I live in an apartment where the "maintenance" is next to nothing.

The new dryer we bought to take advantage of the hookups in the apartment was giving us the blockage error signal and not drying the clothes because air wasn't able to escape through the vent. So, after fighting with “management” I finally decide to take matters into my own hands after about two months of waiting for them to snake it or whatever needs to be done.

I got the standard home kit because that's the only thing accessible to me to try and get a potential quick fix. Being a newbie, I make the mistake of reversing the drill to pull the snake out after hitting a dead end because of the two sharp turns downward 90 degrees below our floor and then 90 degrees again underneath our bedroom however many feet to the outside. Of course now the brush head of the snake is stuck in the wall essentially and ‘maintenance’ wasn’t even able to do anything differently than I attempted except from that outside in. They weren’t able to get from inside the vent box to underneath from either direction. It just seems like a metal box with a flat bottom with no curve so it just COLLECTS lint. Vacuumed as much of it as I could with the shop vac but extremely hard to even get that down the vent much less maneuver it.

I’ve tried everything I can think to research besides just waiting on the complex to hire a third party. It doesn’t seem like a standard vent tubing. It’s more like a metal box in the wall. And the brush head is resting at the bottom right in front of the vent tubing running underneath the apartment to outside. Because of that sharp turn I have been unable to move it, vacuum it etc. I’ve even tried a webcam and one of those magnetic LED light retrieval automotive things, but of course that just gets stuck to the wall of the ‘vent box’. The shop vac doesn’t even seem to budge it. I’m at a loss.

We’re moving within the next year, but I just want to be able to use my expensive appliance that we paid for. We’ve resorted to using the dryer without the vent attached at all because on site either only has one machine working or none at all and even then it take multiple cycles to dry one load, so we’ve just been saving our laundry and just doing it once a month. The issue with that is the heat and dust/lint messes with our AC that is also terrible on top of making it hard for asthmatic me to breathe.

If the on site laundry wasn’t so terrible and expensive I would just settle and rough it out and leave the snake brush head for the next tenant to figure out, but I thought I’d make one last attempt after seeing the similar post mentioned above. ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • 1
    You could edit your question to read, "I mistakenly unscrewed a dryer vent cleaner in a 90 degree in-wall plenum and need suggestions in how to get it out."
    – RetiredATC
    Aug 8, 2022 at 12:45
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    The really isn't something you can "leave ... for the next tenant to figure out". You've caused an obstruction in the vent, and your landlord would be fully entitled to bill you whatever it costs to have it removed - and no that cost will not be limited to your security deposit.
    – brhans
    Aug 8, 2022 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure how you fix the stuck vent cleaner. It sounds very much like there are two hard 90-degree angles, and the line for your drill has gotten bound up. The easiest solution there is to open the wall and pull the vent apart (it sounds like the vent was incorrectly installed), but this is an apartment, so that's not much of an option. Keep in mind that the apartment may keep any security deposit if they know about it, considering that you did damage said vent. That's outside the scope here.

The best fix for you (especially with this being a temporary setup) is to buy an indoor dryer vent. These are widely available and they would let you run your dryer without the exterior vent. Basically it's a head you attach to the end of your flexible tubing and mount to the wall, near the dryer. It captures any lint in a filter in the head. The downside is you're putting warm humid air into your apartment, but, given your situation, it sounds like that's preferable to doing laundry off-site.

  • 1
    And maybe add some flexible duct to get the indoor vent closer to a window
    – JACK
    Aug 8, 2022 at 12:37

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