Why & How to Clean A Dryer Duct

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Learn How To Clean A Dryer Duct

How to Clean Dryer Duct - Cleaning Lint

When you consider that 15,000 fires start in the laundry room every year and account for $97 million in properly loss, usually due to lint build-up in the clothes dryer or a clogged dryer duct, it makes you wonder why we don’t do something about it.  And then when you realize that these fires result in 10 deaths and 310 injuries per year (according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission), I just shake my head.   Can you imaging if this happened to your family?  Your children?

Instead of fretting do something – clean your dryer ducts!

Before getting into the specifics of how to clean a dryer duct, there are a few preventative measures I want to remind you of.  First, you should clean the lint trap every time you use the dryer.  Failure to clean the lint trap is the most likely cause of massive lint build up.  Second, install an all-metal dryer duct piping to help prevent dryer fires.  Flexible foil or plastic dryer ducts are dangerous because they tend to sag and build up lint in the low points and can deteriorate faster than metal piping.

How to Know if Your Dryer is Blocked

Clogged dryer vents force your dryer to work harder and greatly increases the time it takes to dry your clothes – up to 2 or 3 times more!  This, in turn, wastes energy and increases your operating and energy costs!  Follow the tips below to know if your dryer is operating at less than ideal efficiency.

  • It takes a long time to dry your clothing.
  • Clothing is hotter than usual at the end of the drying cycle.
  • The vent flap on outside vent hood does not open when dryer is on.
  • The dryer shuts off early, before the timer ends its drying cycle.

Click here to read more tips on how to increase the efficiency of your dryer and reduce the risk of fire.

Learning How To Clean A Dryer Duct

No matter how diligent you are about cleaning the lint trap and even if you have metal piping, clothes dryer vents still need to be periodically cleaned to remove the build up of lint and other obstructions.  It is important to establish an annual dryer duct cleaning schedule and it’s actually not as hard as you’d think.  You can purchase a dryer duct kit online or at your local hardware store for only around $40.

How to Clean Dryer Duct - Using Brush

These kits are designed to be used with a drill.   An auger brush attaches to a flexible rod to allow both air and loosened lint to pass through the durable bristles for easy lint removal.  The brush head is bendable so it can conform to tight spaces and has a plastic round nose that allows it to navigate in and around pipe elbows.  The self-feeding auger brush and flexible rod scours the entire vent wall surface.

How to Clean Dryer Duct - Auger Brush

The flexible rods are typically 36″ long and you can use this length to determine approximately how many rods you will need. A kit typically comes with enough flexible rods to clean a 12 foot duct.

How to Clean Dryer Duct - Flexible Rod

Click here to read my step-by-step dryer duct cleaning instructions

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Robert Robillard is the editor of the blog, A Concord Carpenter, Assistant Editor of Tool Box Buzz and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. Rob hosts the Concord Carpenter... Read more

8 comments on “Why & How to Clean A Dryer Duct

  1. lsproperty

    This is a simple preventative measure every home owner should do at least twice a year. I’m glad you mentioned using rigid ducting. I can’t remember how many flex pipes I’ve removed that are totally clogged with lint.
    I also recommend a metal or high quality damper style vent cap instead of those cheap plastic louvered type. They tend to trap lint and cause the vent to stay open or not open completely. Bottom line, keep it clean.

  2. Robert Robillard Post author

    John – That $40 expense will save your life and will make you money and good will if your using it for your customers.

    Jason – get-er done Brother!

    MattP – I try to educate my clients about dryer fires and also offer the service to clean them. I’m saving money and staying employed during the slower months…

    thanks guys – ROB

  3. Barry

    This idea seems like it is good, but can it be done on a cheap non medal dryer vent like I think my builder used to save money.

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