How To Clean A Dryer Vent With A Leaf Blower
Dryer vents are notoriously hard to clean. All that grit and dust just seems to pile up, no matter what you do. There’s no end in sight, is there? For the longest time, it sure seemed that way. However, a recent lifehack started to appear on the internet claiming that you can clean your dryer vents with a leafblower. But, is this really true?
It is possible to save time and money cleaning your dryer vents using a leafblower. To do this, unplug your dryer and get your leafblower. Position the leaf blower on the start of your dryer vent, and turn on the blower. The rush of air will blow the lint out.
It may seem like a simple procedure, but using a leafblower on a dryer vent can get complicated. In fact, it’s often not a good idea at all. Before you get your garage opened up, let’s look a little deeper at the full issue. You might not like what you hear.
Can You Actually Clean A Dryer Vent With A Leaf Blower?
Technically, yes you can. The wind from the leafblower will be forceful enough to push out the dryer lint. However, there is a major caveat. This “lifehack” doesn’t work with all dryer types. If you choose the wrong dryer to do this on, you’ll force all the lint into a corner of the vent and cause a vent clog. This, in turn, becomes a fire hazard.
What Kind Of Dryer Can You Clean Using A Leaf Blower?
Before you even set foot in your garage, make sure that the leaf blower can handle the cleaning technique out there. Most leafblowers are not high-powered enough to handle lots of twists and turns. In order to use this technique, make sure that the following statements are true about your dryer:
- There’s only a couple of feet of dryer vent. You can’t have a long, twisty vent for the leafblower hack to work.
- The dryer’s vent is a straight shot. A corner in your vent will become a liability and a place where lint will get backed up. This will totally defeat the purpose of the dryer vent cleaning and possibly lead to prolonged damage.
- The vent must be made of fixed, non-flexible metal. Accordion-style venting will get damaged from the high winds and possibly remain distorted as a result of the “hack.” Flexible metal vents can also cause this hack to contribute to lint clogging.
- There must be no screen on the outside vent and it must be easy to test for airflow. You need to be able to access the outside vent without any type of blockage, including screens. If there’s a screen, the lint might not be able to go out of your dryer.
What’s The Safest Way To Clean A Dryer Vent?
Though the leafblower trick might’ve become very popular through apps like Pinterest, the truth is that it’s not a very safe way to clean a dryer vent. Traditionally, you want to pull the lint out rather than blow it through the vent. This prevents lint from getting stuck in corners or having a stronger clog.
To clean out your lint the traditional way, you would use a tool called a reverse spinning skipper ball to get the lint out. This “ball” is usually attached to a high-pressured air hose that helps it scoop up lint. The process is a lot more involved, but it will get your vents clean regardless of the type of build you have.
How Can You Tell If Your Dryer Vent Is In Need Of Cleaning?
Most of the time, people will choose to clean out a dryer vent as part of their laundry room routines. However, there will also be times where you will need to break routine. If you notice that your dryer isn’t working as efficiently as it once was, or if you notice that your dryer vent isn’t blowing through the way it once used to, it’s time to clean out your dryer vent.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that you should probably clean your dryer vent if you notice lint buildup, signs of a clog, or feel like your clothes aren’t getting the love they deserve. If a cleaning doesn’t fix the issue, then you will need to call a repairman to see what’s going on.
Cleaning Your Dryer Vent With Your Leaf Blower
Now that you’ve managed to determine that your dryer is actually capable of handling this classic lifehack, you can go and grab your leafblower and start working. Here’s how to get started.
- Unplug your dryer and tilt it so that the vent is closer to you. Ideally, you’ll have a quick shot to the vent hose, where the vent is linked up to your house.
- Using a screwdriver, unscrew the dryer hose from the side of your house. The hose is usually clamped in place. A screwdriver will make it easy to remove the clamps without damaging the hose. Place some tape over the hose.
- Get the right attachment for your leaf blower. The typical long attachment won’t work too well here. You’ll need to get a reducer in order to shorten the distance the air needs to travel. If you need to, attach a reducer using duct tape.
- Go outside and remove the vent housing. You can use a screwdriver to get rid of this, too.
- Insert the leafblower into the start of the dryer vent and turn it on. The air will blow out the lint and hopefully move it to the hose, which will then transport it outside of the house. Since lint is mostly biodegradable, it won’t actually harm the environment.
- Open the dryer hose. You want to make sure that the lint didn’t get stuck there. If it did, use your hand to scoop it out and go back to running the leafblower. More lint will probably come out after a second run.
- After that, just check the housing. Scoop away any stuck lint.
- Reattach the hose and the housing. This can be done using a screwdriver, just like removing it.
Can You Get Your Dryer Vent Professionally Cleaned?
If you have reason to believe that you have a serious clog in your dryer vent, then cleaning your vent on your own might be a difficult task. This is especially true if you have accordion-style venting or if you have already given cleaning your vent a try. Thankfully, this isn’t a super pricey endeavor to do.
Professional companies will cost between $100 to $170 on average. The price will vary depending on your location, the dryer type you have, and if you have any serious signs of clogging. If you need additional repairs, they may also charge an inspection or diagnostic fee to see what’s going on.
How do you know if you have a clog in a dryer vent?
If you have a clog, your clothes will take a long time to dry and they may also start to have a musty, burnt smell to them. Many people will also start to see lint buildup in their machines. Touching your dryer or the clothes inside them will also feel extremely hot to the touch. If you have a more modern dryer, you might also get an alert that you need to have your dryer serviced.
How often should you clean the lint out of your dryer vent?
Dryer vents are not the same as lint traps. Lint traps need to be cleaned on a daily basis, but dryer vents only need to be cleaned once a year in most cases. However, heavy use can have an impact on your dryer cleaning requirements. If you have a dryer that is used extremely frequently, you will need to clean it every six to eight months.
Can you use duct tape on a dryer vent?
While people might say that duct tape fixes everything, dryer vents are not something that works well with duct tape. The high heat of a dryer vent in use will often dry out the adhesive. This will cause gaps or even total failure over time. A better option would be to choose tape meant for HVAC purposes, if you need to tape things at all.
Do dryers let off carbon monoxide?
If you didn’t have enough reason to want to keep your dryer vents clog-free, here’s another. When clogged, dryer vents can start to give off noticeable traces of carbon monoxide. If your CO alarm has started to go off every time you put a new batch of laundry in the dryer, turn off the dryer and call a repairman immediately.
Is it really necessary to clean a dryer vent regularly?
While it may seem like yet another pointless chore, cleaning a dryer vent is a must. It’s one of the most reliable ways to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning in your household. Moreover, lint clogs are a serious fire hazard and can contribute to both dryer breakdown as well as overheating.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
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