Dryer Vent Cleaning – One Easy Change Can Fix A Lot Of Issues

Dryer Vents. They can be a fire hazard, they can cause water to leak into the ceiling creating thousands of dollars in damage; they can be a real maintenance issue. If one of your buildings is having repeated issues with their vents, our quick tip of the day may help solve the problem:

Look at the physical vent cover at the outside point of the dryer duct. What do you see?  If the wrong type of vent cover is installed  – change them.  This can prevent a lot of issues developing over time.

We are finding that there is one style of dryer vent that is clearly outperforms all other choices.  When speaking to a local manufacturer, they told us builders often place orders  for vents without acknowledging that the dryer vent cover should be different from that of other vents.  So, we’re finding often problems are created because the wrong style of vent is installed.  These vents get clogged quite easily by a build up of lint.  This causes a reduction or stoppage of air flow, which leads to the issues.

Why would a builder put on the wrong kind of vent?   Ignorance.   Cost savings (buying all the same style in bulk might save them money).  A mix up with construction subtrades.   The reason could be any or all of the above.  Whatever the cause, we are seeing this issue a lot in the GVRD.   Vent covers are put on backwards, the wrong style of cover is put on, etc.

So, what should you look for?  What is the correct style?

The best dryer vent cover is one that has a simple flap. It opens when hot air forces it to when the dryer is turned on. When the dryer is off, those flaps close.

We’ll call this “Style A”.

The gaps between the flaps offer enough room for the air to carry lint out. These are the best type of vent cover to have.

“Style B”

Vent covers with flaps and plastic mesh over top are not properly designed to be used for dryer vents!   Those that are marketed and sold as dryer vent covers are doing the public a disservice.  The plastic mesh grid clogs up with lint, and then the flaps underneath cannot open.  Also, the professional tooling used to clean dryer vents in the majority of cases cannot fit into the tiny holes of the grid.

We spoke to a local vent manufacturer.  They explained that the dryer vent covers that they make have a flap but no plastic mesh grid.    Those with grids can be used for bathroom fans and other purposes.  They related when they sell vent covers for dryers, if they run out of the style that have flaps but no mesh, they cut the mesh off dryer vents that have both, turning vents of Style B, into Style A.

“Style C” pic.

Those vent covers with very thin gaps are not designed for dryer vents. They easily clog when the slightest amount of lint builds up behind them. We have replaced this type of cover with proper vent covers on several buildings and find this significantly improves the effectiveness of the dryer, of the cleaning services, and reduces issues in the building – which can save thousands in damages when you consider moisture build up in the ceiling or fires caused by these clogged airways.

The other issue with these thin vent covers is that they’re often put on backwards, forcing the lint filled air onto a window below. So, not only is the vent cover not doing its job properly, it is also making the windows dirtier.

Good air flow is the key component with dryer venting. Restricting the ability of air to flow out with a tiny mesh screen at the very end which easily clogs with lint: bad idea.

The proper dryer vent cover should work ideally in 99% of cases. The other styles cause issues almost all the time.

Here is a video of one of our technicians and what he found on a site.   You’ll see him clip the screen off, allowing the bent to ‘breathe’, and function as it should in future.

So if one of your stratas is struggling with dryer vent cleaning issues, take a look at what they have installed at the exit point of the dryer vent duct, and determine if that is a major contributing cause. If so, replace the dryer vent covers. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run.

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