DIY Dryer Vent Cleaning Ideas – It’s no argument that laundry is part of vital activities in our life, which is why some homeowners can’t imagine not having a washer dryer at home. However, maintaining the cleanliness of the dryer vent is also super important to ensure the machine’s endurance and keep the house safe. How so?
Let’s start with the basic questions like:
- Does it recently come to your attention that your dryer is taking longer to dry the clothes?
- Have you checked the dryer vents in the past few weeks?
- Are you concerned about some kind of buildup in the dryer vent?
- Do you own a dryer vent cleaning kit?
- Do you know how to maintain the cleanliness of your dryer vents at home properly?
If the answer to the questions above is mostly “no”, then we advise you to start checking it up—just to be safe.
You probably will be surprised upon discovering the fact that dirty and unmaintained dryer vents can be responsible for up to 15,500 home fires every year! It also leads to nearly 30 deaths, 400 injuries, and $200 million property loss per year. When it’s not about those circumstances, debris-filled dryer vents can raise the laundry machine’s drying time as well as energy costs.
While it sounds scary, proper and regular dryer vent cleaning can prevent this from happening—hence keeping you, your family, and your house safe. Are you perhaps interested in starting to install your own washer and dryer; thus, you’re reading this for the sake of gaining the first glimpse first? Worry not; we have listed all the updated information about the dryer vent just right down below.
- 1 Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit
- 2 Indoor Dryer Vent
- 3 Magnetic Dryer Vent
- 4 How to Clean Dryer Vent?
- 5 Dryer Vent Installation
- 6 ~ Dryer Safety Tips
- 7 Closing
How often should a dryer vent cleaning be cleaned?
Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit
Before diving right to the cleaning process, it’s apparent that you should prepare the dryer vent cleaning kit first.
The kit, in general, always comes with a lint brush and a set of connectible flexible segments. A specialized version kit—roughly meaning that there is something for everyone out there—will help clean your dryer vent duct more effectively. For instance, there’s one consisting of a lint brush and six 2-foot-long (around 61-cm-long) flexible segments, which can be joined together into a rod spanning up to 12 feet (approximately 366 cm).
It’s why your survey on finding suitable dryer vent cleaning kits will depend on the length of your dryer ducts. A durable cleaning kit can even improve your dryer performance and extend its life, thanks to its constant effectiveness in eliminating frequent lint buildup.
The cleaning kit, on the other hand, can further be supported with a power drill. While this method is optional, using a power drill to create a rotating movement during the cleaning is something done by many homeowners. Usually, there are simple instructions you can follow.
Indoor Dryer Vent
Indoor dryer vents are another style besides the outdoor version, which is the more common one. However, the indoor ones basically also perform the same function, although somewhat differently.
As you probably have known, dryer vents are devised to help release excess heat that’s produced during the drying process. An outdoor dryer vent indeed brings all that heat outside, while an indoor one will blow into whenever you put your washer dryer or laundry machine.
Condominium, apartment, or small homeowners love this system, as they don’t need to work on external venting. Note, however, that venting a clothes dryer inside the home can actually contribute to high levels of mold and humidity levels. It’s why some indoor dryer vent models have provided a specialized lint trap or filter system that helps you clean lint up quickly and efficiently.
Note that the limitation when it comes to an indoor one is that it’s only workable with electric dryers, and no other else. Hence, anything like gas dryers will be very harmful. The exhaust comes out of it contains carbon monoxide, which should be released away from our home all the time. And we all know how dangerous this colorless gas is!
Magnetic Dryer Vent
Magnetic dryer vents are pretty innovative products when you want a more efficient installation or cleaning procedure of your dryer hose. While general dryer hoses require clamping with a tight seal to ensure no leak, magnetic dryer vents indeed use a magnet to create a dynamic, pulling force.
With little crimped dryer ductwork, using this type of vent allows you to move your dryer around much easier as well. To get the vent disconnected, the magnet will just release when you put in a little pressure. Moreover, many homeowners state that magnetic types even improve their machine’s drying time and airflow—hence money-saving!
