This past week, I had to run clothes through the dryer twice in order to get them to dry.
And then even twice wasn't doing it.
And then, the dryer began to smell funny during its cycle.
Great, I thought, I just fork out $$ for a futon to sleep on, and now the dryer decides to die. I figured it was laundromat time again for a while, but Bernie -- oh, how fortunately -- has better sense than I. He pulled the dryer away from the wall, and found some wet spots on the linoleum, and some damp lint in the vent.
A man of merit, he collected his trusty plumbing snake and ran it up the vent. Gobs of wet lint fell out, much to my utter disgust. We cleaned that up, and then he turned to the dryer itself. Having learned (from an internet source) how to tear the front of the dryer off, he proceeded to do so, and discovered about a fluffy peck of lint -- maybe more -- packed inside the dryer, blocking the fan.
Once that was out, the air flow in the dryer was much better, but our internet search on how to clean dryer vents uncovered an astonishing fact: a clogged dryer vent can get your home burned down around your ears.
Hell, I didn't know about that. Every other place we've lived had a dryer vent that led right outside the wall of the laundry room, not up through a volume-ceiling structure through attic and roof. Bernie found this link to a dryer-vent cleaner, and we decided to buy one the very next day.
What if that junk dried out in the summer, and the clogs made the dryer overheat? It would be like a bomb. Or what if that mass collected all the moisture from the laundry, clogged the vent completely, and made the dryer burn itself out? A decent dryer costs a lot more than the Gardus cleaning set -- the 10-piece set cost about $30, and the extension kit (for our high roof peak) about $18 -- and now our dryer vent is spiffily clean.
The kit, which you power with an electric drill, was hugely easy to use, and the whole job took about 30 minutes. Bernie finished it up by blowing the remaining dust out of the vent with our leaf blower. (The kit comes with an adaptor for leaf blower and vent for just that reason.) I stood outside and watched white linty dust FLY out of the roof vent, and then the air ran clear.
God, I'm glad we discovered this before we had a fire. Vent cleaning will commence on a yearly basis ... we won't let another 20 years go by before it's done again.