Dryer Vent Cleaning: Water in the Vent Line

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I met an Owner at one of his properties the other day who had a major water issue with his dryer vent line. After meeting the Owner, he took me to his basement and opened up a closet. There was a flexible dryer hose hanging right in front of my face in a big U formation. The Owner said, “I think there is water in here.” Obviously, this is why his Tenants were having trouble drying their clothes.

I grabbed the hose, jostled it back and forth, and the sound of water made a whooshing sound, it felt like there was two gallons of water in the vent line. The weight of such a huge amount of water caused the duct line to sag to a few feet above the floor. Fortunately, the hose didn’t yet break and cause water damage all over his floor.

I said to the Homeowner, “The builder must have been very lazy because he should never of installed this type of flexible dryer vent line in the walls. He should have installed the rigid metal type of dryer duct.” Unfortunately, builders sometimes install the flexible foil type of duct line in walls, and have been even known to sometimes exit the dryer duct into attics which is very hazardous clean dryer vent.

When a flexible vent is installed rather than the rigid metal type, if there is a little water condensation from drying clothes, this water can build up and start to sag the vent line. And when the duct line sags, it just collects more and more water. Unfortunately, the water will eventually totally clog the vent line when it sags, and totally block the airflow. When there is an airflow blockage due to water buildup, it can seriously damage a dryer and make even a powerful new dryer worthless.

Sometimes, the water can also come from the exterior when the outside cover isn’t sealed properly and rainwater pours into the dryer duct. The simple solution for this is to seal the exterior vent cover with clear caulk or to install a new cover. The exterior vent cover for this homeowner was under a overhang where rain wouldn’t reach it, so the water was definitely coming from his clothes. Usually, water condensation in the duct line isn’t a problem, but since he had a flexible hose inside the wall, the slightest amount of water caused it to sag and trap more and more water.

I grabbed a large plastic bucket, placed it under the sagging vent line, took out a pen, and popped it with a hole. It almost felt like a surgical procedure. The water gushed out of the duct line and into the bucket along with a mixture of lint. After all the water drained, I simply taped up the hose with vent tape.

After fixing the water problem, I went about my normal cleaning procedure and brushed out the vent line from the inside, placed my blower in the vent line, and proceeded to brush it from the outside. More line blew out, and the airflow finally resumed in the vent line and was blowing out strong.

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