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The Home Depot

Ins and Outs of Cleaning Dryer Vents

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Cleaning > Ins and Outs of Cleaning Dryer Vents
Ins and Outs of Cleaning Dryer Vents

Every year about 16-people die because their dryer started a tragic house fire. Not only that, around 20-thousand laundry rooms went up in smoke, citing a clothes dryer as the device causing the blaze. Failure to clean the lint from the vents is the leading reason of home fires, clocking in at 29%.


There are some signs that things aren’t right:


• When you touch the dryer it feels hot, really hot


• The laundry room has this burnt smell to it


• The flapper on the exit vent outside doesn’t flap the way it used to


• Clothes come out of the unit a little on the damp-side


• It takes much longer for the clothes to fully dry


• At the end of the cycle, the clothing remains very hot


• The laundry room starts to resemble a wet sauna

  1. Considering it’s not that hard to clean a dryer vent, this is a project that can (and should) be done regularly.


    We’re talking serious business here with something that most people think they never have to mess-around with. Considering it’s not that hard to clean a dryer vent, this is a project that can (and should) be done regularly. Here’s how to do it:


    • Disconnect the dryer completely from the gas intake hose and the power outlet. This means you’ll have to shut-off the gas if you have one that heats using that source of energy


    • Slide-out the dryer from its location by about 2-feet. Be careful not to disconnect the vent hose just yet


    • Loosen the clamp that connects the hose to the unit


    • Reach as far as you can into the back of the dryer hole where the hose was connected and pull-out as much of the lint-buildup as possible. If you have a vacuum cleaner near-by, use that to extract the fluffy-stuff


    • Another place where you’d like to employ the vacuum is in the hose. Suck out all the lint that you can


    • Most of the junk is going to be near the two ends of the tubing. Occasionally, you’ll find a clog in the center. Under those circumstances a plumber’s snake, a long dowel or a straightened coat-hanger will do the trick. Be careful not to puncture the hose when you’re using these home-made extraction tools


    • Reconnect the tubing to the dryer and place the dryer back where it used to be


    • Go outside and check the vent. If it’s caulked to the wall, remove the caulk. If it’s screwed to the wall, remove the screws. Most likely there’s an inflexible sleeve where the hose connects. Bring that out, but try not to disconnect the hose from the sleeve


    • Repeat the same process as you performed inside the house. Bring the vacuum cleaner outside and start sucking


    • Time to plug the dryer back in and turn on the gas


    • Run the dryer on the “air dry” setting. Let it run, empty, for about 15-minutes. This should blow any uncaptured lint outside


    • Inspect the outside exit of the vent. If everything seems to be running clearly, caulk or screw the vent back into place


    Let’s imagine that everything you just did epically failed. No sweat. There’s this other invention called rope. Simply string it outside around 5-feet up from one tree to another tree that’s about 20-feet away.


    This groundbreaking device is called a “clothesline.”

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