Part 3: How to clean out my dryer vent
Meet the expert behind this four-part series!
Supplies: Dryer vent cleaning kit (local hardware store), power drill, vacuum, broom and dustpan
Why it's important: Firefighters respond to approximately 14,000 emergencies per year due to fires caused by plugged dryer vent piping. If your loads are taking longer to dry, that’s a clue that you need to clean your dryer vent.
STEP 1: Before you can clean your dryer vent, you need to locate it. Once you’ve identified your outdoor dryer exhaust vent, inspect it and look for any debris, including dust, lint, or even dead bugs. Wash any screens and clear out any noticeable obstructions.
STEP 2: Carefully disconnect power to your dryer. Remove any metal tape or clamps that attach your dryer vent pipe to its exhaust. Be sure to apply gentle pressure when pulling the vent pipe from the wall duct avoid damaging the pipe.
STEP 3: Use the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner or shop vac to suck up any lint in or around the hole. If you have a handheld vacuum, you can repeat this process on the outside duct. Otherwise, try to clear debris manually from outside.
STEP 4: Attach the dryer brush from your vent cleaning kit to your power drill and insert the brush end of the rod into your duct. Push the brush as far back as you possibly can, bearing in mind that you might need to delicately maneuver the hose attachment depending on the route your duct takes.
STEP 5: Now it’s time to clean up your new fluffy friends. Vacuum or sweep up the dust bunnies. Then plug your dryer back in and reconnect your ductwork. Turn on your dryer and listen as the air flows smoothly out the vent. Now that’s the sound of energy savings.
Bonus tip: Wash clothing on cold, consider hang drying, clean out the lint trap after each use, and wash and dry full loads.
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