Why is My Dryer Taking So Long to Dry Clothes?

Dryers are a staple of modern laundry routines, providing convenience and efficiency in handling our clothes. However, when dryers begin to malfunction, causing clothes to take longer to dry, it can be a major inconvenience. This blog aims to explore the various reasons behind this common issue, offer practical solutions, and provide preventative maintenance tips to keep your dryer running smoothly. We’ll also cover related topics like dealing with a burning smell from the dryer and the importance of professional services, such as those offered by Swept Away Chimney in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties.

Common Dryer Issues

Before diving into the specifics, let’s briefly overview some common dryer issues that many homeowners encounter:

  1. Extended Drying Times: Dryer taking longer than usual to dry clothes.
  2. Dryer Not Drying Clothes Properly: Clothes remain damp or partially wet after a cycle.
  3. Burning Smell from Dryer: A noticeable burning odor during or after a drying cycle.
  4. Overheating: The dryer becomes excessively hot to the touch.
  5. Noisy Operation: Unusual sounds or vibrations during operation.

Each of these issues can stem from various causes, which we’ll explore in detail.

Extended Drying Times: Causes and Solutions

1. Clogged Dryer Vent

A clogged dryer vent is one of the most common reasons why dryers take longer to dry clothes. Over time, lint and debris accumulate in the vent, restricting airflow and causing the dryer to work harder and longer.


  • Regular Cleaning: Clean the dryer vent at least once a year. You can do this yourself using a dryer vent cleaning kit or hire a professional service like Swept Away Chimney if you’re in Pinellas, Hillsborough, or Pasco counties.
  • Professional Inspection: Have a professional inspect the vent system to ensure there are no obstructions or damages.

2. Lint Trap Obstruction

The lint trap catches lint and debris from clothes, but if not cleaned regularly, it can become obstructed, impeding airflow.


  • Frequent Cleaning: Clean the lint trap before or after every load. Remove the lint screen, clear the accumulated lint, and rinse it with water to remove any stubborn residue.

3. Overloading the Dryer

Loading the dryer with too many clothes can prevent proper tumbling and airflow, leading to extended drying times.


  • Proper Loading: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for load size. Ensure that clothes have enough space to tumble freely.

4. Improper Vent Installation

An improperly installed dryer vent can restrict airflow. Long or kinked vent hoses can cause similar issues.


  • Correct Installation: Ensure that the vent hose is as short and straight as possible. Use rigid or semi-rigid ducting instead of flexible plastic or foil ducts. If necessary, consult a professional for proper installation.

5. Dirty or Blocked Dryer Lint Filter

Even with regular lint trap cleaning, lint can accumulate in the lint filter and ductwork, reducing airflow and efficiency.


  • Periodic Inspection and Cleaning: Inspect and clean the lint filter and ductwork periodically. Use a vacuum or lint brush to remove any buildup.

6. Malfunctioning Dryer Parts

Internal components like the thermostat, heating element, or thermal fuse can malfunction, leading to longer drying times.


  • Professional Diagnosis and Repair: If you’ve addressed all other issues and your dryer is still not performing optimally, call a professional technician to diagnose and repair any faulty components.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

To keep your dryer running efficiently and avoid long drying times, follow these preventative maintenance tips:

  1. Clean the Lint Trap: Make it a habit to clean the lint trap before or after each load. This simple task can significantly improve your dryer’s efficiency by ensuring proper airflow.
  2. Inspect the Dryer Vent: Regularly check the dryer vent for any obstructions and clean it at least once a year. This helps prevent lint buildup that can restrict airflow and cause longer drying times.
  3. Check the Vent Termination: Ensure that where the vent terminates outside your home is clear of debris and opens properly when the dryer is running. Blockages in the termination can cause airflow issues and reduce dryer performance.
  4. Balance the Loads: Avoid overloading the dryer and follow the manufacturer’s load size recommendations. Proper load balance ensures clothes tumble freely, allowing for even drying.
  5. Schedule Professional Maintenance: Consider scheduling annual maintenance with a professional technician to inspect and service your dryer. Professional maintenance can identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.

Dryer Not Drying Clothes Properly

Sometimes, clothes come out of the dryer still damp or wet, even after a full cycle. Here are some common reasons and solutions:

1. Faulty Heating Element

A malfunctioning heating element means the dryer cannot generate enough heat to dry clothes properly.


  • Replace the Heating Element: This typically requires a professional technician to diagnose and replace the faulty element. Ensuring the heating element is working correctly is crucial for efficient drying.

2. Blower Wheel Issues

The blower wheel helps circulate hot air through the drum. If it’s damaged or obstructed, it can reduce airflow.


  • Inspect and Clean the Blower Wheel: Check for obstructions and clean the blower wheel. If it’s damaged, it may need to be replaced to restore proper airflow.

3. Thermostat Problems

A faulty thermostat can cause the dryer to overheat or underheat, affecting drying performance.


  • Replace the Thermostat: This is another repair that often requires a professional technician. A properly functioning thermostat is essential for maintaining the correct drying temperature.

4. Sensor Malfunctions

Modern dryers have moisture sensors that detect when clothes are dry. If these sensors malfunction, the dryer may shut off prematurely.


  • Clean or Replace Sensors: Ensure the sensors are clean and free of debris. If they are faulty, they may need to be replaced. Properly functioning sensors are vital for efficient drying cycles.

Burning Smell from Dryer

A burning smell from the dryer is a serious issue that should not be ignored, as it can indicate a fire hazard.

1. Lint Buildup

Lint buildup inside the dryer or vent system can ignite, causing a burning smell.


  • Immediate Cleaning: Turn off the dryer and unplug it. Clean the lint trap, vent, and any accessible areas inside the dryer. If the smell persists, contact a professional for a thorough inspection and cleaning.

2. Electrical Issues

Faulty wiring or electrical components can cause a burning smell.


  • Professional Inspection: Contact a professional technician immediately to inspect and repair any electrical issues. Electrical problems should always be handled by a professional to ensure safety.

3. Overheating

Overheating due to a clogged vent or malfunctioning parts can also produce a burning smell.


  • Address the Root Cause: Ensure the vent is clear and functioning correctly. Have a professional inspect the dryer for any malfunctioning components. Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent overheating.

The Importance of Professional Services

Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are essential to keep your dryer running efficiently and safely. Professional services, like those offered by Swept Away Chimney in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties, can provide comprehensive dryer vent cleaning and maintenance, ensuring your dryer operates at peak performance.

Benefits of Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning

  1. Improved Efficiency: Professional cleaning removes all lint and debris, improving airflow and reducing drying times.
  2. Enhanced Safety: Reduces the risk of dryer fires by eliminating lint buildup.
  3. Extended Appliance Lifespan: Regular maintenance helps prevent wear and tear on dryer components, extending the life of your appliance.
  4. Energy Savings: A clean and efficient dryer uses less energy, lowering your utility bills.


A dryer that takes too long to dry clothes can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem. However, by understanding the common causes and implementing the solutions discussed in this blog, you can restore your dryer’s efficiency and performance. Regular maintenance and proper usage are key to ensuring your dryer runs smoothly, saving you time, energy, and money in the long run. If you continue to experience issues, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance from services like Swept Away Chimney in the Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties. Remember, keeping your dryer in good condition is not just about convenience—it’s also about safety.

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