Dryer Vent Cleaning Process

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-07-20, 07:25 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 76
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Dryer Vent Cleaning Process

Hello, I was wondering if it would be a bad practice to clean a dryer vent without removing the exterior cap?

My second story dryer vents through 12í of concealed rigid duct through the roof. It would avoid having to get a ladder to go on the roof.

I was considering one of those brush kits that attach to flexible rods and a drill to clean mine out. Iím assuming the vent cap has a damper or rodent guard. I could use the blower from my shop vac or electric leaf blower at the end as well.

This would be a routine cleaning, havenít experienced any issues. Itís just been one year since it was installed and I figured it would be a good idea to clean it.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-07-20, 08:25 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,078
Received 1,110 Votes on 1,030 Posts
I remember someone mentioning a leaf blower to blow it out.

My concern would be if there was a screen at the cap becoming clogged from the lint.
I'd use one of those long handled brushes and a shop vac at the bottom to draw the lint out as it is dislodged.
 
  #3  
Old 10-07-20, 09:00 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 76
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yeah I picked up one of those long handle brushes. I like the idea of trying to bring as much back down and just vacuum it up.

Thereís tons of leaf blower suggestions all over the internet. I definitely donít like that as the primary method for the reason you mentioned. If anything do it at the very end (after the brush).

I was just worried about the brush not being able to get the last few inches (if there are any screens or something). I might just be overthinking it for a routine cleaning though. Maybe do the basic brush every year and every 2-3 years actually climb up on the roof to get a better visual.
 
  #4  
Old 10-07-20, 11:58 PM
ferd42's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: United States
Posts: 159
Received 13 Votes on 13 Posts
I did a project on my dryer and determined the worst buildup was in the flex connecting the dryer to the wall stack. Second worst was the dryer's internal duct (forget what it's called) connecting the dryer compartment to the flex.

I'd be surprised if there's a screen, but the roof cap probably has a backdraft damper that should be checked.
 
  #5  
Old 10-08-20, 01:37 AM
Marq1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA MI
Posts: 6,527
Received 367 Votes on 342 Posts
I have never seen a screen on a dryer vent, that would simply be a disaster waiting to happen.

You should also not have any type of "flex" hose, especially the plastic duct!

The cleanliness of your duct line is directly related to the length and number of bends.

A short straight duct is probably never going to get dirty, a 25' length with multiple bends will need cleaning more often!
 
  #6  
Old 10-08-20, 05:41 AM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 76
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I do plan on cleaning out the inside of the dryer too. There is a short piece of metal semi-rigid flex duct connecting the dryer to the vertical rigid vent inside the wall. The semi-rigid duct is stamped UL-2158A so I wasnít worried about using it, maybe I should be? I would clean this piece out too when itís all torn apart.

The vertical rigid piece is just 12í vertical to the roof vent, so Iíd hope nothing should build up too much. Still want to just brush it out as a precaution.

I wish I had a ladder to reach the roof and I can just confirm what the situation is. Like you said thereís probably a damper or something that has potential to clog...if it was convenient to get to Iíd do it at the same time. Since itís not, and itís only been a year since installing, I was hoping that the damper/vent could be deferred to an every other or every 3-year type of maintenance...if not Iíll just bite the bullet and borrow a ladder to do it 100%.



 
  #7  
Old 10-08-20, 09:31 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,821
Received 96 Votes on 75 Posts
Just a guess but I would bet that the majority of homes have some sort of flexible dryer duct and shame on the big box stores that stock the plastic and tin foil ducts alongside the code compliant ones.

I replaced my semi rigid with DryerFlex. A bit less flexible than semi rigid but I like the fire rating. Supposedly it will contain a lint fire until the flammables are consumed.



 
  #8  
Old 10-08-20, 12:06 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 76
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It is mind boggling how things that arenít code compliant are not only sold right next to it, but marketed as a dryer vent. Clearly the consumer is going to go with the cheapest option, most of the time.

Thatís why I want to make this an annual maintenance item. Just gives some piece of mind. Even though my semi-rigid vent is all aluminum, I feel better knowing it isnít full of lint.

Itís just easier with some sort of flexible connector back there for moving it out and back to the wall. While googling this, I found some sort of magnetic vent...it appears to use rigid pipes with the ability of a magnet union so that the dryer can be pulled out and pushed back. No clue if itís code compliant, but it doesnít seem worth the $75 they are selling it for. At least not for me. Itís not like I move the dryer in and out regularly.
 
  #9  
Old 10-08-20, 11:28 PM
ferd42's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: United States
Posts: 159
Received 13 Votes on 13 Posts
The UL-2158A is an approved dryer transition duct (Dryer Flex also carries that rating). I hooked mine up with an adjustable elbow at the dryer connection to reduce crimping. I also cut a dryer box into the wall behind the dryer to eliminate a bend at the rigid duct.
 
  #10  
Old 10-09-20, 06:18 AM
pugsl's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 9,029
Received 74 Votes on 67 Posts
I repaired dryers for many years and my standard answer to customers was to clean it each year. Have the cleaning company tell you how much lint they pulled out and if after a year or so and they did not pull a lot out then go to every other year. seemed to work for my customers. the best duct is the hard ducting but a lot of houses don't have room for that. my second option was the foil type. the only problem with that is dryer can get pushed back and crush the vent tube.
A dirty vent is the most common reason for dryer failures
 
  #11  
Old 10-09-20, 07:26 AM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,746
Received 95 Votes on 84 Posts
I'd just use the shop vac, and alternate between vacuum and blow.
BUT, double check the roof vent binoculars or zoom in with a cellphone, to see if there are any flaps which would close if you apply a vacuum, or screens, that might plug up when you apply pressure.
 
  #12  
Old 10-09-20, 05:27 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 76
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks! My home also has the dryer box so there isn’t a bend in the rigid pipe at the wall.

I think I’m going to proceed with the brush and vacuum method and just see what comes out. At the end I’ll use the blower on the shop vac just in case. An even better idea would be to pick up an inspection camera and use it to see the top from the inside.
 
  #13  
Old 10-09-20, 05:43 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,078
Received 1,110 Votes on 1,030 Posts
You have a dryer box with removable screen ?
You shouldn't have much of an issue with lint.
 
  #14  
Old 10-10-20, 04:53 AM
ferd42's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: United States
Posts: 159
Received 13 Votes on 13 Posts
A wall box, not a "Dryer Box".
 
  #15  
Old 10-10-20, 08:55 AM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,746
Received 95 Votes on 84 Posts
An even better idea would be to pick up an inspection camera and use it to see the top from the inside.
I've use an old smart phone running "IP Webcam" application to relay live video to a laptop.
You can also just hit "record video" and try that.
 
  #16  
Old 10-15-20, 09:30 AM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 76
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hey everyone! Just wanted to post a follow up / final thank you.

I cleaned the vent this morning. A neighbor actually had a bore scope so I ran that up the interior rigid pipe. It was spotless, including the damper at the top. I still ran the vent brush up it and just a small amount of lint came down.

The real shock was the dryer itself. We clean the lint filter each load, but there was still a ton of lint accumulated at the bottom of the front cover (below the lint screen and before the fan/blower).

GE definitely didnít do me any favors as far as dissembling the unit, but I got the front cover off and vacuumed up all the lint so itís good as new again! I have a crevice tool/flex hose but itís just barely too big to fit down there with everything assembled.

Thanks again for the conversation & all the tips/advice along the way. Hopefully this thread helps someone else out when they search for the same topic.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: