It's not often you
hear a clogged dryer vent line was the reason a home burned to the ground.
Believe it or not, this does happen. As a radio home host I get questions and articles
sent to me from different parts of country. Over the years I have read stories about lint
clogged in dryer vent lines causing a fire.
Single family homes vent to an outside wall
and normally its a very short run, which is not a problem. Having said that, did you
know you should inspect and clean your dryer-vent line once a year? Dried lint can be very
combustible. Regular cleaning can prevent potential problems and/or a possible fire.
Whoever does the laundry at home knows how much lint is removed once a week in the lint
filter. Its normally a sizable hand full; at least it is when I remove the lint from
my dryer filter.
When you have the opportunity, pull your
dryer back from the wall and look at all the lint and dust behind your dryer and on the
floor. Now would be a good time to remove the dryer vent-flex-hose connection from the
wall vent and see if its clean and free of lint.
If you have a gas dryer, the dryer-vent
line should be made of metal rigid vent piping. Building codes today have virtually made
it mandatory in all states that dryer-vent lines are to be made of metal rigid vent
Townhomes and quad-plex construction can
sometimes be designed where a dryer-vent line can be a difficult line to install in an
outside wall. Many have to route the line into the attic and over to the soffit or between
the floors to the outside. Most building codes dont allow builders to exceed more
than a 20 run to the outside wall. If for some reason you have a concern about how
far to install a dryer-vent pipe, call your local building department. They are always
happy to answer questions on the local building codes. I have always enjoyed working with
the inspectors; they are there to protect the consumers and help assist the builder
regarding local and state building codes and/or recent changes in the codes.
Over the years I've received questions on
my radio home show like, "How do I clean my 17 dryer-vent pipe line--its
full of lint? Heres what I have found that works for me. Get a toilet snake like the
roto-rooter then attach a big sock, maybe a small towel or large rag to the end. The big
thing is to make the sock or rag large enough to clean the line walls, at the same time
not to come off your probe while pushing through the line. You sure dont want a
bigger problem if the rag gets stuck in the line. I have used duct tape combined with a
thin wire attaching the rag or sock firmly to the end of roto-rooter.
You might have to remove the outside
dryer-vent cap cover to allow pushing the sock or rag through the line. Also look at your
outside caps. It, too, could be full of lint. Once this cleaning process is completed you
should have removed any and all lint in the vent line.
Ive also heard of carpet cleaning
companies using a long vacuum hose pushing it in all the way to the end of vent line.
Using a professional cleaning service or (DIY) do-it-yourself with which ever method you
choose, dont overlook checking or cleaning your dryer-vent line yearly. With the hot
summer around the corner and the heat build-up inside your dryer-vent line, dont run
the risk of a dryer vent nightmare. Nows the time to do your line cleaning. Again,
short running lines to the outside walls or long dryer-vent lines, both should be checked
and cleaned yearly for your protection.