Long Dryer Vent Problems

Long dryer vents get clogged and the longer they are the more lent they can accumulate. As the home building business gets more competitive and real estate developers are looking for cheaper sometimes instead of better, this translate to construction problems and dryer vents are starting to become bigger problems for builders.

In the 1960s, most washers and dryers were located in the garage or utility rooms. These rooms were usually located next to an exterior wall and the dryer vent could safely be ran through the wall and was usually about 12 inches long. You can't have too many problems with a 12 inch dryer vent.

In the early 1980s I was working on a condominium complex, when I ran into my first dryer vent that ran up the garage wall, into the floor joist and vented out over the entryway. I knew eventually the homeowner would have problems with their dryer.

However it wasn't until quite a few years later, when I was working on a home for a friend of mine, when I noticed something strange. While I was coming in and out of the house, I noticed the dryer was running and didn't really pay any attention but it was one of those things, I must have subconsciously made a note of.

When I was outside working next to the dryer vent, I noticed there wasn't any air coming out. I held my hand in front of the exterior dryer vent and couldn't feel any air at all. I asked my friend if he had any problems with the clothes dryer, he said "Ever since he moved in, he noticed it took about 20 minutes longer for each load of laundry to dry, than the previous home he lived in."

I informed him that there was no air coming out of the dryer vent and we should disconnect the metal pipes that were running along the base of the garage framing. This was a 4 inch metal pipe that was approximately 35 feet long. This is quite a bit longer than the original 12 inch pipes. When I took the first section apart it looked like cotton candy had filled the pipe. I couldn't believe what I was looking at.

I dismantled the rest of the pipes and cleaned them the best I could with a garden hose and a wire brush taped to a poll. When I hooked the system back together and the dryer was turned back on, I could now feel the warm moist air flowing freely out of the house.

The homeowner couldn't believe, the clogged vent pipe was causing the dryer to run longer, which means he was using more electrical power. Higher electricity bills of course. The next time I seen him he was telling me about the dryer and how happy he was that I fixed the problem, that he never even knew he had.

The moral to this story is, keep your long dryer vents clean. You should examine your dryer vent pipes annually, dryers put off heat and heat can start fires.