Home Inspector with Aspect Inspection


wall note

I believe that says it all.  But you must ask, why. Well. a quick glimpse behind the dryer reveals all (photo below).

There you can see the plastic flexible duct that will crush if the dryer is pushed any further.

exhaust vent ductIt looks like the home owner has used pipe strapping to hold the flex duct up off the floors so it wont be folded over itself or squished side ways like a 'slinky' toy could be.

This ducting is little more than a 'slinky' type coil that has been skinned over with plastic, so it is notorious for folding over on itself, sometimes more than once.

Obstructed: When this happens it is no longer a functioning duct and your dryer is going to take a long time to dry the clothes, basically baking them dry.

The other thing these ducts excel at is collecting lint. Sometimes the barely pass any air for years worth of lint in there. All those ribs make it easy for dust and lint to catch onto.

Now factor in the warm moist air and you have all the ingredients for mold proliferation.  

Lovely!  But that's not the most serious problem.

What? You say, could be more important than the dryer not drying the clothes or creating conditions conducive to mold?

Thats easy: fire! 

duct fire

Dryers that can't vent, overheat and can cause mechanical failures that will produce sparks. That metal drum spins at a high speed.

Then of course thee's always electrical arcing to set it off. Loose plugs, electrical motor bushings and short faults.

And some dryers are heated with gas. You get the picture.

It should not come as a surprise the fire codes address this problem directly. 

In short, they ban the plastic flexible duct use and require that the first 3 feet from the machine be rigid metal ducting. This will be the hottest zone and will tend to collect the greatest concentration of lint.

Home owners need to install the attachment ducts in such a way so as to make the final connection after the dryer is pushed into place. 

Wise dryer installers will place removable caps and 'T's in appropriate positions to make it possible to open and vacuum lint out of the ducts.

This is something progressive builders will plan for too.


So don't bake your clothes, grow mold or burn your house down for want of a little ducting. Look for part 2 on how to do the duct well.


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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Cory Barbee 06/28/2011 11:28 AM
  2. D B 06/29/2011 02:02 AM
  3. Bob & Leilani Souza 07/17/2011 02:14 PM
ActiveRain Community
Quebec Montreal Area Pointe Claire
Canada, eh
Property Inspection Discussion
Professional Home Inspectors
Sparky's Plumbing
home inspection montreal
plastic flex duct
will crush
folded over
collecting lint
mold proliferation
electrical arcing

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Tanya Nouwens
RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Looking forward to Part 2, Bob.  This is very useful information, and I plan to take it home with me!

Jun 28, 2011 02:53 AM #12
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Yikes! Scary!  I have to check my dryer to be sure there is enough room for the plastic duct.  Thanks for the warning.

Jun 28, 2011 10:05 AM #13
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Part 2 will not be quick, Tanya. I have some sketching or 'sketchup' to do first. You might see part 3 before part 2.

Evelyn, don't just make room, get rid of the plastic parts.

Jun 28, 2011 10:12 AM #14
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX
Great points about why not to use such material. Most houses built does not have much room to use the proper material.
Jun 28, 2011 10:39 AM #15
Cory Barbee
San Diego, CA
Broker (760) 563-4022

Great tip....this is something that gets over looked time and time again..thanks for sharing!

Jun 28, 2011 11:25 AM #16
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

When I was a home inspector from October 2001 to August 2005, we recommended never using the accordion ducts because it doesn’t matter where you use them, they will collect lint in them.

Jun 28, 2011 12:16 PM #17
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Mike, when they don't have the room, the clothes don't dry.

Hi Cory. It is not a big item but shouldn't be ignored. Thanks for the reblog.

You got that absolutely right Jim. The fire codes state "rigid metal ducts, having smooth interior surfaces". It reads that way for a reason.

Jun 28, 2011 12:39 PM #18
Carolyn Nelson
Realty One Carolina, LLC - Burlington, NC
Your Triangle to Triad Real Estate Expert!

Robert, THANK YOU!

After reading your post, I went to check out mine and it was so crimped because the dryer was pushed up against it and clogged with lint, now I know why it takes so long for the clothes to dry. You just saved me the cost of a new dryer and possibly a serious fire disaster.

Thank you soooooooooooooooooooooo much

Jun 28, 2011 12:44 PM #19
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Your sooooooooooooooooooooooooo welcome. If my post saves even one person from needless trouble, halehluya!

Jun 28, 2011 01:03 PM #20
Bob & Leilani Souza
Souza Realty 916.408.5500 - Roseville, CA
Greater Sacramento Area Homes, Land & Investments

Yikes, Robert! That second photo should remind us all how dangerous it can be if you don't allow your dryer to vent properly. Looking forward to reading your Part 2! :)


Jun 28, 2011 03:08 PM #21
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

Great advice.  Keeping those vents clean needs to be part of a homeowner's annual maintenance program.

Jun 28, 2011 03:22 PM #22
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Yikes, Robert, I need to go check our dryer to see if mine is crimped and fix it right away if it is! Looking forward to Part 2.


Jun 28, 2011 04:47 PM #23
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

A good lesson for all homeowners, including the REALTORS on this site!

Jun 28, 2011 04:50 PM #24
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Yes, these should be checked and regularly cleaned out. Your reminder is timely.

Jun 29, 2011 08:07 AM #25
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Hi Leilani. That last photos is dramatic isn't it.

Kathy you got it. Cleaning thase vents is part of regular maintenance.

Hi Frank & Sharon. It's worth checking. At least 50 % of the time when I look behind the dryers I see problems.

It is a good lesson for homeowners Margaret and realtors are in a position to raise awareness of the issue.

Hi Sandi. Yes that's true but much of the time they are not looked at till a problem shows up.

Jun 29, 2011 02:10 PM #26
Plastic Ducting
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Apr 18, 2013 08:58 PM #31
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Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
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