The picture above is from a dryer vent duct that is now exhausting the air correctly. The building you see is on Roberts Street in Fargo. The duct run was approximately 40 feet in length with a few issues. The portion of the duct going outside was inside a ceiling cavity. Along with that, there were 4 elbows which made getting all the way into the duct very hard.
Solution: We accessed the inner ceiling cavity, and opened an access into the duct to allow our equipment and camera to see exactly where the problem was. After finding the location of the clog inside the duct, we were easily able to remove the obstruction and close up the duct opening!
Below are two clips I found that illustrate just how fast dryer lint can catch fire and burn through the ducting itself. From our experience dryer vents get neglected and many times the initial installation of the duct may have been altered over time due to remodeling, repairs, etc.
Sometimes rigid ducting gets replaced with flexible ducting, or the ducting becomes plugged and restricted or pinched behind the dryer. Any one of these issues can cause a dryer vent fire.
As you see in the first clip, there can be a great deal of lint built up inside the dryer itself, or packed underneath the dryer itself. When this gets hot, or the dryer vent duct gets restricted, it causes heat inside the dryer, which could ignite the lint.
It was important that I include the second clip, and although our company did not produce the video, it illustrates the flammability of some duct materials. The video shows a duct made of plastic, which was commonly installed not all that long ago. It causes other issues as well, over time it becomes dry and brittle, often cracking and causing air to escape which can create a mess of lint blowing into the laundry area or into the wall. We HIGHLY recommend this get replaced with aluminum ducting.
Nobody pays much attention to their dryer vent duct, until there is a problem. What a surprise this homeowner had when I pulled the duct cover off…
Yikes!! The outside vent covers disguised a vent packed full of lint. No wonder the homeowner was having a hard time drying clothes. Also, this is a home that was built in the last 10 years, so the house is not that old, but I am sure the duct had never been cleaned out over the 10 year history of the house.
This is a picture inside the duct, it is not any cleaner. The buildup went all the way back to the dryer, (about 15 feet) and the first elbow near the dryer was packed full of lint. In a basement laundry set-up, there are usually two or more elbows to the ducting, and they run to the outside of the house. The problem is a lot of these elbows pack full of lint, further restricting airflow to almost nothing. In this case the dryer was working at half duty, so only about half of the air was venting to the outside.
This next picture shows the end result after cleaning. It took four runs with our brush system to clean out the entire length, with about two pounds of lint coming out. Unfortunately this time I did not get a picture of the pile of lint that we retrieved from the ducting. Further, we attached a better duct inside the house, securing it with appropriate clamps and making sure everything in back of the dryer was neat and clean.
The final result was a very happy customer. After cleaning everything out he referred us to 3 of his neighbors and we cleaned all of their ducts too. In a side note, I would say the customer was a little skeptical until we pulled off the duct covers and took these pictures. This is common, and why we document our process on each job. If you have a question or comment, leave your info below, we can get back to you with a free consultation and quote on your home. Or give us a call or text at 701-306-7026.
When a homeowner, or business calls us in regard to dryer vent cleaning, it is usually due to a problem of some kind related to the dryer itself that prompts the call. We are usually the last call they make after talking to appliance repairman, who normally do not handle dryer vent cleaning. Generally, there is an issue that has developed with the dryer, in most cases it is not drying properly, or getting very hot when used. We often get referred by appliance repair companies, which was how the customer heard about us.
In the case we have that I am writing about today, the homeowner was simply complaining that the dryer was taking too long to dry clothes, (over 3 cycles). The repairman could not find anything wrong with the dryer, so he suggested they call us.
After I went over to the customer’s home to take a look, I could easily see why this was happening and took the following picture:
So… you can easily see the problem. This was just hanging outside the duct. My tech pulled out the clump of lint and “stuff” and although that helped the problem, the next picture reveals what the duct looked like inside:
This lint inside buildup inside this duct is common, and in the case of this homeowner, the dryer was working very hard to push out air, only to have it restricted by the clogged duct. The dryer was approximately 20 feet from the outside of the house, so the air from the dryer has a good deal of distance to go to get out of the house. Any restriction in the duct can cause a real problem, in terms of problems with the dryer itself, as well as a potential fire hazard.
