Cleaning Dryer Vents
Cleaning Dryer Vents
We live in a four story condo. All the clothes dryer vent hose is flexible plastic. It runs horizontally and is about 20 feet in length. The outside vent is a three flap louvered design. The problem is that the vents are plugging and in some cases filling with lint. What do we need to do? By the way, the piping is not accessible.
Twenty feet is a not-uncommon length but far beyond the manufacturer's recommended length for any dryer I have seen. This long distance promotes the accumulation of lint, since it will settle onto the sides of the pipe long before the air flow reaches the outside. Eventually, enough lint will accumulate so that it will begin to break off in pieces from the lining of the hose and appear in chunks at the outside vent cover.
The standard technique for cleaning a lint-filled but inaccessible dryer vent hose is to blow it out with a powerful stream of air from a source of high volume air. No... bringing in a gabby neighbor is not enough... I mean REAL force! Unplug the dryer and move it out of the way and disconnect the vent hose from the dryer. Using a small hand-held electric leaf blower (buy or rent), insert the business end in the hose and turn on the blower. Wrapping the connection of the leaf blower and the hose with a towel will help make a better seal and force more air into the hose.
Careful with that electric blower! If you allow it to run it too long under stress caused by the resistance within the dryer vent hose, it may overheat. This risk increases if the outside vent flapper becomes clogged as your are working! Also be sure that the blower's air intake doesn't become blocked by the towel or other material. Be aware that some of these leaf blowers have their intake on the bottom and when placed on the floor may become restricted. And please don't use a gasoline blower in the home under any circumstances!
Properly done, this procedure will force any loose material to exit the outside vent. I suspect that your vent hose is loaded with lint and the louvers will become blocked quickly during the cleaning process. Now, the ideal situation is to REMOVE the louvered vent BEFORE you blow. Unfortunately, most concealed installations don't allow you to do that without cutting an access hole in a wall or ceiling to get behind the vent cover. The solution is to select a brave and courageous partner... wearing appropriately grungy clothing and eye protection... to clear the vent with a pencil or other blunt instrument... carefully... while you blow! (Your buddy could puncture that old plastic vent hose with an inappropriate jab!)
A word to the wise... make sure your trusty assistant isn't standing in line with the vent when you FIRST turn on the blower or they may get a face full of old stale lint. Yechh.
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here www.naturalhandyman.com/aitikia
For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links www.naturalhandyman.com
If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page www.naturalhandyman.com/friends
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles www.naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library www.naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop www.naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at www.naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at www.naturalhandyman.com/contest
Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at www.naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Also in Home
- Financial benefits to living in a mobile or manufactured home
- Repurposing an entertainment center
- How to renew your home's doors
- 10 things you don't want to get caught doing in your closet
- Planning your summer garden
- The natural feeding of roses
- Removing mold from your walls
- 6 reasons you shouldn't overimprove your home
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 7 green ways to save money on laundry
- 6 things to do before you buy a home
- 6 ways to save on home heating
- 7 ghastly critters that will eat your house
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?