Is your dryer acting…unusual? Perhaps it’s not running as smoothly as it once did? Or maybe you’re starting to detect some strange odors that you hadn’t noticed before? In many cases, your dryer vent may need to be cleaned.

Having a clean dryer vent is a vital part of maintaining efficient, effective, and safe function of your dryer system. Unfortunately, it can often be hard to tell when you actually need to service your vents.

The good news is that the signs are actually pretty clear if you know what you’re looking for –many in fact are common gripes of dryer owners. To determine if you need to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, keep an eye out for:

Multiple Cycles Needed
When a dryer vent becomes clogged, it removes the dryer’s ability to rid itself of moisture effectively. This results in clothes that never really seem to get dry, or clothes that take more cycles than usual.

Musky / Damp Odors
If your clothing smells musty or slightly of mildew, it’s a good indication that moisture is hanging out in your clogged-up vents. This also often causes mold growth–another place the odor may be coming from.

Dryer Room Getting Hot
The venting process is designed to rid clothing of moisture, to move lint, and to siphon off heat. If your vent is dirty and too full, all of the heat your system produces winds up in your room, making even conditioned spaces sweltering.

Burning Smell
This is the worst-case scenario. If your dryer vent is too clogged with lint and debris, it can very possibly result in a fire! If you smell something burning when you run your dryer, shut down the system immediately.