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Dryer Vent Cleaning Basics

Whether you would like to try to DIY your dryer vent cleaning service or hire a professional, there are a few things you should certainly consider. Understanding the basics of dryer vent cleaning is extremely important to make sure you’ve done a good enough job. Let’s run through some of the basics, and if you still need help, we would love to help! 

1) Cleaning With Agitation

Oftentimes you will see videos or articles online about homeowners cleaning their dryer vent with a leaf blower or vacuum. There is a lot of misinformation about this, so it’s important we set the record straight!

While forced air through your dryer vent may dislodge some debris and lint, it is unlikely this will thoroughly clean your vent. Over time, lint and debris becomes stuck to the outer surface of the dryer vent. This caked on lint cannot be removed simply by blowing air through the vent. This is where agitation comes into play. 

In order to thoroughly clean the dryer vent, we need to agitate, shake, and scrape the lint and debris away. This ensures the vent is thoroughly cleaned and all of the debris gets pushed out of the vent. We typically run our brush and rod kit through the vent multiple times, with multiple attachments to ensure we get everything!

2) More Than Just Cleaning

When you decide to DIY your dryer vent cleaning, it is important to consider a few other things. First, it is extremely important to take an initial anemometer reading to determine the airflow coming out of your vent. This will give you a solid baseline of how clogged and restricted your dryer vent really is. Typically, your dryer should be venting out air at the speed of 1500 feet/minute. If your dryer vent is pushing out air at a significantly lower velocity, you may have a highly restrictive clog.

Once you are finished cleaning, you should take another anemometer reading to see how much improvement you have gotten. This will ensure that you can rest at ease knowing you are safe with adequate airflow coming out of your dryer vent.

3) Clean Your Lint Trap!

One part of the dryer that is often overlooked is the inside of your lint trap. No – I am not talking about the little lint screen that you pull out before each cycle of drying. I mean INSIDE the lint trap area. This often requires you to remove the lint screen, then use a vacuum with a long, short tube to suck up the debris and lint. You may also need a long wire brush to agitate and knock off some of the stuck lint on the walls of the dryer. 

This is an often-missed location for cleaning, so it is important that if you are tackling this job alone, that you clean this part out! It does not take long, but the stuck debris in the lint trap area can reduce airflow and can only lead to an increased risk of a fire. 

4) Inspect Your Vent

Too often the material used for your actual dryer vent are insufficient for dryer safety and airflow. You may notice that your dryer vent behind your dryer is a flimsy, foil like material or a white vinyl material. These should be immediately discarded and upgraded with semi rigid duct or hard duct. 

Oftentimes the slinky, flimsy foil is actually less than 4″ which is the standard for maximizing airflow. The flimsy slinky foil is also extremely flammable, prone to getting crushed, and will hold debris and lint better than semi-rigid ducting. When you are cleaning your dryer vent by yourself, these are just a few other things to consider outside of the cleaning alone.

5) How Long Is Your Run?

It is important to determine how long your dryer vent run is. If it is longer than 35 feet, you may need to conduct a dryer vent re-route to shorten the overall length. This will help increase airflow and reduce the risk of a house fire. One thing to note, however, is figuring out how many 90 degree elbows are present in your run. Each 90 degree elbow adds 5 feet to the overall length. If you have 90 elbows, you need to add a total of 15′ to the length which adds up quickly!

If you need help figuring out if a re-route is needed, you can contact us and we would be happy to help!

Final Thoughts

When you watch videos online or read how-to articles for dryer vent cleaning, make sure you are gathering as much information as possible. These few points made above are a great starting point to make sure you cover everything. Dryer vent cleaning is more than just cleaning the debris from the vent. Inspections need to be conducted to make sure all of your materials and venting are up to code, efficiently operating, and most of all – are safe!