Eco-Saturday: Clean your dryer vent

Here’s an easy project that will make your dryer run more efficiently and reduce the risk of house fires: Clean out your dryer-vent hose.

I bought a fancy $40 kit at the hardware store that was supposed to attach to my cordless drill and work in tandem with a Shop-Vac to clean all the lint out of my dryer vent. In theory, it should have worked beautifully. In reality, it was a pain to assemble, the directions were unnecessarily complicated, and the part that was supposed to fit into the chuck on my drill just freewheeled instead of turning with the drill because it was round instead of hexagonal. Poop. 😦

The good news is that the brush and flexible wand extensions that attached to it worked just fine for hand-cleaning the hose. Mine is the crinkly foil kind that accordion-folds, so this is how I cleaned it:

1. Connected the flexible wand extensions to the brush attachment.
2. Unplugged the dryer. (If you have a gas dryer, you’ll need to shut off the gas and disconnect the line as well. Be sure to seal it properly when you reconnect it.)
3. Disconnected the vent hose from the dryer.
4. Moved the vent hose to a spot where I could straighten it out as much as possible.
5. Grabbed the cleaning wand close to the brush and moved it around inside the vent, sticking my arm as far into the vent as I could, scrunching up the hose as I moved forward.
6. Whenever I came to a clump of lint, I grabbed it and pulled it out with my hand.
7. When I got all the way to the end, I slowly pulled the brush out, twisting it around to rake out any smaller bits of lint that were caught in the folds of the hose.
8. With the hose extended, I ran the brush back in and out a couple more times just to be sure I’d gotten everything.
9. Pulled out the lint filter on the dryer itself and used a longer brush attachment that came with the kit to clean out the inside of the dryer.
10. Reconnected the dryer.
11. Turned on the dryer, went outside to make sure it was venting properly, and let it run a few minutes to blow out any loose lint and dust. (If you have an exterior screen on your vent, you may need to pull it off and clean it out after this step.)

This is all the lint I removed:

dryer2

I haven’t run the dryer since I cleaned it, but a guy over on Treehugger discovered a load that normally took 90 minutes to dry took 25 minutes after he cleaned his filter. That’s a substantial improvement.

I was disappointed the cleaning kit didn’t work with my drill, but I didn’t really mind doing it by hand, and I imagine I’ll get my money back in improved efficiency and correspondingly lower power bills.

Emily

Advertisements

One thought on “Eco-Saturday: Clean your dryer vent”

  1. While you’re at it, wash your dryer filter under the faucet at your sink with a soft brush and some dishwashing liquid and a little ammonia (or Windex). Dryer sheets and other fabric softeners leave a coating on the mesh that slows down air circulation and can cause a fire. If you never use fabric softener (other than vinegar) you can probably skip this step, but I like to do it once every six weeks or so just for safety’s sake.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s