I may or may not have a clogged dryer vent, but I think I have a
problem nonetheless. The ductwork from the dryer to the outside vent is
probably 30-40 feet. The dryer takes forever to dry things and I was
wondering if it had to do with that length (although there is no
choice, based on the layout of my condo). Secondly, I can't tell where
the ductwork runs. It goes straight up into the ceiling, but it
disappears and the room above that does not show the other side. It
comes out of the wall 20 feet away and runs to the external wall to
vent. How can I tell if there is a clog at some point in the ductwork?
I know there are kits that will snake up and clean it, but they only
have 12' long extentions. Also, the ductwork is that white plastic
stuff. Is that dangerous? I am not sure how I could replace it without
tearing up my entire condo. Any guidance or information on this would
be a huge help. Thanks very much!
This is a very bad design and unless it's grandfathered does not meet
code. This is not only a drying problem, but also a safety issue. The
white plastic crap isn't adequate for just connecting the dryer to the
vent, let alone using it for concealed venting in walls. A run of that
length is going to need some type of booster fan assistance, as I doubt
a std dryer will be able to work very well trying to push air that far.
And the more turns it makes the worse it gets.
Since this is a condo there must be other units with the same layout
and problem. I'd try to get some other unit owners interested in this
and take it to the board. If a good solution can be found, you could
get a contractor to do the job for all the units, thereby saving you a
lot of headache and likely getting a better deal.
Plastic venting cracks over time. Its high ridges attract lint. Long
runs attract lint too. These reasons are why plastic is a negative
over time. Smooth metal is better for hidden areas, and long runs.
There is such thing as a vent cleaning company for dryers. You or your
homeowner assoc. should hire them. As another poster said, a
contractor can open walls to convert plastic to metal.
Buying a condo? Don't overlook dryer venting issues during inspection.
This will never go away once you buy the place. Just because the
condo cost a million bucks doesn't mean that the venting had some
thought to it. It is usually just an afterthought during construction.
Is is also a code requirement to have smooth metal.
Reputable dryer vent cleaners will not clean flexible plastic as it is
a fire hazard. The only proper solution is to replace this. Your home
and all others in the complex are at risk. One starts to burn, you are
all going to burn. If the Board will not address the issue, call the
fire department inspector or the mechanical inspector. They will make
sure the repairs happen.
Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician
Why exactly is plastic venting a fire hazard? I think we should define
our terms. Plastic venting can burn during a fire, but it won't cause
a fire by spontaneously combusting; temps in venting just aren't that
hot. A combustion source would have to come from the dryer itself. So
here's the truth: poor venting arrangements can make lint back up in
the dryer, and if there is so much lint that it combusts near the
element, then the fire could travel to the venting. However, I would
like to know just how often this really happens. Every time I read
about a dryer fire, I never here that the the fire travelled through
the venting too. So, it is time to put the urban legends away, and
spend some time with reality. Having a better venting application
simply allows the dryer to do its thing, which is to get rid of lint.
On the other hand, some dryer designs are notoriously poor lint
handlers, and will collect lint even under some of the best venting
applications. That is because they are poorly designed. Does anyone
know which ones they are?
True. Plastic venting does not spontaneously combust.
Lint is the combution source. As lint burns in a metal pipe, the fire
is more easily contained. Lint can burn through the plastic vinyl and
on through the structure.
When the fire department is putting out one of 12,000 dryer fires each
year, it is tough to say just how the flame traveled. Fact is that
lint is highly combustible and you want to reduce your chance of a
structure fire by using the recommended materials. It's just not that
much more expensive.
Every time I read
Good luck finding these statistics. I have never heard of the dryer
design contributing to the lint expulsion issue.
Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician
For the average person, they should be more concerned about the length
of venting, not what it is made of. Visible is better than in a wall
or ceiling. Shorter is better than long. Metal is better than
plastic. Taking a common sense approach to venting is what counts.
Dryer fires don't just happen on their own; you have to create a
situation that makes the lint stay in the dryer. The most common
reason is venting that is too long, or too many turns.
You can reduce lint retention by buying a dryer that is known for
better airflow. Some dryers have stonger airflow, and some dryers
have weaker airflow and a geater propensity for lint retention. If you
don't work on appliances, then you won't know what I mean. And if a
consumer buys purely on what is told to them by the sales rep at the
store, they won't care either.
Frankly I believe from a safety standpoint what it is made of is far
more important and should be the first concern for anyone. That plastic
stuff also has poor air flow properties so it has the effect of lengthening
the effective length.
I do agree that in most cases exposed is better and allows for
They may not like it, but I believe it is time to talk to your condo
association. First that plastic trash pipe is a fire hazard and is likely a
code violation. You may want to check that out first. As you have found
out, it also can be a efficiency problem as well. You can run further with
good duct that that accordion plastic stuff without causing a problem for
the dryer. The plastic also collects more lint so it is a maintenance
It would be a lot cheaper for all of them to be replaced at once that
each owner replacing one at a time. It also may be that your condo rules
would require them to do the work anyway.
On 10 Jul 2006 06:51:56 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
The dryer exhaust needs periodic cleaning. Rubber band a few rags to
the end of a garden hose and use this to clean out the lint. Also, it
will be good to vacuum up the lint around the dryer and the exhaust
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.