How to Unclog Dryer Vent?

We recently moved into a 25-year-old house and discovered that the dryer vent is apparently clogged with lint. The big clue was that it would take almost 2 hours to dry a load of clothes! So, yesterday, I had a chimney/vent guy come over to clean it, and he spent about 90 minutes on it and gave up. Our vent goes out to the second floor roof, and he thinks that about 8 feet above the dryer (thus, between levels), there's two 90-degree turns and that the blockage is in there. He tried using his shop vac to both suck and blow it while working from the other end, but no luck. His suggestion was to open up the wall and open up the venting to unclog it (and to leave a "door" on the wall since it will probably happen again). However, since it's seemingly between the levels, that's probably a pretty big job.
Does anyone have any other suggestions? It seems that maybe some sort of really long toilet-snake-type thing might help? Or perhaps I could rent something even more powerful than a shop vac someplace?
We're nowhere near experts on home repair, so we'd get someone to help us with any big jobs...
Thanks for any advice!
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A chimmney brush. Use an elecrical fish tape to get through first time then connect the rope. If you have a 4 inch pipe use a 3 inch brush, or make one. from several pieces of cardboard with a bolt through the middle.
Be gentle or you will be opening the wall.
From what you describe I hope it is at least a 6 inch pipe. Mine vents up less than 20 feet and it is a 5 inch. Better think of a filtering situation on your dryer. Filter the exhaust before it goes up the pipe.

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if you did open up the wall, you may be able to change them to 45's instead of 90's which would be less likely to clog. or maybe even eliminate the bend completely.
man if those 90's are preventing any snaking i dunno. if this wasnt tried, get some duct tape to make a secure/leak free connection with the shop vac and try to suck it from below. even a modest shop vac should do it if its gonna work.
its not pretty but maybe pour some water down from the top and see if it loosens anything up? not too much, just a cup or two.
maybe you could put a new vent on the side of the house to eliminate the long run. this is likely your best option.
randy

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<< maybe you could put a new vent on the side of the house to eliminate the long run. this is likely your best option. >>
Best idea of all. A nice short run through an outside wall will save you a ton of money over the years. If you have to move the dryer, do it. Good luck.
Joe
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On Sun, 25 Jul 2004 11:00:37 -0700, "Taed Nelson"

Use a garden hose. Rubber-band a wad of rags on the end of the hose and feed it into the ductwork, twisting as you go. Blow it out, then repeat. I use this technique twice a year and it works great. Obviously, don't use any water.
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I don't understand this suggestion. It's unclear to me what the rags do. (Or is your suggestion just a general way to clean the venting without a vent cleaning brush?) I guess using the garden hose hooked up to the shop vac might be a good idea to suck up a bit of the clog a bit at a time, though.
Note that we already tried to use a vent cleaning brush (20') while using the shop vac on the other end of the vent, and that didn't work.
It seems what I'd really like to do is maybe get something pokey THROUGH the clog, and then attach the one end to something largish (like a vent cleaning brush) and then pull from the other end, although that might just compact it more!
Maybe also some sort of grabber that I could just grab bits at a time? It would have to have a 10' flexible handle, though...
For all I know, it's been clogged for years and years and it is probably a huge clog -- the section between the 90-degree bends is probably a few feet long. It was certainly clogged when we moved in.
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Taed Nelson wrote:

I bought a vent cleaning brush. It works well for me, I don't know how well it would work for you. There are several brands.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Hi,
Dryer vent brushes may help....
http://www.repairclinic.com/referral.asp?R 3&NB4662 Vent cleaning brush 10 foot http://www.repairclinic.com/referral.asp?R 3&NB4663 Vent cleaning brush 20 foot
I haven't tried but have heard some say they have had some good results from using a leaf blower to blast out the vent system. They attached/fashioned a vent piece to the end of the blower to blow the dryer duct out.
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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I would be leery of using something more powerful...blowing could blow the pipe apart at a connection and sucking could collapse the pipe. And even if you get it open, that's way too long a run for a dryer vent. I doubt that if it were clean you would see much of an improvement in drying time. Each 90 degree turn is equivalent to 10 foot of straight run in resistance. Most dryers don't do too well if the run is over 30 foot. And since only about 70 percent of the air is actually run through the filter, there is no way the hot air is going to lift the remaining lint all the way to the roof. It's going to settle out somewhere along the way. The posters that advised a new shorter run had the right idea.

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I you find a vacuum that collapses the pipe, please post the brand and model on this group because I'll want to buy one!
Dryer lint gets very hard if it has gotten wet - like cement! That's why it's not recommended to put that stuff out for birds during nesting season. Call Roto-rooter??? Snake or garden hose with a barbed hook or screw-type attachment sound like a good try. Is there a way to access the bend by maybe cutting a small access hole in drywall?
~Tom

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Insert some cheese or peanut butter as close as possible to one side of the clog. On the other side of the stoppage, insert a mouse, chipmonk, gopher, squirrel, ground hog or raccoon, depending on the pipe size and varmint availability. Let the critter chew through (they are very good at this). It's best to start with a small rodent, then gradually move to larger varmints. In a short time, your vent pipe will be completely open.
You can thank me later or now, if you wish.

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What type of vent material? If it is the plastic flex stuff, a plumbing snake will cut it and cause even more problems.
As for cutting the wall, that is what I did. My vent goes up in the wall behind the dryer and makes a right tu rn, over the hallway, across the open ceiling utility area. After replacing it, I put a piece of masonite over the cut out drywall. Now it is a simple matter of taking out a few screws for access. Had to go back in a year later and it is about time again to clean it. Ed
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