Have You Checked Out Your Dryer Lint Filter & Vent? Check Out My

eldemilaApril 12, 2011

The home we bought, built in the late 60's came with an early 80's gas dryer. I've never had a gas dryer before but had been told by many that it was suppose to dry quicker than electric dryers.

Once we closed on the house and I was able to get in there to "deep clean" I found the dryer filter had a LOT of lint in it, or should I say, under it - including a sock. How these people didn't end up with a dryer fire is beyond me I swear, there was about 8" deep of lint. I also cleared out the duct from the back of the dryer to the wall where it attaches to the duct work under the house.

After doing this, the dryer just didn't seem to be heating much better. I would do a load of clothes and would have to put it on more than one cycle, and the first cylce should have been more than enough time wise to dry the clothes. It was very frustrating, not to mention costly with having to use more gas than I thought should have been needed.

I read to see if it's the unit, or the exhaust to remove exhaust tube and dry a load of laundry with the hose not hooked up to the dryer, which we did. It worked great! Today my contractor and I cleaned out the rigid metal tubing that vents outside. And with that, well, this is just a little of what we went through today.

These are just a couple videos and pictures, which was done after pulling out a load of lint from the inside out. Please turn down your sound - it's a bit loud, me AND the drill!

This is some of what first came flying out, landing on the ground

This was at the end, when my contractor pushed from the inside out and on the "out" end he had his shop vac sucking out the lint

If you haven't cleaned out your vent duct work, please do, and do check this out as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lint Fires

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Thanks for the great tip and reminder. The sad part, in the owners manual, it tells people to clean out the duct work on a regular basis, but people just do not read them

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Wow! That must be 5 lbs. of lint!!! Maybe your contractor can install a lint trap.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 2:49AM
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Check out the kind of ducting also-metal is much better (fire resistant) than plastic/nylon tubing. i know Sears sells special brushes for cleaning these out. I have two.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 8:11AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

When we bought our new washer dryer at lowes they said they must install brand new metallic ducting with each purchase they can not use the existing. They do not even sell the plastic kind any more due to fires. When they pulled my old ducting out I was expecting to see some lint but it was clean no lint at all, it had been in use for about 2 years since we had moved here.
I gladly paid for the new stuff and let them install it along with the dryer and new hoses for the washer too.

That is a LOT of lint!! that also really looks like a small pipe mine is much larger than that where it comes out of the outside wall with the vent cover on it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:12PM
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When I first moved into my condo when I ran the dryer it would vent out the stove hood. Hood has its own duct but they both exit at the same point - air was just coming out the dryer duct and pushing back down the exhaust fan duct. There was about a 4 inch thick layer of matted lint over the vent cover. When I got rid of the old laundry pair I cleaned it from the other end - more lint everywhere. We have quite cold winters so I pop the vent cover off in the winter now to help ensure I don't get any lint build-up. I felt the same way you do - it was a miracle there hadn't been a fire.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 6:10PM
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OK. I am now really worried about our dryer hose and vent. We have a plastic hose that runs outside and the external vent is a dented mess (DS hits a lacrosse ball against the house and has dented it). We have lived in our house for over ten years and have never cleaned the hose. My question is: Who does one call to replace the hose with a rigid one and replace the external vent?

Thank you,

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 9:22PM
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Luvscritters, not sure who exactly would be the person to call to replace vents, maybe an a/c or appliance person.

I highly recommend if you haven't cleaned your vents in that long, do so.

Even after the initial cleaning when we bought the house, and the recent vent cleaning, the dryer still didn't seem right, so I opened the dryer up and found yet, more lint.

Here's what I pulled out with my Rainbow:


I do think I finally got it all - at least I hope so!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Our chimney sweep cleaned out our dryer and also the plastic vent tubing. Our dryer vent goes straight up about 20 feet and exits the roof since the laundry room is in the center of the house. A lot of lint did come out. He installed metal ducting. So the vent cleaning and the new metal ducting came to a grand total of $125.00. Not bad.

What is strange is that our dryer is a 93' Whirlpool and in the owners manual they warn not to use plastic vent ducts.
So this problem has been around for quite some time. We bought our dryer from a Whirlpool dealer and they used plastic ducting even though the manual says not to. Go figure!

Also, the manual states that every three years the cabinet of the dryer should be removed and the dryer cleaned out.
I do this and not only do we get a good amount of lint out of the machine, but the dryer is as quiet and dries as fast as it did when it was brand new.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 3:55AM
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weird. we've been using dryers in my current home for more than 40 years and have never had much buildup of lint in the dryer vent, NOR have we ever had to clean the lint screen of any of our dryers, due to the constant use of dryer sheets. APPARENTLY, not everyone has the same experience, using the same types of products.

