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cleaning a dryer vent

 
steward
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Came across this on imgur and figured I would share! I figure people probably don't clean their dryer vent like this woman/man and it actually can be kind of dangerous. Here are some good instructions.

Here is the dirty vent: 7 years worth of lint in there...



She began by using a coat hanger to get some of the bigger thicker stuff out.



Here is where she removed and dissembled the dryer and vacuumed it all out as well, removing any and all lint from the heating element and electrical connections.



Next she used her nifty little tool. Here is a picture of the adapter dealio she used. It connects the pipe fitting to a shop vac hose while allowing the brush rods to pass through. All the lint should get sucked right into the shop vac.




Here is the tool thing all set up. She says "The kit came with the brush head, adapters, and 4 36" flexible rods. I bought a pack of 4 extras. It took 6 to get the job done. Just attach to a drill, add extensions as you travel up the pipe, and when you hit the top, just reverse the process. I kept the drill going slowly as I extracted the rods allowing for maximum lint retrieval. "



And here is 7 years worth of lint!!! She notes that it's probably best to clean it once a year.



And here it is all nice and clean and non dangerous!


 
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Thanks for posting this Cassie. It's a very useful practical thread. Perhaps not the most braggable homesteading sexy idea, but important nonetheless.
John S
PDX OR
 
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You forgot about the part where you threw away the dangerous flex tubing hooking the dryer to the wall and putting in solid pipe. Jay
 
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This will also save money. The dryer will work more efficiently.
 
master pollinator
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Jay is correct, concerning solid pipe. It allows smooth air flow and doesn't have a million little ridges to clog. A metal pipe can be cleaned without the risk of puncturing. The dryer would move more air and use less energy.

Vent cleaning is one of the no money Christmas gifts that I give. That along with changing bad plugs, is all most people get.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Thanks for the suggestions guys! I actually have never done this task myself but just found this online but thought I had to share so thanks for the tips!

John what are you talking about!? Being covered in 7 year old lint is totally sexy.....
 
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I don't use a dryer for drying clothes, I have a clothes line but I remembered this other thread about uses for dryer lint............ HERE
Might as well use it for something The most popular I've ever seen is for paper making, not sure how synthetics might work for that, cotton would be best.
I do have a 110 volt old maytag dryer that I use for felting wool and sometimes to knock the dust mites out of dry pillow cases........it does not get very hot and I sometimes use the lint for stuffing little 'things'.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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That is a great tidbit Judith! Thanks! Lint as a fire starter. Who knew.. ? Hmm.
 
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I think paul saw this same post about two weeks ago because he told me to go check the dryer vent after looking at a picture on reddit.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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And.. how was it Sam? Did it need a cleaning?
 
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The technique for cleaning would work fine. I question the use of clothes dryers at all. They wear out the clothes faster consume electricity and natural gas for an unnecessary activity as well as anti-static sheets and sometimes perfuming sheets in case the clothes still have an odor. Solar power clothes dryers are far cheaper, far more energy efficient and they clean any left over odor out of the clothes as they dry. Solar clothes dryers are call close hangers hooked on a line or clothes lines. Additionally they require no clearing of lint.
 
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I agree Harry but currently living the daily urban grind with 25 degree days and no time, I just switched to an internal exhaust (electric of course, ie Carbon Monoxide w/gas dryers, don't do this). I collect the lint in a water trap with furnace filter wrapped around it. It heats an area of my home that freezes due to poor construction. I feel like its the best of both worlds for now because I'm not wasting the heat, it gives my heat pump a break. This house will either be rented or sold soon and I'll be able to hook my Jotul back up at a new, owner built homestead but for now, it works. I'd never use this setup for a rental because it requires weekly maintenance but it works for me.
 
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David Miller wrote:I agree Harry but currently living the daily urban grind with 25 degree days and no time, I just switched to an internal exhaust (electric of course, ie Carbon Monoxide w/gas dryers, don't do this). I collect the lint in a water trap with furnace filter wrapped around it. It heats an area of my home that freezes due to poor construction....



I am in need of such a setup, any chance you can share your design David?
 
