Do you want to learn how to clean your dryer vent that goes to the roof?
Dryer vents going to the roof are inherently more challenging to clean — and you may need to get on the roof to fully clean it.
I invite you to also read my guide on how to repair a dryer vent hose.
In this guide, I will go over…
- Removing and cleaning the flex vent
- Cleaning the dryer vent from the inside
- Getting on the roof to clean the cover and vent (optional)
Table of contents
5 Steps To A Roof Dryer Vent Cleaning
From my personal experience as a home inspector, I would say around 25% of all dryer vents go to the roof. Most of these dryers are on the second or third level of the home.
There isn’t anything better or worse about dryer vents to the roof, but they tend to be more challenging to clean.
You may be able to clean the dryer vent from just the inside (without going on the roof) but there may be a problem with the roof cover that you can’t diagnose from the interior. In addition, you may not be able to get to the very top of the vent from the inside due to a lint clog, birds nest, the length of the duct, and other issues.
If you have any doubts, having the dryer vent cleaned by a professional is recommended
Read Also: How To Vent A Dryer Without Outside Access?
- Cordless or corded drill
- Dryer vent cleaning tool (brush attachment and rods)
- Leaf blower (optional)
Step 1. Remove Flex Vent
The first step in cleaning your dryer vent is to pull back the dryer and to remove the flex vent.
The flex vent is the short vent hose that goes from the back of the dryer to the wall.
It’s important to also clean your flex vent if it’s dirty. You want to inspect it for highly flammable lint, debris, holes, and other issues.
You also want to make sure it wasn’t crushed behind the dryer — impeding air flow.
To remove, there is usually a metal clamp on each end that needs to be loosened with a screwdriver. There may also be some aluminum foil tape that needs to be removed.
Read Also: How Often To Clean The Dryer Vent?
Step 2. Clean Wall Vent From Inside
The second step is to use a dryer vent cleaning tool to clean the wall from the inside.
The dryer vent cleaning tool is a series of plastic rods that connect to each other, and there is a nylon brush attachment at the end.
This tool is connected to a cordless (or corded) drill, and it is inserted into the dryer duct.
Work your way up the vent with the dryer vent cleaning tool, brushing the sides of the dryer vent to loosen up the lint. Try to go up as high as possible with the tool, and you may need to go up and down multiple times.
It is pretty easy to know when the dryer vent cleaning tool reaches the roof because you will hear and feel a thud. This ‘sudden stop’ is because the dryer vent cleaning is hitting the roof cover.
Risk of Rod Disconnection
One common problem with the homeowner dryer vent cleaning tool is that they are made out of plastic rods that attach to each other. Unfortunately, if you clean the vent vigorously, the rods may detach from each other — and then you are stuck with the tool being stuck inside the duct.
To mitigate this risk, I recommend using duct tape to secure the rod connections as an extra safety measure.
Professional dryer vent cleaning contractors usually use compressed air tools or steel cables so this isn’t a problem.
Read Also: How To Keep Birds Out Of Dryer Vent?
Step 3. Remove Lint From Vent
The upside of having a dryer vent going to the roof is that when you clean the vent from the inside — all of the lint usually falls to the bottom.
When you remove the dryer vent cleaning tool from the vent, the lint should of bunched up at the bottom of the duct. You should be able to just reach in with your hand to remove the lint which may be several handfuls.
After removing the lint, I recommend repeating the process of cleaning and removing lint until there is no more lint falling down.
Read Also: How To Clean Dryer Vent With Leaf Blower?
Step 4. Insert Leaf Blower
This step is optional, but if you have a leaf blower, I recommend sticking it into the vent after cleaning just to blow out any residual lint to the outside.
It will also help loosen any lint from the roof cover (like the flapper) that may be stuck on it.
Step 5. Clean Wall Vent From Roof
This fifth step is also optional, but if you can, it is a good idea to get on the roof to clean the dryer vent. However, if your roof is very steep, tall, or if you don’t feel comfortable getting on the roof — please don’t do it. Find a professional contractor who can get on the roof safely.
When on the roof, you can clean the roof cover of any debris and make sure the flapper is working properly.
While on the roof, you can also insert the dryer vent cleaning tool, and make sure you get the upper portion of the dryer vent. Any lint that you clean should fall back down the vent, and you can remove it with your hand.
Read Also: Why Is My Dryer Not Drying Clothes?
Step 6. Verify Air Flow
While on the roof, I also highly recommend that either someone connects and turns on the dryer (or uses a leaf blower) so you can verify that there is strong air flow.
If the air flow is very weak or missing, then you know that there is still a clog blocking the vent.
There also may be a duct disconnection and the easiest way to check is to look at the duct in the attic.
Read Also: Why Is There Water In My Dryer Vent Hose?