Cleaning In-Wall Drier Vent????????HELP??????

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Our clothes drier isn't very old and over the last year has slowly taken more and more time to dry a load of clothes. The drier appears fully functional, the heat seems to get quite hot, and we keep the lint trap cleaned. We're suspecting the duct might be clogged up. The round flexible drier duct hooks up to an outlet in the utility room at the base of the wall. We're assuming there is some sort of duct running up thru the wall and I have seen the round duct coming from the wall up to the duct going thru the roof.
Just not sure how to go about tackling trying to clean this out.
Any hints or things to watch out for?
Thanks!
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why not disconnect dryer then vacuum out the duct? tape up the hose for better suction?

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GREAT idea. In fact we have a great 1-1/2 HP shop vac that we just replaced the filter on and it really REALLY has some good suction. Did know if we might have to use something from the top down. I'll give that a try!
That's a great example of how these groups are great, such a simple solution and yet it totally eluded me :O)
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On Thu, 7 Aug 2008 16:11:11 -0700 (PDT), infiniteMPG

Howdy,
I would assume that the duct you want to clean is significantly larger than the shop vac hose.
If so, you might find that it is not possible to generate sufficient air velocity to actually get built up lint out of the duct.
You might want to try shoving in something similar to a chimney cleaning brush. Those are made of stiff metal, but I would suspect that you could find something with softer bristles for this sort of purpose. If so, shoving it into the duct on a flexible shaft should free things up. Then, when you withdraw it, it would bring debris with it. At that point, the shop vac might prove to be very useful.
All the best,
--
Kenneth

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First wash your lint filter. If you can sprinle it with water and it beads up it needs cleaning. The lint filter gets clogged with fabric softener an the air flow will be nearly blocked although it appears to be clean. Just use hot water with a little dishwashing detergent and scrub gently with a soft brush.
Jimmie
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I too believed the white plastic vent line was a fire hazard so I replaced it.
Curious as to how well it would burn I got my garden hose out and ran a experiment.
tried lighting a small piece of the plastic with my grill lighter, white plastic turned brown.
got out the big guns expecting a blaze tried lighting the 10 foot long piece with my mapp gas torch. all it did was smoulder and turn brown.
saw some plastic type at a large hardware store, if its fireproof, i will go back to it.
it no longer appears to be flammable, another urban legend debunked
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Maybe urban legend but code says it's illegal...so I've heard. Your house so, of course, you can vent it into the washer drain if you want :-). Should you ever sell and a home inspecton item is "potential fire hazard", you'll be replacing it unless you can show the packaging that says it meets some ANSI fire rating.
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Consider the possibility that if you have a lint fire in the plastic hose with the dryer running, then burning lint could be blown into wall space when the hose fails and cause a house fire. Events like that may be why the code was changed.
Joe
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Try it when it's full of lint with a good draft blowing through it.
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On Thu, 7 Aug 2008 20:01:38 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Howdy,
Might there be more than one type of plastic used for those ducts?
All the best,
--
Kenneth

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Suggestion: Isn't the problem that burning plastic can produce noxious/ toxic fumes? So the requirement to now use a metallized drier vent hose is probably an attempt to reduce just one more 'likely' source of combustion. A lot of fires are caused by people smoking either in bed or on a sofa etc. next thing the tobacco causes synthetic bedclothes or upholstery to smoulder and individuals die from fumes; not from being burnt.
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On Thu, 07 Aug 2008 21:07:55 -0400, Kenneth

You can also make a temporary cleaning device. Rubber-band a wad of rags on the end of a garden hose and shove it up your vent.
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http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber396
is a very inexpensive brush with a 10 foot cable which works great, specifically designed for cleaning dryer vents.
Smarty
wrote:

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Pull the dryer out from the wall, unhook the hose, and have a good look in with a flash light.
I think I saw a dryer vent cleaning kit at Home Depot. Brush on the end of a long snake. You could build something with a drain snake, and a brush, and some electrical tape to tape the brush to the end of the drain snake. That would loosen the dust so your big shop vac could vacuum up the dust.
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Christopher A. Young
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They make a brush with a long flexible handle for cleaning dryer vents. The same problem can occur from clogs within the dryer. I suggest taking the dryer outside, and blasting out all the air passages inside and out, and opening the top and blasting out everything you can there, using an air compressor or leaf blower. These tools could also clear the vent duct.
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infiniteMPG wrote:

After you do the vacuuming, think leaf blower.
For the long haul, consider re-routing the dryver vent. You dryer may not have enough oomph to blow stuff all the way to the roof. Especially if the dryer's in the basement and your roof is atop the second story.
If you can't reroute, and your dryer IS on the weak side, AND you can get access to the vent stack, THEN you might install a booster fan made just for this purpose.
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Try a hand held leaf blower, 100mph winds will push lint like a snowstorm.
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First, where does it exit to outside? See if that's blocked with lint, birds nest, bees nest, etc. How does the air feel coming out. You probably have no reference for that but if it has flaps they should open to their max. If flap is not opening, see if it opens freely with you fingers. If it does but opens weakly with dryer on then, yea, you either have a clog or disconnected hose.
Next disco vent from dryer. How does air directly from the dryer feel? Strong? If not, you need to pull panels from behind dryer and clean out passages.
If above is all good then ductwork is suspect. You could try the Shop- Vac or leaf blower thing recommended next. My guess is the vac may get a lot but I would not feel comfortable with just that. If there is flex vs smooth ductwork beyond where the dryer commects to it, the flex ridges tend to collect lint and it gets caked being combined with moisture. It holds on pretty good to the ductwork. The leaf blower thing I've never tried but some happy campers in this NG say it worked for their particular case.
Truly cleaning the duct pipe means you have to run a 4" duct brush through it BUT first you have to determine what kind of duct it is. May have to go into attic or crawlspace to see. It should connect to the outside vent maybe 6" inside the exterior wall. If it's that tin foil flex, running a duct work brush, even the nylon ones, will punch a zillion little holes in it as it runs through. The rigid flex duct and solid plastic pipe is fine to run a brush through.
Oh, and by the way. If it's that plastic flex it's a fire hazard. May have been OK to install at one time but it's illegal now.
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You may not have a clogged vent. Pull out your lint filter and hold it under running water and see if the water easily goes through it. You will probably find it is clogged up although it appears to be clean. Scrub it gently with a soft brush and dishwashing detergent to clean. The residue is from fabric softener, not keeping it clean can cost you significantly in gas and electricty.
My in the wall dryer filter.
I came across an old breaker panel that I gutted and mounted in the wall above my dryer. The dryer vent enters and exits from the box via HVAC vents screwed to the box. Inside the box I placed a filter made of several layers of screen wire placed diagonaly from corner to corner. I find I need to clean the filter only about twice a year. Next I plan to modify the box so I can let the filtered warm air into the house during the winter.
Jimmie
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On Thu, 7 Aug 2008 19:42:04 -0700 (PDT), JIMMIE

Hi Jimmie,
I know that it is tempting, but there are significant health risks. You would be loading the air with particles that cannot be seen, but do lodge in your lungs.
There might be ways (heat exchangers) to capture the energy, but breathing the warm vent air is not the way to go.
All the best,
--
Kenneth

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