Dryer vent cleaning is the process by which lint is removed from your dryer vent line, from the machine itself all the way through to the outside vent. This lint is very combustible, and the combination of a dryer vent line clogged with lint and the sustained blast of hot air from your dryer creates an extreme fire hazard. Cleaning the vent line frequently, and thoroughly, is crucial to home fire safety.
Recently one of our technicians went to a home in Blaine, Minnesota, to clean out the dryer vent. The wife informed our tech that the machine had not been drying clothes properly, and that her husband had tried to address the problem by taking a leaf blower to it. The dryer vent line exhausted onto the roof. Our technician climbed the roof and found that the husband's efforts had merely pushed all the debris toward the vent opening, but without enough force to expel it, thereby creating a bigger clog and causing the damper to malfunction.
What is the process for cleaning out a dryer vent with a leaf blower?
e standard DIY process for dryer vent cleaning with a leaf blower is to disconnect the clothes dryer from the wall and then insert the nozzle of a leaf blower into the air vent line where the dryer had been connected (preventing the escape of air by wrapping the area where the two connect with a towel, or a tape of some sort). The user would then start up the leaf blower, which is supposed to propel the lint down the line and out the vent to the outside.
Why might this process not work?
In order for this method to be effective, your dryer vent line would have to meet several criteria, and most of them don't:
What is the proper method of dryer vent cleaning?
The most effective method of dryer vent cleaning is to insert a tool called a reverse spinning skipper ball, attached to a high-pressured air line, from the outside vent through the length of the vent line to the dryer itself. When the tool is engaged, it reverse-blasts air from its nozzles and spins. As it is pulled backward and withdrawn, away from the dryer toward the outside vent, it pulls the lint with it, expelling it with great force. This process can be repeated as many times as necessary until all lint is removed. The technician would then check the exit velocity to ensure proper air flow and to confirm the absence of any blockage.
This is the process our technician used at the home in Blaine, clearing the line completely and achieving excellent air flow. All in a day's work!
Wanna dig deeper? Download our free tipsheet: 5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Dryer Vent Cleaning Company.
Many thanks to our technician Ben S for lending his expertise to this article.