This magnetic attachment makes for a secure and tight seal, which will, in turn, also absorb vibration. The complete procedure of installing a dryer vent will be explained later on, but the magnetic one basically works like this:
- Hold the mounting bracket to the wall centered on the wall exit point.
- Mark the screw hole locations on the wall.
- Screw the included self-tapping wall anchors into the marked locations.
- Hold the bracket in position following the drilled anchors, and then carefully drive the mounting screws (included as well) into them all.
- Insert and press the “tail piece” of the magnetic dryer vent into the wall exit point.
- Extend and push the hose into position.
- Wait until the vent cap powerful magnet is completely self-aligned with the hose end.
If you’re looking for a dryer vent that’s built to last, perhaps you can consider a magnetic one instead.
How to Clean Dryer Vent?
Hiring a professional appliance cleaning service may be a bit expensive if done regularly. Here’s the step-by-step of DIY dryer vent cleaning process at home (do note though that consulting professionals are always highly recommended in some steps):
· Prepare the Tools
Bring up the gear, such as screwdrivers to tighten clamps, UL-listed metal foil duct tape to seal duct sections, dryer vent brush kit, and a vacuum cleaner. The brush kit can be customized with a power drill, which is optional since you can connect it to the brush kit and turn it on to create a temporary rotating cleaning device. A long, flexible narrow hose attachment should be one set with the vacuum.
· Make Sure the Dryer’s Off
Disconnect the dryer’s power cord from the outlet before pulling the machine away from the wall, hence exposing its vent and hose. For gas dryers, you need to turn off the dryer’s gas or propane valve. Dealing with gas-run dryers requires extra caution since the gas line is susceptible to leak when you accidentally disturb it.
· Inspect the Duct’s Both Ends
It’s essential to know the details of your washer’s ductwork, although most backside of the dryers usually have a compact-sized exhaust. Through an aluminum elbow, this structure then builds up the ductwork. These pipes are where heat ventures and gets out of the house, which will happen through a hole on a wall outside.
· Disconnect the Dryer Ductwork
Grab your screwdrivers to start dismounting any screws and clamps before getting out the dryer vent pipe completely from the exhaust. The same also goes with the metal tape.
· Get the Lint Dislodged
Grab your cleaning kit and bring it into the ductwork. If you’re using a power drill, it’ll do its job for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to spin it manually while pushing the brush down the ducts. Add or remove the cleaning kit segment if necessary, as long as it can dislodge or loosen the lint along the whole canals without giving you much difficulty.
· Vacuum Everything!
Now grab your vacuum hose before turning on the machine and vacuum all that lint inside (heads up: it’s going to bulky!). The long, narrow hose can reach the deep parts flexibly—hence reaching both ends quite helpfully. Repeat this as necessary, and re-check everything again until there’s little to no existing lint left.
· Hook Everything Back Up
After placing everything back in place, plug the dryer in and turn it on first as an initial trial. This process is recommended to ensure you indeed have set and connected everything properly as well as ensure there’s no leak as well. The owner of New York-based Woodstock Hardware, Vince Christofora, also states, “Bad connections can lead to problems later on.”
Moreover, don’t just check the inside part. The outside part of your dryer vent should be well fastened and working properly as well because you don’t want it to cause overheat, have pests entering the home, or raise your energy costs.
With this process in mind, always call a professional if or when:
- You’re unsure of how to turn off gas-run dryers.
- You can’t access the dryer vent.
- You have difficulties connecting or disconnecting the dryer ductworks.
- Problems arise after finishing cleaning up the vent and turning on the machine.
Dryer Vent Installation
Are you perhaps interested in starting to install your own dryer vent after knowing its types and cleaning kit, as well as how easy it is to clean it? This particular appliance indeed is a helpful feature for your dryer to operate effectively and safely.
For a more straightforward installation as well as a cheaper option, experts suggest using semi-rigid or rigid hose instead of metal or vinyl, as they’re prone to fire hazard. Both rigid and semi-rigid ones come inexpensive with various diameters appropriate for your dryer. Interestingly, again, only parts of the dryer vent system may look visible in some homes.
