Commercial Dryer Vent Cleaning in Apartments

One of the most frequently requested services of HVAC cleaning companies is commercial dryer vent cleaning in apartments. Clothes dryers in multi-unit housing experience heavy usage year-round, and no property manager wants to see their residents frustrated by long drying times—not to mention the fire hazard that lint buildup can pose.

Commercial dryer vent cleaning in apartments
A commercial technician cleans a rooftop dryer vent at an apartment complex in White Bear Lake, MN. A collection bag is not being used in order to demonstrate the amount of lint expelled.

How dryer vents in apartments are cleaned

Apartment buildings typically have one of 2 types of dryer setups—either shared laundry rooms with several dryers for resident use, or in-unit individual dryers. Individual in-unit dryers vent out the side of the building or onto the rooftop. These are easily cleaned from the outside with a reverse-spinning skipper ball that reaches through to the back of the dryer, attached to an air line. When the tool is engaged and the ball is pulled back toward the technician, it blasts out fluffy clouds of lint with it.

The beauty of this method of dryer vent cleaning is that the building residents need not be bothered, as interior access is not needed. Everything is done externally—where the dryer vent line exhausts. It is an extremely efficient and effective process.

In the case of community dryers in a shared laundry room, the vents may be single lines that exhaust out the side of the building or to the roof. In other cases, several 4-inch vent lines will run to a larger square duct that then vents onto the roof, with the help of a power roof ventilator (AKA mushroom fan).

Cleaning of these shared dryer vent lines requires access from both the outside and the inside. Access panels are cut into the larger square ducts, and then a combination of vacuums, brushes, and whips are used to agitate loose the dryer lint and send it to the containment system.

Where does all of that dryer lint go?

Dryer lint is made up of tiny cloth fibers that slough off during the drying process, and this lint naturally exhausts into the environment. There, some of it is blown away, some of it settles into the earth, and some of it is washed away with the rain.

During the dryer vent cleaning process, however, larger amounts of lint are expelled at one time. To prevent the unsightly lint tumbleweeds that frequently result, techs often use a collection bag to capture the bulk of the lint. Even in this case, however, some residual lint may escape the collection device and stick to patio furniture, flower beds, etc. This typically dissipates quickly with wind, rain, etc, and isn’t a cause for concern.

(If you ever have an urge to collect it for creative purposes, though, you’d be surprised by some of the uses inventive people have come up with for dryer lint.)

On the lookout for dryer vent disconnects

During any dryer vent cleaning project—whether residential or commercial; apartments, senior living, or townhomes—technicians are always attentive to the possibility of a disconnected dryer vent. This is an unfortunately frequent occurrence when the dryer vent line becomes detached from the termination, often in an attic or behind a wall.

A dryer vent disconnect in an apartment attic.
A dryer vent disconnect discovered during cleaning in the attic of an apartment in Bloomington, MN.

When this happens, dryer lint is exhausted into cavities where it does not belong, where it can wreak havoc.

Because disconnects often happen in the attic, residents may not notice a change in the performance of the appliance (because, after all, it is venting freely). However, the buildup of lint in an attic space increases the risk of fire, as well as that of moisture and mold. Sometimes the moisture buildup is such that technicians observe deterioration of the roof itself.

For this reason, any suspected disconnects noted during the course of a dryer vent cleaning are meticulously recorded and then reported to management. A return visit is often warranted for the sole purpose of correcting any disconnects.

Staying ahead of the game

Regular commercial dryer vent cleaning in apartments and other multi-unit properties is critical for reasons of fire safety, appliance performance, and resident satisfaction. Property managers who stay ahead of the game by scheduling yearly cleanings save money in the long run by avoiding pricey one-off cleanings here and there when a particular resident complains of long drying times.

Let us show you how we can work together to ensure optimal results for your multi-unit dryer vent cleaning project.

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