Do dryer vents need to be professionally cleaned? dryer vents are dangerous. We don’t usually think about our dryer vents. But if you don’t take care of them properly, they can cause some serious problems.
Many dryers have only a short amount of ductwork to vent to the exterior. However, others will vent through the roof or extend for dozens of feet before they reach the outside. Antenor says an HVAC professional will be able to save you time and do a better job of cleaning longer vents.
Attempting to clean a vent on your own can sometimes make the blockages even worse if your brush isn’t long enough to clear the entire length of the hose or duct. Instead, you’ll push the lint into a concentrated area in the middle of the vent.
Brush kits are sometimes insufficient for the job. They may even end up puncturing a dryer hose if you are not careful. Brushes can also get caught on the ridges of flexible ducts, at which point you’ll have to call in a professional to get this new obstacle out of the vent.
How to clean your dryer vent in 6 easy steps
Step 1: Find your vent
Before you can clean your dryer vent, you’ll need to figure out where it actually is. Dryers are usually connected to a short, 4-inch diameter exhaust pipe that then connects to ductwork inside a wall. Hot air from your dryer is pushed through this pipe and escapes through a vent on the outside wall of your home.
Once you’ve identified your outdoor dryer exhaust vent, take a peek inside and look for any debris, including dust, lint or even dead bugs. Wash any screens and clear out any noticeable obstructions.
Step 2: Carefully disconnect your dryer
Once you’ve figured out how your ducts work, you’re ready to unplug your dryer. Once that’s done, remove any metal tape or clamps that attach your dryer vent pipe to its exhaust. Be sure to apply a gentle pressure when pulling the vent pipe from the wall duct, so as not to break the pipe.
Step 3: Vacuum the lint
By now you should be able to get a clear look inside your dryer vent from inside your laundry room (or nook). Use the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner or shop vac to suck up any lint in or around the hole.
If you’ve got a handheld vacuum, you can repeat this process on the outside duct. Otherwise, try to clear debris manually from outside.
Step 4: Get in there with a brush
Attach the dryer brush from your vent cleaning kit to your power drill and insert the brush end of the rod into your duct. Push the brush as far back as you possibly can, bearing in mind that you might need to delicately maneuver the hose attachment depending on the route your duct takes.
If you’re unable to thread the brush through the entirety of your duct, or if your brush simply doesn’t extend that long, try inserting the brush head in the outside duct as well.
Step 5: Clean up and reconnect
At this point, you’ve likely unearthed a treasure trove of lint. You’ll want to use a vacuum cleaner or broom and dustpan to sweep away your new fluffy friends.
Next, plug your dryer into the outlet and reconnect your wall duct.
One catch, though: if your dryer uses a soft foil-style vent to link to its wall duct, you’ll want to replace it with something sturdier. A 90-degree, fire-resistant aluminum elbow will suffice, while also providing superior airflow. You can buy them from Home Depot for just under $5.
Step 6: Celebrate
You did it! Cleaning out a dryer vent may not be glamorous work but you rose to the challenge and for that you deserve a victory lap. Turn on your dryer and listen as the air flows smoothly out the vent—the sweet sound of success. No more damp clothes, no more endless cycles. And you did it all on your own.