Autumn has come, and now you are faced with a carpet of leaves in your yard.
Many people use leaf blowers to rid their yard of leaves, but can they be used for other purposes?
You might use a leaf blower for your leaves and then put it away for the rest of the year, but you might want to think about that for a minute as leaf blowers are actually used for cleaning out dryer vents.
So just how do we use a leaf blower to clean out a dryer vent? Let’s find out!
How To Clean Dryer Vent With A Leaf Blower?
You want to use your leaf blower at the maximum strength and insert the nozzle into the air vent line. The blockages can take a little while to come unstuck from the vents, so it is a good idea to leave the leaf blower going for 2-3 minutes which will push the lint down the line and out of the vent. If you use the blower correctly, you should have a clean dryer vent.
What Exactly Is A Leaf Blower?
If you don’t have leaves in your yard, then you might not own a leaf blower or even know what one is.
Also known as a blower vacuum, a leaf blower is a versatile tool that works to move grass cuttings and leaves around your yard.
Air propels out of the nozzle end, which moves the leaves. You can get either gas or electric-powered ones that now have four-stroke engines to help reduce air pollution.
Leaf blowers are self-contained units you can either hold in your hand or get one that is mounted to a backpack.
If you have a huge area and need more power, you can get a larger unit that sits on wheels and has a more powerful motor.
You have to push them by hand in order to operate them, which is why many people refer to them as walk-behind leaf blowers.
What Is The Lint In Your Dryer Vent?
When it comes to getting rid of lint from your dryer vent, it is a good idea to first understand what lint actually is and how it gets into your vent.
Lint is a pile of tiny fibers that detach from your clothing during the washing and drying cycle.
When your clothes go through the wash, the friction can cause the fibers to pull away, and because your clothes are still wet, they stick to the clothes until they are put into the dryer, which is when the fibers will come away from the clothing as they dry.
This is normal, which is why every dryer has a lint holder/screen to help catch the lint.
Do We Need To Remove Dryer Lint?
We certainly do! You need to remove dryer lint frequently, and it is vital to do so.
If the lint builds up, it will start to lower the airflow through the dryer, which will decrease the efficiency and run your bill up higher.
If lint is left in the vents for too long and it remains damp, it can cause mold and mildew to develop.
The other important reason to clean your lint out is due to the fact that lint is flammable. If you let it build up too much, it will create a fire hazard.
Twenty thousand house fires that were because of lint catching fire were reported in the US in one year.
This is why it is important that you remove your lint from the dryer and the air ducts often.
Cleaning Your Dryer Vent With A Leaf Blower Is Easy
First of all, you need to gain access to your vent. Most likely, you will need to push the dryer forward so you can work behind it where the dryer vent is most likely located.
You want to remove the dryer hose from the vent, which might need to be unscrewed, or it might just pull away easily.
The next part is where you remove the outside cover from the exterior vent, which is where the air escapes to from the house.
If you fail to do this, the air that comes through the pipe will create a build-up of pressure and will end up damaging the tubing of the vents and the leaf blower.
Now you can clean the exterior part manually. This can be done with either a brush or a vacuum cleaner which will help to remove the built-up lint around your dryer cover.
Once the outside is clean, you need to go back inside and place the tip of the blower vac into the dryer vent.
You can use a gas or electric blower they will work the same. You want to start at a lower setting and gradually build up to the high-powered setting.
Putting it in the highest setting straight away can damage the vents.
For this part to work properly, you need to create a seal between the leaf blower and the vent, and one way to do this is with duct tape, so the seal is tight. You need to do this to prevent the air from leaking out past the blower vac’s nozzle.
When you have everything in place, you can give the leaf blower a quick burst.
You want to do this a few times first, and if it all seems fine, then you can leave the blower on for 30 seconds.
This should do the job if you often clean the dryer vents, but if this is the first time, you will have plenty of build-up, so you might want to leave it on for longer than 30 seconds.
This will help to remove the lint that is sitting in the pipe, which will eventually be blown out of the external vent.
Now you need to check the exterior part to see if the lint has been expelled. Before putting the cover back in place on the outside, give it another clean in case there is any lint lingering around after you blow it all out.
You can now reattach the dryer to the vent and then screw the external cover back on.
