The story I’m sharing today is one of greed, deception, and danger. It’s a story about trusting your gut…it’s a story about….wait for it….your dryer vent. Yes. All that in what I like to call “The Saga of the Clogged Dryer Vent.”
Our story begins last year this time when our family moved from our nice little suburban piece of paradise in North Carolina…
…to our rental townhome just outside of Washington DC.
When we were getting ready to move our landlord had asked us if we wanted them to supply the washer and dryer for the unit or if we would be bringing our own. We had a set of our own in our North Carolina house but it was pretty old and I got greedy and asked for them to put a set in-I figured a new set would be an improvement over what we currently had.
As soon as we started settling into the house and doing laundry I knew something was wrong…it was taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r for the laundry to dry. The owner had put in about the cheapest washer and dryer set available so I chalked it up to that and dealt with it. But it just kept getting worse.
By winter it was taking me literally THREE HOURS to get a medium load of laundry to dry fully. When you’re doing laundry for a family of five that’s a HUGE deal. I was lucky if I could get one load of laundry done a day-and that was only if I was home while it was drying because I had to constantly restart it. It was a pain. Not only that but every time I dusted the rooms on the same level as the laundry room I was dusting up a thin layer of lint-the dryer was kicking back lint into the house!
My husband disconnected the dryer and checked the hose and vacuumed out the vent from inside the house but nothing helped. To make matters worse, the vent is routed to the the outside on top of the very steep third floor roof so we had no access to it to check it.
I finally called our landlord because I started getting really paranoid about the possiblity of a fire because I knew in my gut that the vent was clogged somewhere towards the outside of the house. He sent over a cleaner who ran a shop vac up from the laundry room into the vent and pronounced it clean. He never got on the roof.
There was no improvement.
The landlord implied that it was just the dryer itself or something I was doing on my part like overloading it. Finally, just before we went on our recent vacation we sucked it up and went to Best Buy and bought a new LG washer and dryer set. (Bye-bye tax return!) Surely this would be the end of our laundry issues! It was delivered the day before we left on our trip so I didn’t get to try it out until we returned.
When we pulled up in the driveway after a fun (but exhausting) ten day trip I knew I had a LOT of laundry to do! I started right away as we unpacked and guess what happened? Our fancy new LG dryer alerted me that there was an airflow problem. And it wouldn’t run the dryer. So I’m home after a two day drive and ten days away from home with five suitcases full of dirty laundry and my brand new dryer won’t run because the dryer vent is clogged.
At this point there may have been tears of exasperation on my part and my husband took over this situation. He called the landlord and the cleaner came back the next day, this time to clean it properly from the roof.
And this is what came out of the vent:
And that was only about a third of everything he got out of the vent.
Since the cleaning everything has been perfect-laundry dries quickly, and I’m not paranoid about a fire anymore.
So if you’ve made it this far through my story I will give you my takeaways:
CLEAN YOUR DRYER VENT!
If you are in a home like ours where it’s not possible for you to access your exterior vent, hire someone to do it. If you can access yours and want to do it yourself this is the tool the cleaner used to get all of the lint out of the line…I’ll be purchasing one of these when we move to our next home so we can do this maintenance ourselves. I have a full tutorial on how to clean your dryer here as well.
TRUST YOUR GUT! I knew that vent was clogged for months but I kept feeling like a nuisance for asking the landlord about it over and over. I’m lucky with how much lint was in the line that we did not have a fire. Many others have not been so lucky-trust your gut and don’t let people tell you otherwise. The cleaner told me the line was clean the first time he came because he didn’t want to get on our roof (I don’t blame him for that-it’s super high!) but it was most definitely NOT clean and I think he knew that. I should have insisted he check from the roof the first time, I could have avoided spending the money on the new washer dryer set and all the aggravation that followed.
So that’s the saga. Have you cleaned your dryer vent lately? Has anyone else had a similar experience?