· Set the Path of Your Ventilation Duct Later
Everyone’s house structure is different. Based on where you place your dryer, you’ll need to route the ductwork flow appropriately to the house’s exterior. In short: the shorter, the better! It also needs to be practical so that you don’t have a hard time cleaning it out. Note in mind that the total length of the run shouldn’t go over 25 feet (around 7.6 meters).
· Prepare the Exterior Wall Hole
Now that the path is all set up, it’s time to patch up a hole in a wall outside your house—around 4.25 inches (or 10.8 cm) wide. That number works for general appliances, but you should also follow the instructions provided by the dryer vent’s manufacturer.
Before starting the hole drilling process, it’s super important to always check for any possible buried live electrical wires in the wall first. This warning also applies with magnetic dryer vents, since you’ll drive the screws into the drywall first to mount the bracket.
· Install the Dryer Vent Cap
After the exterior hole is prepared, get the dryer vent cap and attach the pipe securely through it with screws. Caulking around the edges is also essential, as you want to protect it against the elements.
It’s essential to have a proper dampened exterior cover to ensure sound dryer ventilation systems. Installing this can also help prevent small insects, birds, pests, and rainwater from coming inside the machine. Some homeowners have already had problems with birds making a nest inside the pipes. Moreover, don’t make it into a screen since it will block the lint and heat from coming out correctly.
Depending on the ductwork path you have set earlier, you may also need to prepare a 90-degree elbow and hose clamp when connecting the dryer duct from inside to this vent cap pipe.
· Connect the Dryer’s Exhaust Outlet to The Vent Opening
The gap from your dryer’s exhaust outlet (usually located at the back of the machine) should now be connected to the vent opening inside. Consider any turns in the ductwork if necessary, but you can also make it a lot easier by moving the dryer as close as possible to the vent opening.
Take into account any baseboards or other wooden surfaces that can possibly block the connection. If you encounter them, just cut it out according to the hose diameter size. Don’t forget to have your foil tape ready as well when there are several joints.
Be careful never to use plastic ducting or any other ducts not provided by the product manufacturer, too. Regardless of whether you use an outdoor or indoor dryer vent, plastic ducting will always pose a potential fire hazard.
· Test Your Installation
Now that everything is set, you should test it first by turning on the dryer and inspect the pipe inside as well as the hole outside. The vent cap outside should be emitting warm air. If it’s not, there’s probably something wrong with the pipe connection or incorrect installation part.
~ Dryer Safety Tips
To conclude this reading, we want to offer you several tips to take care of and maintain your dryer so that it works okay for a long time:
· Clean the Lint Filter Before or After Every Load
This tip may sound like a hassle, mainly when you do laundry often. However, every time your machine works, there’ll always be lint, which will, in turn, decrease the airflow and cause a blockage. Once it’s built up, you probably will deal with big, clumpy dust all over! Think of it as cholesterol in the human body system: the less you exercise or eat something healthy to remove it, the more it’s going to build up and damage the body.
· Never Leave the Dryer Unattended
Try to be around whenever you’re doing laundry or the dryer’s on, just in case.
· Know How to Deal with Gas Dryer
Because this kind of dryers run on natural gas, disconnecting the power before you start cleaning the dryer vent should be done carefully in order not to disturb the gas line. You don’t want it to start leaking and cause a fire hazard!
· Keep the Dryer Area Away of Clutter
Pay special attention to fabrics, plastics, liquids, or anything flammable nearby, and try to keep them away from the machine as far as possible.
· Watch What You Put in the Machine
There’s a reason why certain clothes or items can and can’t be cleaned in a laundry machine. Refrain from putting in any kind of rubber material, since it’s combustible and indeed isn’t meant to be dried at a high temperature. Moreover, be careful when soaking fabrics in sanitizing solution, since it’s also combustible once dried or after the laundry finishes.
The bottom line is that you should always consult a professional appliance repair service for any assistance with any washer dryer issues!
That’s all you need to know about the dryer vent and how to clean and install it! We hope we have provided everything you need to know about this particular appliance. The importance of taking good care of your washer-dryer or laundry machine as well as its dryer components is super high. It’s also recommended to consult a professional when you encounter issues or obstacles upon dealing with it. Happy cleaning (and installing)!