My wife and I just bought our first house. I think that we discovered that our dryer vent is going to require some regular maitenence to keep it clean and able to dry our clothes.

When we moved in, we found that the vent opening in our laundry room was absolutely full of lint (solid). I got the vacuum cleaner and sucked up as much as I could and reached up and pulled out some more. When she ran our first load of laundry though, it didn't dry much at all. I went up to the attic and looked in our vent up there and there was more lint but not as much. I'm going to pick up a dryer vent brush today after work but I noticed that it looked like the tape on their vent was very new looking which leads me to think this was something they regularly had to do.

I'm wondering how easy / effective is it to get one of the fans to attach to your vent that will essentially help it along. I can't think of what the fans are called right now though.

  • 2
    How long is the vent? How many turns are in the vent? What material is the vent made of? What is your climate like?
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 14:23
  • 1
    Sounds like a long vent unless your Laundry Room is on the top floor. If any part of it is that horrid corrugated/spiral-wound junk, that's a big problem.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 15:13
  • @Ecnerwal I agree if the vent is too long it's really hard to deal with.
    – Dano0430
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 15:21
  • Does the vent travel through unconditioned space (e.g. an attic, crawlspace, etc.)?
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 15:54
  • My house is a single story house and the vent goes from our laundry room straight up to our attic and then when it comes up through the attic, it angles at around 45 degrees and goes straight out the roof. It is made of metal.
    – JohnN
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 0:05

4 Answers 4


They're often called dryer booster fans. They aren't particularly difficult to install, and they are reasonably effective. However, they also have some significant downsides - the fan itself obstructs the the vent pipe, which makes it much more difficult to effectively clean the vent, and it will further reduce airflow and increase lint accumulation should it fail to operate (due to user error or mechanical failure, both of which will occur eventually).

Installing and running a booster fan would certainly be preferable to your existing situation, but it would be even better to improve the venting to get sufficient airflow without needing a booster.

Any flex duct should be replaced with rigid, smooth wall metal. Turns in the duct work should be minimized, and where they cannot be avoided, use long turn "dryer-ell" bends instead of the standard sharp 90 if possible. Installing a recessed dryer vent box where you connect the dryer can often allow you to connect the dryer with fewer turns in the dryer hose, as well as protecting the dryer hose from crushing damage. The dryer hose should be semi rigid aluminum flex duct; soft foil flex duct or periscope connectors should not be used. Make sure the exterior vent opening in the wall or roof opens widely and is not too restrictive.


Dryer vents need regular maintenance. Period. No one ever does it, of course, which is why every time you buy a new house, you pretty much need to replace the old vent because no one ever cleaned it out.

Ideally, you'd clean the lint out every 6 months or so.

A booster fan can help, but doesn't necessarily eliminate any of the maintenance. Plus, you now have another mechanical device to deal with.

  • A very fair point. I bought a drill brush attachment that is designed to clean the vents.
    – JohnN
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 13:15

Check the vent on the outside. The vent on my house had a screen behind the flap, which is not appropriate for a dryer vent but ok for a bathroom fan. Removing the screen fixed the constant clogging behavior in my system.

  • This sound right, occasionally I will see some lint near our dryer vent. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 19:28

Definitely get the booster fan. We installed one in our old house. It worked quite well.

They cost about $200 and you can pick them up at places like Home Depot.

It sounds like your venting tube is probably very long. The booster fan will help force the gunk out.

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