How do you vacuum out a dryer vent?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Our dryer went on the blitz last wk. The repairman replaced the heating coils and said that the timer actually works ... it was not heating, so the timer never went off, programmed to finish when clothing was dry. I bought a $189 warranty, and the bill came to a bit over $200. (I wonder if they configure that just over the warranty amt to make it look good?)
    Anyway, he said the vent needed cleaning and the clog in it is what caused the dryer to overheat and that it would happen again. I asked him if he could snake it or something and he said that vacuuming is the way to go, but they weren't allowed to do that because too many guys have hurt themselves.
    Say what? So *I'm* supposed to do it? How do you hurt yourself? There is nothing electrical there. It's a coiled tube that goes from the back of the dryer to the outside of the house, about 6 ft long. I could get on a ladder, have difficult child hold the vaccum cleaner, use the attachment and be done with-it. But what if there really is something dangerous?
    Is this BS on the repairman's part? Has anyone done this B4?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Just pull out the dryer and remove the tube from the back and clean out the lint. You should do this on a reg basis as it's a fire hazard. Vacuuming that part isn't necessary.

    Now I need to vacuum the little skinny vent (the one you clean out every time) at the front bottom part of my dryer, but it's so darn skinny I can't get the hose inside it.
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Go to hardware store and buy a new tube. I just had husband replace ours (we unfortunately have about 12-foot tube so it would be a nightmare to clean out). The lint doesn't just sit in the tube, it tends to really kind of coagulate to the sides. I don't think vacuuming would do it. husband was whining about how I make up these ridiculous home maintenance jobs - until he saw the lint that had just coated the inside of the vent tube - gas dryer, fire, combustible lint - not such a ridiculous home maintenance job when you think about it. He even vacuumed the connection at the dryer when he saw all the lint.

    It really is just about a 5-minute job. Easy to do.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Funny you asked that question. I "think" I have a problem with dryer lint too. The amount on the screen is just not enough for dog blankets etc. It has to be accumulating out of sight. Problem is...I don't have a vacuum with that type of attachment anymore...just a little stand up thing I use. Guess I'll get the "handyman" (who is not as handy as he should be, lol) to come do the job. Simultaneously my washing machine is making a grinding noise and my three year olf diswasher is leaving water on the floor. Yikes. I do NOT need these issues. Good luck to you. DDD
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you!
    Sorry, DDD. I feel your pain.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I was going to suggest replacing the tube. It's really cheap.

    Now the front of the dryer? They sell these things at hardware stores, Walmart, Target, KMart - like a flexible bottle brush, superlong - you can use that to snake out the lint trap. Easy peasy. And also cheap - and reusable.

    I think the repair guy was being a snot. Honestly, they're not supposed to because of liability. But hurting themselves?! :rofl:
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    If you have any kind of a trap on the outside of the house, check that before you try the vacuum. Hubby put a cute little cage over ours, and it was stuffed full of lint. I had no idea I was supposed to check that, too. He finally took the cage off after Miss KT and I made a valiant attempt to remove the cage by hitting it repeatedly with a shovel, because we couldn't get close enough to use anything else. Too much man junk piled up.
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think that repair persons do not want to do this part of the job because of several reasons, some legitimate and some not. First of all, it can be a dirty job and time consuming and they just can't be bothered. However, it may also be because if something goes wrong and a fire ensues after they've left, they may be held liable and they do not want to be held liable for something that can happen to anyone at anytime in any house.

    At my house? These are the jobs I usually tackle. I have taken the vent tubing out, vacuumed in there, and then replaced the tubing. I've bought an entire new vent hose and then taped it back on. I am the one who pulls out the fridge and takes off the bottom piece to vacuum in there also. H just doesn't think about these simple little things that help extend the life of our appliances and prevent small house fires. If you can get your kids to help, it's a job you should be able to tackle. I do NOT think it's dangerous unless you are not paying attention!
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    Yup, just replace the tube, and clean the connecting areas on the dryer and where it leaves the house. the small expense is so worth the time and aggravation it saves.

    And since you brought it up, I think I'll check mine today. :)
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Me too...
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all. I will check the outside first. The repairman said that he thinks it's clogged right at the crook inside the wall, so I have to look with-a flashlight to make sure there is a vent in there and what sort to replace. I have replaced the vent connected to the dryer once already, and discovered that those metal belts work MUCH better than foil tape, lol!
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had to have my flexible foil coil tube replaced with the tin tubes because the foil ones were loaded with lint and clogged. Ours runs into the floor and through the basement ceiling to the outside. The repairman I got said the nonflexible tubes are much easier to snake or vacuum out. There are a lot of turns in the tubing that would allow lint to build up.

  13. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Well, had to share. You got me thinking - I know husband vacuumed the dryer end of things, but ... being husband, I was pretty sure he skipped the outside vent. So I go out and check, and not only did he *not* clean out that end, but he left the instructions on the inside of the stupid foil tube ("what instructions?", he asks :hammer: ), so they got blown to the vent thingy with- the flaps on the house where they wedged themselves *sideways*, blocking the whole works. Sigh.....

    So thank you guys for this entire topic, 'cuz otherwise I probably wouldn't have thought to double check his alleged "work". With the amt of laundry we do around here, that set of instructions would've gone up in flames probably this weekend.

    And he wonders why I so rarely delegate home maintenance to him.....
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    :rofl:, Sue.

    That wouldn't be my husband, mind you...
    But I can just see it happening!
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The ONLY reasons a repair man wouldn't clean out that vent hose is that it is much easier to replace, and that if they don't clean it out well enough and it catches fire they can be held liable in some states/areas depending on local laws. We are good friends with a repairman and he has been pretty open with that info. He doesn't even clean his own out - he puts a new one one every time he sees it is clogged.

    The time to clean out a vent is far longer than the time to put a new one one, and actually far more of a PITA. Another reason to replace is that the lint will adhere to the sides of the hose, but once you start vacuuming it, the lint is loose and will fly around more - and thus is more of a fire hazard. It isn't really possible to totally clean the inside of the flexible hoses, and you would be stirring up the lint making a fire more likely. If you go with the inflexible tubes that are straight sided, those can be cleaned out fairly easily.

    Some companies sell long brushes to get lint out of dryers. They are not a bad investment if you use them regularly (like weekly). Usually you can choose either one to do the vent hose or one to go down into the lint filter and get all the stuff that falls off the filter and gets stuck there. If you have a skinny attachment for your vacuum, you could try that.
  16. Andy

    Andy Active Member

  17. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    While you're at it, if you take the lint trap and clean it really well on a regular basis with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush, you can double the life of the dryer motor.
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you!

    Also, does it make a difference if part of the coil is aluminum and part is plastic?
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes - as in, one part will tend to attract lint more than the other part, which really only causes a problem at the point where the two connect - tends to become a gathering point.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you for reminding me that I need to get Tony to put the stupid vent out the side of my newly underpinned house. The hose always just laid on the ground under the house.