As homeowners, we already have so many things to think about that we often take for granted the inner workings we can't see: the pipes under the sink, gutters, and of course, the dryer vent. While a dryer vent may seem like a simple necessity, it has surprising depth (often literally) and requires diligent maintenance. So, what makes them so complex?
Dryer vents come in many sizes. While some vents are only 4-6 inches long, others can span over 35 feet! No matter the length of the vent, manufacturers recommend that it is serviced by a professional. Once dryer vents reach 12 feet in length, they become more difficult to clean thoroughly (especially with inexpensive DIY tools). The longer the dryer vent, the harder it is to ensure that every speck of lint has been safely removed. Cleaning, sanitizing, and repairing long vents requires special tools and know-how.
Do you know where your dryer vent runs? How about where it ends? Many dryer vents let out on the roof or on an exterior wall several stories up. This can make reaching the vent difficult, especially during colder months.
In addition, the path a dryer vent traverses isn’t always the easiest to follow. Our dryer vent inspections take us into basements, attics, rooftops, and under houses into crawl spaces. When a portion of a vent needs to be repaired, or we’re doing a total vent overhaul, tight spots can add an extra layer of difficulty.
While elbows can be an important part of a dryer vent’s structure, they can cause issues if they are not installed properly. All elbows should be connected using metal foil tape, not duct tape. Non-metal tapes can’t withstand the heat and moisture expelled from a dryer vent, causing the elbows to come apart. Elbows should also never be attached using screws. Screw tips that poke through the vent provide an additional surface for lint to cling to, which contributes to clogs.
This is a big one. DIY mavericks and unknowing contractors alike sometimes take shortcuts by installing flimsy venting filled with ridges. Good way to save a few bucks, right? Wrong!
Slinky vinyl and flexible foil material are highly flammable. While these materials may be okay in other places around the home, your dryer creates far too much heat for it to handle. In addition, the ridges and grooves trap large amounts of lint quickly.
When our Wizards encounter these dangerous venting materials, we always recommend replacing them immediately. We install proper material: durable, rigid piping with no grooves on the inside.
What questions do you have for our Wizards about dryer vents? Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!