I KNOW that the dryer vent hose was fairly clean because 3 months ago I got a new dryer and of course replaced the old vent hose. I had expected to find lots of lint and was quite surprised to see hardly any. (It was a plastic flex hose and the new one we put in is metal flex)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Let me clarify: by "clean the lint screen", I meant having to use soap and water to remove any sort of build-up. We always remove the loose lint from the screen after EVERY load.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 5:00PM
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You may not have had visible lint or blockage. But the residue is almost invisible. I didn't notice anything either. All I'm saying is that if you find your clothes are drying slower--it's maybe a good idea to clean the filter. I did more research and apparently it was an email that was sent around that went viral. It was verified as true.

"Sources ranging from manufacturers to consumer agencies agree with the recommendation to wash clothes dryer lint filters occasionally with warm, soapy water and a soft brush to remove chemical residues left by fabric softener sheets."

Here is a link that might be useful: urban legends: lint filter

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Ya, we had same problem with the dryer at our weekend lake place when we bought it. We didn't know there was a problem but that the dryer was almost completely ineffective. I read up on that and found out lint in the ducts could be a problem. We tried cleaning from the inside and the outside and got some stuff out but not much. DH, frustrated by the ineffective dryer, kept working on the duct situation. Finally he somehow got massive clogs of lint out of the thing. We've never had any problem like this at home but the duct run is very short - not the case at the lake place.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Leaf-blowers are wonderful for this. Duct-tape the blower/duct connection tight and let 'er rip. Do it both directions. Clears out the entire length. Messy, but effective.

Absolute best is blow first, then run a duct brush through entire length and blow a second time.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Consider yourself LUCKY if you have a dryer that does NOT vent to the roof! Mine does. Luckily its rigid metal all the way and about an 18 foot run straight up and then a 40 degree turn and out the top.

The roof pitch is WAY too steep to clean it from the TOP down. So I get a leaf blower from the bottom and blow, then I use a drill and the long lint eater system and go from the bottom to the top....Lint comes out as I pull back down toward me......Then Leaf blow again from the bottom up.....then get a ladder outside and climb to the edge of the roof while standing on the ladder and use a long telescoping pole with a dryer lint brush taped to the end to get the roof cap if anything got caught in that.....Total time takes about 45 min's. I do this twice per year because after about six months, I notice clothes take longer to dry about the 5 months mark. There's never a LOT of lint. I don't think it takes MUCH to block airflow.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Been there, done that...lint is such a HUGE annoyance to my life.

We're in a 2nd floor condo where the dryer vent ducting goes to the roof through the attic over 20 feet and several elbows. My husband bought the condo years before we met, and the ducting was clogged after several years. At the time, he decided to disconnect the vent from the duct. The resulting moisture did some damage to the cabinetry (swelling of the particle board, even under layers of oil-based paint). Soon after we married, he decided we needed to fix the problem correctly. He went up into the attic and disassembled the ducting, brought it outside, and blew it out with his air compressor. I pushed some cleaning tool through it as well.

We can't be doing this regularly! I mean preferably, never again! So, I had him put a filter -- a gallon paint strainer -- over the dryer vent where it connects to the machine. This clogs every month or so, we pull the machine out, disconnect the vent, clean the strainer, and put it back. This is still an annoying chore, but not the nightmare of dealing with the whole duct run.

My husband had a cool idea, that what we need to do is sew a new, longer strainer that tapers to a skinny point, so that even when it clogs at the point, there can still be air flowing past the clogged strainer, and we should be able to go longer between cleanings.

We got a new dryer last summer, and pulled the ducting out of the attic to clean it -- but it was already clean as a whistle. So, our secondary filter system has kept the duct run clean for 9 years.

I found you can buy secondary lint traps with a door that opens to clean them out, but we don't have room to install the box in our laundry room, and I don't think it would work any better or be easier to clean than our homemade filter.

When I redo the floor, I plan to put magic slider thingies under the dryer feet to make it easier to move in and out, plus I won't want to gouge my new floor.

I have researched other solutions. People claim that solid metal vent will maintain better airflow than pleated, but I think it will still clog because we need 2 90-degree elbows to get it connected to the duct in the wall. And if it clogs, how do we pull out the machine with a non-stretching vent? If we could move the duct in the wall to match the dryer vent outlet, that would eliminate 2 elbows and would probably help...

I also found you can install a secondary fan in the ducting near the exit, increasing the airspeed in long ducts so the lint won't clog. They cost $150-200, but if I never had to clean out the duct run or pull out the dryer to clean my makeshift secondary lint trap ever again, it would be well worth it.

I also think that our ducting is leaky somewhere, because rooms on the other side of the wall (our master bath) get crusted with lint all the time. Finding and sealing those leaks would probably improve airspeed some, plus save me tons of work cleaning the lint all the time.

I think the additional fan is the way to go. In 2 other areas where we replaced an ineffective low-cfm cheap fan with a high-cfm good one, like the hood over our cooktop, it made an amazing difference, night and day.

Here is a link that might be useful: example of dryer duct fan

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:42AM
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Hey Andersons :)

Hmmm. Interesting idea but I'm trying to imagine the paint strainer setup to trap lint before it gets to the duct.