Is This A Recommended Way Of Cleaning Your Dryer Vent?
Dryer vent cleaning is to remove all the lint that comes from your clothing when washing and drying.
The lint makes its way through to your exterior vent, and due to being combustible with a high blast of hot air when the drying is going, you are creating a fire hazard just waiting to happen.
The problem with using a blower vac some people have said that it can push the lint into a big pile near the opening but doesn’t have enough air to push it through the opening and out.
This can create a huge blockage creating an efficient dryer and a fire hazard. Always ensure the lint isn’t being clogged up, and the blower is actually powerful enough to expel the lint out through the opening.
What Are The Reasons This Might Not Work?
This method can only work if the vent lines meet the following criteria:
The vent lines need to be short in length. You want to aim for around only a couple of feet long. A blower vac can only purge a couple of feet in the dryer vents.
You don’t want to have any turns or twists in the vent line either. It can only be straight from the outside to the machine.
The air coming from your blower vac is not going to be able to turn corners.
The vents shouldn’t be made out of the accordion-styled ducting, which is only rigid metal that has too many folds allowing for lint to settle, and the blower vac cannot get to it.
You need to have an outside vent that is easily accessible so you are able to test the airflow. You cannot consider the dryer vent being cleaned without first testing how good the airflow is.
If you don’t have all these criteria met, then you are creating a problem by forming a clog when the lint is pushed into one spot, is stuck between the accordion-style ducting, and when you have twists in the ducting, there isn’t going to be enough airflow.
How Else Can Dryer Vents Be Cleaned?
If you have tried the leaf blower process and it doesn’t work, or you don’t have the right criteria for it, then you can clean the dryer vents with a special tool designed for dryer vents which is a reverse spinning skipper ball that you can attach to an air compressor.
When this ball is engaged, it will blast out the air in reverse from the nozzle while it spins. As the tool is pulled out backward and away from the dryer, it takes the lint along with it and will expel the lint out with huge force.
You will still need to check the airflow and for any blockages just as a precaution. You can do this as many times as you need, which may be more than once if you have a big build-up or you haven’t cleaned your dryer vent before.
How Do I Know If My Dryer Vents Need Cleaning?
You don’t want to get to the point where you are showing signs your dryer vents need cleaning as that means it is well overdue, and you’re risking a fire while also running the motor of your dryer harder.
If you notice any of these signs, then your dryer vent needs a clean:
If your dryer is taking longer than it normally would to dry your clothes. If you have a build-up of lint, the moist, hot air won’t be able to escape, which means a longer drying time, and at the end of the cycle, the clothes will most likely still be damp.
Does your dryer smell like it’s burning? The lint is very flammable, and it doesn’t actually take long for the dryer to ignite a small piece of lint. If the dryer has a burning smell when in use, turn it off and conduct a cleanout.
If you take the clothes out of the dryer and they are hot to touch, then your vents could be clogged, which stops the hot air from getting out. The clothes should be warm and dry, not hot to the touch.
If you can see debris and lint sitting around the dryer seal or the hose, it needs cleaning.
Once you are able to see a build-up of lint, it is well overdue for a clean and you should not use your dryer until it has been well cleaned out.
The Dangers of A Clogged Up Dryer
House fires are commonly caused by too much lint build up so ensure you check the lint pockets inside the dryer every load that you do and frequently clean out the ducting vents especially if you use the dryer a lot.
If your machine is working harder due to clogs and blockages, then it is either going to overheat and die or force the motor to work harder, which will lead you to higher bills each time.
If you have enough lint built up inside your dryer, you will end up with pests settling in nicely. Mice and rats love insulation, lint, and warm moist areas. The ducting with plenty of warm lint is the perfect place for rodents to set up home.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To How To Clean Dryer Vent With A Leaf Blower
Will A Professional Use A Leaf Blower To Clean Dryer Vents?
Professionals have the right tools that are specially made for the job of cleaning dryer vents. However a leaf blower can come in handy for non-professionals.
How Often Do I Clean My Dryer Vent?
Your dryer and the vents need to be cleaned often for the efficiency of the dryer and for fire safety. If you only use your dryer in the colder months, ensure you clean it out every time you use it to avoid rodents setting up home in the lint you have sitting there.