Archive | January, 2014

DIY Fun with the LintEater Dryer Vent Cleaning System

22 Jan

linteaterOur tenant reported issues with her clothing not drying completely, suggesting the unit was overdue for a vent cleaning. Before calling a service, we decide to try our hand at do-it-yourself dryer lint removal.

Enter the LintEater – a favorably-reviewed (4.7 out of 5 stars) gadget on Amazon.

The system includes a brush and 4 bendy poles (technical term) that attach end-to-end. A standard power drill spins the entire assembly, enabling the LintEater to self-feed its way through the vent system.

The LintEater in action:

Dryer Vent

For this particular duplex, we discovered the vent leaves the dryer, turns 90 degrees downward, runs through the foundation, and then reappears in the backyard. A lightweight “cap” under a fixed cover allows air to escape.

There we discovered our smoking gun: an ant hill had grown over the outlet, preventing the interior cap from rising and releasing the hot air. We ran the LintEater 12 feet from each direction, and the brush came back… wet.

We also collected a fair bit of lint:


This instigated a round of congratulatory high fives, but the drying time issue had not been solved. A week later a professional serviced the unit and provided this attractive photo:

Dryer Vent After - Copy

Again, LOTS of wet lint, which should be self-correcting now that air flow has been restored. This blockage exceeded the capabilities of a LintEater, but I am still optimistic it would work well for the average homeowner. Honestly, moving the dryer away from the wall was the hardest part of the process. We’ll incorporate a dryer vent sweep during vacancies for an extra “ounce of prevention” moving forward.

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