducts. 

In addition to cleaning out the lint from your dryer, you can make your home safer by installing a Notion Sensor, along with a smoke detector near your dryer. The Notion Sensor will alert you if your smoke detector sounds so you can contact 911 if needed. 

Check the Airflow

Your dryer uses hot air to do its job. When the vents and ducts are blocked, it restricts airflow, which could be the reason why your dryer isn't drying. The easiest way to check if the air is flowing is to turn on your dryer and go outside to feel the air exiting the vent. If the air isn't forcefully leaving the vent or isn't hot, it's time to clean it.

Begin by unplugging the dryer, then pull it away from the wall and disconnect the vent. Then, go to the outside vent, remove the cover, and use a vacuum hose to clean deeply into the vent. Replace the cover, then go inside and clean the vent hoses that connect to your dryer. After clearing out the excess lint, connect the vent hoses, push the dryer back into its spot, and plug it in. Give it a test run for about 15 minutes to clear out loose lint and see if the airflow is warm and strong. 

Tape the Vent Joints

Your dryer might not be drying all the way if your vent hoses and joints have openings. Escaping air reduces your dryer's efficiency and can explain why your dryer isn't heating up as it should. If you find any openings, tape the vent joints. 

Be sure to use the correct type of tape for this project. Duct tape melts when exposed to heat, and it can capture lint. A heat-resistant aluminum tape is a better choice, as it won't melt and fail under high temperatures. Apply aluminum tape at the joints to create a tight seal. 

If you have a dryer vent hose that looks like a Slinky, you should exchange it for a semi-rigid duct. The Slinky-type vents pick up dryer lint in the creases and are more likely to start a fire than semi-rigid ducts. Semi-rigid ducts also have a higher heat rating than Slinky ducts. 

Don't Overload Your Dryer

Hot air in the dryer drum dries your clothes. If you overload your dryer, the hot air does not have anywhere to move. You might think a full washer and dryer helps you save money on energy bills. However, if your dryer is overloaded, the air cannot move, and your clothes won't dry. You'll need to run two cycles, just like you did if you dried two smaller loads. If you are doing large loads, try to keep at least 30% of your dryer unfilled so the clothes and hot air have room to spin and dry. 

Check Your Washer

If your clothes are too wet, the dryer will need several cycles to get the job done. The problem with your dryer could actually be your washing machine, especially the spin cycle. Dryers are not designed to dry soaking wet clothes. Run them through another spin cycle before putting them in the dryer — or replace your washer.

There could be several reasons why your dryer isn't drying all the way. The solution could be as simple as cleaning the lint trap or changing a setting on your dryer. Your dryer could last 10-plus years if you take care by keeping it clean and not overfilling it, so be sure to add these tasks to your routine maintenance list.