After using our cleaning process to get all of the lint out of the vent, we were able to make the duct look like this:
So as you can see it is much cleaner, there is no more lint to restrict the air flow from the dryer. As part of our service we clean the duct going into the dryer, and check the dryer vent connections going to the dryer to minimize restrictions and anything else that could cause a problem.
The lint we removed looks like this:
This is a normal dryer vent duct. Nothing out of the ordinary. It may seem like a lot, or excessive, but the home we cleaned is a normal family, with an average amount of laundry.
Our goal for 2015 is to accelerate our efforts to spread the message to homeowners and businesses alike that dryer vent cleaning is probably one of the most neglected maintenance items in your home. In most cases, a yearly cleaning can prevent dryer issues and the service is inexpensive, (usually around $100). Our service provides very valuable benefits including reduced laundry drying times (as in this case), which translates into real money savings of electrical and/or gas usage. It also prevents a fire hazard, since the lint you see in the picture above is very flammable. You can reach us for a free consultation and quote at 701-306-7026.
It must be late as I write this, as I am getting “deep” into the true nature of cleaning. The fact of the matter is cleaning and the cleaning business will always be around, as well as most other services and service businesses. There will simply never be a time when everything stays clean, no matter how advanced technology may get, the universe will continually keep moving from order to disorder. This will result in the constant need to put things back into order.
This is the most basic function of all cleaning. Whether we are cleaning a carpet, air ducts or the side of a building, we are putting things back into order, from the traffic, wear or abuse of the given item. To make customers happy, our job is to match their expectation of “clean” along with what they are willing to compensate our company.
To look at this even more deeply, most “work” people do is to combat this never ending cycle of order from disorder. If you work at a bank, you make order out of people’s money, if you work as a doctor, you are putting people’s body back into order, or, like our company, we put “things” back into order again, like carpet, or the inside of duct work, or flooring. Moving things back to order again and again and again.
The two pictures above clearly illustrate the big difference duct cleaning can make on the ducts in your home. Duct cleaning is a popular service right now because everyone is firing up their furnaces, and often, this is when allergies and coughing start as well.
Is it no surprise, after seeing what is in picture (1) of this home, that someone would start coughing. Its FULL of pet hair, including dander, dust mites and bacteria.
The problem is most people just don’t know what is inside their duct work, or how dirty it really is. We try to take pictures of every job we do, so people can see just how dirty they really can get and the end result after we get done cleaning. As you can see in picture (2), we were able to clean out all the hair, and even avoid harming the wiring that is running inside the rafter spaces. This is due to the advanced “Viper” cleaning system we use, and our experience as technicians.
Although we are in the carpet cleaning business here in the Fargo ND area, people will often call with questions about do-it-yourself carpet cleaning. Now obviously, since we are carpet cleaners and get paid to provide that service we are going to recommend you call us, but what can you do if perhaps you don’t have the money to spend or perhaps you are in an area where calling a professional service like us is just not possible or far from a service area.
So, what are the pro’s and con’s of cleaning carpet yourself. Here they are.
1. You can save money. Even if you rent a Rug Doctor, or other rental machine, if you are cleaning more than 2 or 3 rooms, you will probably still spend less than what you would pay to have a carpet cleaning company come over to your house.
2. You can control the results. Some people would like to know what effort went into their carpet cleaning, and what the end results end up being. Not to mention pride in a job well done by YOU!
3. You don’t have to worry. Often, hiring a company to come over to your house can be an ordeal, you have to make an appointment, wait for the company (hopefully they are on time), and then you have to make sure the person(s) doing the work are doing the job right and are people that you can trust inside your house. If you do the work yourself, you don’t have these worries and you can do the work whenever it is convenient for you.
1. The results may not be satisfactory. Renting equipment you have never used before requires a learning curve. You are at the mercy of the rental company as to what kind of equipment you will get. Often, it can be working less than 100%. Also, this equipment is usually less powerful than a professional would us (such as us), so the end results might not be as good. In the case of carpet cleaning this might mean longer dry times for your carpet or streaks from low powered vacuum systems.
2. Carpet cleaning is hard work. Scrubbing carpet is hard work, and pushing a wand or pulling a carpet extractor can become tiresome, keep this in mind as an entire home might take several hours.
Depending on your situation, cleaning carpet yourself might be the way to go, just keep in mind the results you get will require your sweat and labor, and may not be the same as a carpet cleaning company might provide.