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My homey Larry Santoyo says we get 20% of our electricity from Nuclear power which is the same we use to dry our clothes (when a clothes line would do just fine) ... so we are risking life on the planet to dry our clothes !! Also i collect the dryer lint all year in those paper towel tube thingys .. best fire starters in the winter !!
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Of course I am sure everyone here would prefer to not use the dryer to save on energy.. But some people live in really really cold climates where they can't line dry their clothes for half the year. Does anyone have any alternatives for dryers for cold climate people in the winter?
 
Enrique Garcia
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They will dry indoors but will take longer. This would work with small loads in a warm house. They sell the things you can hang them on indoors but they don't hold very many clothes. It might be a daily thing depending on size of household.
 
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I live in a cold desert with solar electricity, so a dryer is not an option. We dry clothes outdoors -- first they freeze stiff and then they get soft when they dry. Or I hang clothes in the greenhouse that is attached to our house, since it doesn't have excessive humidity in it. But this is a desert and I don't know if these would work in a damper climate.

In the US in winter, heated houses are often parched and dry, and a folding clothes rack is a great thing. And/or one of those retractable clothes lines you can stretch across the room and then hide away again.

I like brushing my wet hair outside in the winter. The brush fills up with snow crystals, and basically removes the water as a solid. When I go back into the warmth, my hair is only damp.
 
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Dryer fires are not unheard of in my area, always lint related. Until recently the flex hose for dryers was always plastic with a spiral wire core but that has now been banned, or bannduh. Thanks for the reminder Cassie and let me also say that my wife and I always enjoy your videos.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Wyatt Barnes wrote:Thanks for the reminder Cassie and let me also say that my wife and I always enjoy your videos.



Thanks Wyatt! I really really appreciate that.
 
Judith Browning
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here is a link to Rick Roman's post with a video about 'clotheslines' https://permies.com/t/28493/videos/Archival-Film-Clotheslines and their nostalgic as opposed to dryers.
We mostly dry indoors when it is rainy and or snowy or icy on a couple wooden racks and on hangers. I suppose some wouldn't like the aesthetics but we have certain areas upstairs that get the rising heat and things dry easily overnight in the winter with the wood stove going. I don't always avoid rain or freezing temperatures though. I always think an extra rinse with rain freshens up cloth even more and then with some sun up next, no fabric freshener is going to do the same trick.
The only problem with hanging out in freezing temps is damp fingers sticking to the clothes or in some cases everything freezing before you are finished hanging it all out. And then they all look really odd waving in the breeze totally frozen....but they still dry. The most difficult for us is during a longgggggggg period of rainy and damp weather in the spring, when it is too warm to need the wood heat and the house feels almost as damp as out of doors. Even then they dry eventually.
I think a lot depends on doing regular small amounts of wash......there is no opportunity to quick wash and dry something for wearing in the next hour or so.

...had to add one more link to another thread here really saving energy...eliminating the clothes dryer!
 
David Miller
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http://www.lowes.com/pd_36006-131-L211_0__?productId=3240554&Ntt=indoor+dryer+vent&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dindoor%2Bdryer%2Bvent&facetInfo=

For the exact item, also note that I put furnace filter media wrapped around the exit to eliminate the excess lint filling my home
 
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Judith Browning wrote:I don't use a dryer for drying clothes, I have a clothes line but I remembered this other thread about uses for dryer lint............ HERE

I woud be leery of using lint from the dryer as fire starter, when drying clothes that have polyester in them. ...the whole chemical release thing!

 
Judith Browning
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Gail Saito wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:I don't use a dryer for drying clothes, I have a clothes line but I remembered this other thread about uses for dryer lint............ HERE



I woud be leery of using lint from the dryer as fire starter, when drying clothes that have polyester in them. ...the whole chemical release thing!



I would be leery also I think my link went straight to that post for some reason...I mentioned paper making but I think even for that any synthetics would not work. there are many other ideas in the thread though that would work if anyone had dryer lint, rather than throw it in the landfill.
 
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Our friend's house caught on fire when the dryer lint UNDER the dryer caught on fire. The vent had been cleaned, but there was lint under the dryer and it caught on fire and set their house on fire. Thankfully no one was hurt, but it's a big mess and could have been very tragic. Don't forget to clean UNDER your dryer.
 
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I make these dryer lint fire starters all of the time to start my wood stove and fireplace in the winter. http://www.trybackyardfarming.com/homemade-fire-starter/
 
Cassie Langstraat
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That is super nifty jonathan! Do you think you could post some of your pictures from your article here?
 
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