When it comes to home maintenance, it seems the to-do list never runs out. That said, some tasks are more important than others. While it may not seem like a big deal, your dryer vent needs frequent attention. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that people clean out their dryer vents three times a year to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires. But what if your vent runs all the way to the roof? Read on to learn how to clean out flammable lint to protect your home.
Clean the interior vent.
Before climbing onto your roof, clean the dryer vent from within the house. Pull the unit from the wall and remove the locks that fasten the ductwork to the dryer’s exhaust pipe. Attach a lint brush to the vacuum cleaner using the lint brush attachment. Clear any debris from the dryer surface and gently insert the vacuum tube within the vent. Turn on the power and rotate the brush so it can suck up any lint and debris.
Move to the roof.
If you’re planning to work on your roof, you’ll need to use care not to damage the shingles or slip and fall. Be sure to wear non-slip shoes and take your time to avoid injury.
Instead of attempting this job with household tools, you’re better off purchasing a vent cleaning kit. This comprehensive package includes a flexible nylon rod that can bend according to the shape of the vent. It also has a duct attachment you can affix to a power drill or air compressor for quick cleaning.
Once you’re on the roof, inspect the vent guard and carefully remove any obstructions. If necessary carefully cut away any caulking using a box blade. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws and store them someplace safe for when you need to reattach the vent guard.
Next, take off the vent cover and remove any clumps of lint from the opening of the vent. Once the mouth of the vent is clear, insert the brush and twist it back and forth for a couple of minutes to clear away the lint. Extract the brush and remove lint from the bristles using your fingers; repeat until the bristles come out clean.
Lower your vinyl cleaning rod deep within the roof vent. Affix your power drill and turn it on to rotate the brush as it proceeds down the duct. Extract the brush frequently to remove any lint from the bristles. Then repeat the process until the bristles stop gathering lint.
Close off the vent.
Replace the vent guard and screw it back in place. If it appears to be in poor condition, replace it immediately or contact a professional to do it for you. It’s very important to seal your dryer vent tightly to prevent water from entering the duct. If you’d like, you can add fresh caulk to ensure a good seal.
When you’re finished, return to your dryer and inspect the duct in case the brush pushed any lint back down. If so, remove this lint before reattaching your dryer.
Inspect your roof.
While you’re up on your roof, take the opportunity to assess the condition of your shingles. Look for flapping or missing shingles, along with any other damage or deterioration. Any missing or damaged shingles should be replaced as soon as possible since leaks can lead to thousands of dollars in damage related to rot and mold.
Even if the damage doesn’t seem severe, you should take action. Many roof leaks can result from a tiny hole in the flashing or a single torn or missing shingle. Fortunately, the average cost to repair a leaky or damaged roof is often relatively low. This fact is especially compelling when you consider the high cost of attic mold treatment, which can be anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 if the leak goes unnoticed for a long time.
If you have an older roof, you should always schedule seasonal roof inspections from a professional local roofing contractor. This becomes especially urgent if you notice any damage or have recently dealt with heavy snows, hail, high winds or other especially severe weather.
A to Z Roofing specializes in residential roofing and repair. A locally owned Colorado company, we’ve been operating continuously throughout the Front Range for a quarter of a century, serving the needs of homeowners and local businesses. Contact our team of courteous professionals to learn how we can repair, restore or replace your aging or damaged roof.