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The importance of dryer vent cleaning and why you can’t hook up 3″ venting to a dryer

February 13, 2014

One of the most common problems we encounter on dryers is a complaint of no heat or poor heat. Both can be caused by issues with the dryer vent, as well as issues within the dryer. The dryer vent connects to the back of the dryer, and runs all the way to the outside of the house. It should be made up of 4″ diameter semi-rigid or rigid material in order to contain fire in case of accidental ignition. When the venting is clogged in some way, it makes it difficult for the dryer to properly exhaust the hot air and the moisture that has been extracted from the clothing. In one recent service call, we told the customer that the dryer vent was clogged, to which they replied, “No way. It’s a brand new house. We just moved in!” When we investigated further, we discovered that when the house was sided, they simply put the siding over the dryer vent outlet. The vent hood they dutifully attached on the face of the siding, but there was no hole for the air to pass through. This not only increased the drying time of the clothes by double or triple the normal amount of time, but also put their family at risk for a house fire.

In some cases we have encountered customers that have adapted their 4″ dryer vent down to a 3″ vent. They look similar, right? So shouldn’t it take just a bit longer to dry? Not so, the math shows. The area of a two-dimensional cross section of a 4-inch vent is determined by squaring the radius (2″x2″=4″) by pi, which equals approximately 12.56 inches area. When we do the same with a 3″ vent, we come up with only 7.07 inches area. Therefore, a 4″ vent has 78% percent greater area than the 3″ vent. With this information, it is exceedingly clear why you cannot hook up a 4″ dryer outlet to a 3″ vent and expect proper results.

If you’re in Omaha and you’re having trouble with your dryer not heating up well, you can always call the trusted experts at Nebraska Home Appliance both for dryer repair and vent cleaning. You can always call 402-399-0202 to schedule your dryer vent cleaning or dryer repair, or schedule online now on our website.