How to Clean your Dryer Vent from Outside

Outside HVAC unit

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If you find your dryer is taking longer and longer to completely dry a normal load of laundry, you might need to clean the outside dryer vent. This is the exhaust-type vent on the exterior of your home that allows the moist air to escape from your dryer. However, many homeowners don’t know how to clean a dryer vent from the outside. Good news: the process is pretty simple, and will leave you feeling much more confident about your dryer’s performance and the safety of your home!

Locating Your Outside Dryer Vent

The first step is to locate your dryer vent. The vent is typically located close to the designated washer/dryer area within the home. If your laundry plumbing and outlets are in the basement, for example, your outside vent may be located on the same side of the house, along the foundation. If your laundry area is located on an upper floor, your vent may be located within the roof.

How to Clean a Dryer Vent from Outside

Before you get started, gather the following supplies:

  • A household lubricant, such as WD-40
  • A bucket of warm, clean water
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • A long-handled wire brush
  • Rags or a scrub brush

First, watch your dryer vent in action. While you’re actively drying a load of laundry, take a look at your dryer vent from outside. If you have a hinged door on your vent, the slats should be blowing outward equally as the warm, damp air from your dryer pushes through. Make sure all of the slats are blowing open easily and closing completely.

Once your dryer is stopped, conduct a closer inspection of your dryer vent. If there are any rusty or sticky spots in the hinges, go ahead and treat those spots with a little bit of lubricant, until they swing open and close freely.

Next, it’s time to use the long-handled wire brush to scrub the inside area of the dryer vent. As your dryer blows damp air outside, small bits of wet lint can stick to the side of the duct and accumulate over time. Your goal is to use the wire brush to remove this accumulation.

Lastly, clean the outside pieces of the dryer vent with some dishwashing detergent, water, and the rag or scrub brush. Remove any caked-on lint, mold or mildew, or other debris. Rinse clean with the non-soapy water in the bucket.

While you’re outside, make sure that your dryer vent is easily accessible. You want to make sure air can flow freely in this area, so you may need to consider moving any plants, removing natural lawn debris, snow, or other objects that might interfere with your dryer vent.

The Benefits of Cleaning Your Dryer Vent from Outside

The build-up in a dryer vent is a mostly porous material, such as lint. This means that the moisture from the dryer will seep into this build-up, causing the growth of mold and mildew.

Additionally, the extreme build-up can cause damage to the slats in a dryer vent, and vice versa. If the slats become damaged, they can become stuck. If they are left open, outside elements can easily enter your home, including debris, weather, and animals.

While learning how to clean your dryer vent from outside is a pretty simple process, the location of your vent may prohibit you from doing so. If this is the case, call 844-962-2681 to speak to an HVAC professional in your local area. These highly trained technicians have the necessary equipment to assist with any inaccessible dryer vents. They’ll also be able to provide you with a no-obligation quote for a damaged or non-functional dryer vent following an inspection of the situation.

Having a clean dryer vent not only improves the function of your dryer; it can offer you peace of mind!

Speak to a Dryer Vent Professional in Your Area

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