I'm in a similar situation with mine & I clean it every six months. Mine exits on the top of the roof & is NOT easily accessed at all from the top. My roof has a terrifying steep pitch. So all my cleaning has to be done from the laundry room and UP. I use the Lint Eater system and an electric leaf blower and it takes me about 45 min's total.

Your post got me thinking about something catching the lint from below before it GETS to the main duct run! Cool! But I'm still trying to imagine in my mind what exactly you mean. I wish you could take a picture so I could see exactly what you're talking about. My duct has no leaks. I've never taken it apart, but I know it's clean. I just did mine the other day and after about six months, I got about a quarter of a gallon of lint that fell back down after running the lint eater through it twice, then I blew a leaf blower through it, went outside and looked and *some* lint had blown out onto the roof, but not what I would call a massive amount. What surprises me most is the small amount of lint that had collected over the six months time frame increased drying time. I can always tell when it needs it based on that. I ask myself how SO MANY people who have dryers going through the roof get away with NEVER doing this. You know *most* probably don't.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 6:22AM
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I have a friend who bought a new dryer and then couldn't believe it took just as long to dry as the old one...because the duct was full of lint.

I don't wanna take a picture today because that requires pulling the dryer out which is a pain -- don't want to do it till I have to. But I'll try to explain...Dryers have a big hole in the back that needs to be connected to ductwork that goes to the exterior, right? You attach some sort of connecting vent hose or pipe to the dryer's hole and then also to the duct in the wall.

Our connector is a metal foil accordian pleated thing, with wire rings that hold it on. This pic looks amazingly similar to my vent hose (and I even had the same exact vinyl flooring before it got torn out!):
Except I clean out the other end, the dryer end. On the end of the vent hose that will get attached to the dryer hole, I insert a 1-gallon paint strainer mesh bag. These are like 50 cents at any store that sells paint. Paint strainer bags look like this (I use the 1-gallon size):
I fold the elastic at the top of the bag over the outside of the end of the vent hose to hold it in place (like folding a garbage bag over the edge of the pail so it will stay in place), stick the now-lined-with-mesh-bag vent hose over the dryer vent hole, and hold it in place with the metal ring. So now the air exiting the dryer is filtered again by the paint strainer mesh bag. Then of course, attach the other end of the vent hose to the duct in the wall, and push the dryer back. The dryer has to be as close to the wall as possible because the area in front of it is the hallway between the garage and the house.

It is an annoyance cleaning out this paint strainer, but it is still WAY EASIER than cleaning out the entire vent. It would be a lot easier still if we had a little more space in the room to pull the dryer out and get back where the vent hose is. I can BARELY squeeze my body in between the washer and dryer. And it would be easier if the dryer slid out more easily over the floor...our floor has rough subfloor at the moment. When I put in the new floor, I will also put magic sliders under the feet of the dryer.

There is NO WAY we can get up to the roof. We are on a second-story condo.

The paint strainer bag does work great to keep the rest of the duct clean. We pulled the entire duct out of the attic last summer when we installed a new (to us) dryer, and there was virtually nothing in it, after years of using the paint strainer bag approach.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:21PM
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OK......Got it!

I see exactly what you're saying. The hose that goes from the back of the dryer to the wall is now lined with the paint strainer material, then connect to dryer, but clean more frequently. It's almost like having a 2nd dryer lint catcher if you think about it. One that we clean after each load, and the other we clean once every couple of weeks maybe? I'm assuming this doesn't restrict much airflow?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Yup. I don't think it restricts airflow at all. When it is clean, loads dry very fast. After awhile, I will notice loads taking longer to dry...and SHORTLY after that, it will clog completely so that loads don't dry at all.

Doing maybe 6 loads a week, a lot of knits which generate tons of lint, it seemed I was cleaning it about once a month.

There are secondary lint traps you can buy, which are like a metal box with a door the opens so that you can clean off the mesh screen going across the inside of the box. This solution is no good for us because where would we have the space to install it? But our solution achieves the same thing.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 3:19PM
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I'm definitely going to do this because getting behind my dryer is not that difficult at all and I can easily clean it once a week even. But you have to wonder.....If lint escapes the "first" lint screen, then how is it NOT able to escape the second one?

I can see where this would be a DRAG for folks who have difficulty getting behind their dryer.

Not sure if this will help you, but have you thought about putting those slider things under each leg of your dryer, so then it makes it much easier to push/pull? Like those things you put under legs of anything heavy to move it.. I have a set of four on my dryer and I can slide it back and forth pretty easily. I put them on the dryer like 7 yrs ago & they have been on ever since. I don't slide it all the way to the back. Both washer and dryer are about 8 inches to perhaps a foot from the wall. Also, my washer and dryer are not touching each other. They are about 8 inches apart from each other. I keep a small bagged vac that fits in between them to clean all the lint/dust sucked up that doing laundry creates. I can take the vacuum out, and since I'm kind of thin I can just get right back there and there is just enough room for me to work. If it were not for my dryer pedestal, I could probably get the dryer closer because the back of the dryer would be closer to the wall vent, but since the pedestal makes the dryer higher, I don't push it back too close to the wall.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:46PM
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