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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Irvine, California
    Posts
    48

    Default complain about dryer vent clog

    One of my client called me and complained about my inspection performance.
    At the first using dryer since she moved in, she noticed the dryer vent pipe was clogged.

    Should I check the dryer vent is free of air flow or not?
    how you guys doing? test it with fog machine?

    Anyway, my inspection S/W ask me where dryer vent terminate and choose one of these

    satisfactory,
    marginal
    repair/replace
    further evaluation required

    I just pick 1st one automatically...

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    She is nit-picking, and she should be complaining to the sellers for leaving their lint in her new house.
    She has wrong expectations about your inspection.
    We do not inspect appliances and if we operate a dryer for a few minutes, it is impossible to tell if the vent is clogged.
    I sometimes will point out a lot of lint if it is clogging the vent termination.
    Remember, every complaint makes you stronger.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Irvine, California
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    oh, in this case,
    I inspected a vacant condominium.
    I just looked the vent hole at the laundry room and found exit at the exterior wall.
    next time I'll not choose "satisfactory"


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    I automatically write, "The dryer vent needs to be cleaned yearly. Because we have no way of knowing when it was last cleaned, we suggest having the dryer vent cleaned as soon as possible".

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    I automatically write, "The dryer vent needs to be cleaned yearly. Because we have no way of knowing when it was last cleaned, we suggest having the dryer vent cleaned as soon as possible".
    Not only the dryer, but also the interior of the dryer cabinet where the heating element is located.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    If there is a dryer, I turn it on and go find the termination point, to see how its venting. If possible, I will look inside the vent.
    If I can't test the vent, I put it in my report.
    If the vent goes up, I have a note about vertical venting, and they need to be cleaned more frequently.
    If there is flex duct, I have a note for that.

    I would have probably told that client that since the condo was vacant, it was not possible to determine how it flowed, HOWEVER, cleaning dryer vents should be considered routine maintenance. Turn her compliant into a teaching moment. She may be a new homeowner, and not realize this is something that needs to be done. She may also not know about changing filters for the HVAC system.

    Maybe add a note about dryer vent maintenance in your reports? I would certainly add a note when you are not able to test the venting.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,258

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    I'm pretty much the same as Jack. If it's there I run it, if not I make a note that the vent was not able to be tested.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,481

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    Ben,

    Sometimes, feedback can be frustrating. You are dealing with a whiner, that's all. She will get over it.

    A buyer does not expect to be told that they need to clean the dirty oven or have the carpet cleaned. The difference is that they cannot see the interior of the dryer vent and many folks don't understand what items require maintenance. Like others, I just mention in the report that the dryer vent should be cleaned.

    Can you modify the choices offered by your software? I have never liked the limited choices offered by some software (satisfactory, marginal, repair/replace, further evaluation) because it really offers nothing useful to a reader. How can a dryer duct be "marginal" anyway? If you note a "marginal" dryer duct, instead of a phone call from the buyer, you'll get a call from the seller telling you that there is nothing wrong with their dryer duct and you don't know what you're doing. If the goal here is to reduce little nit-picking phone calls, then be specific. If it's dirty, it needs to be cleaned. If it's flex plastic, it needs to be replaced. If it's disconnected, it needs to be reconnected. If it's too long, it needs a booster. And then, why have it evaluated? It's not a complex system and, unless it's inaccessible, an inspector is fully qualified to make a recommendation for correction.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Irvine, California
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    When I check other than "satisfactory " I explain about it

    usually, dryer is not included for sale of home, so, I'm afraid using it for the vent test


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Im View Post
    When I check other than "satisfactory " I explain about it

    usually, dryer is not included for sale of home, so, I'm afraid using it for the vent test

    Unless you run the dryer through the cycles and check the heat levels and/or run circuit tests you do not know if it is "satisfactory". Hearing the drum turn, air moving and possibly feel heat on the pipe or the drum does not mean that the dryer is operating in a "satisfactory" manor.

    I think that making a statement on the dryer's operation or fitness leaves you libel for its correct operation.

    The best that most could say is that " The dryer is there and it makes noise when switched on", anything else is pure conjecture.


  11. #11
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    Mar 2007
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    I'm not trying to speak for Ben, but I assume his report is talking about the dryer venting provision, and not the dryer itself. I inspect and report on the outlet, and the venting, but not the appliance.


  12. #12
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    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Im View Post
    oh, in this case,
    I inspected a vacant condominium.
    I just looked the vent hole at the laundry room and found exit at the exterior wall.
    next time I'll not choose "satisfactory"
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I'm not trying to speak for Ben, but I assume his report is talking about the dryer venting provision, and not the dryer itself. I inspect and report on the outlet, and the venting, but not the appliance.
    Even then, identifying that the dryer is vented to the exterior is more of a found it and it is located here ____. Satisfactory is a still conjecture. Different form seeing lint hanging out of it, which would be an observation to be noted.

    But Jack, you are right, I now realize that Ben may have been limiting the "satisfactory" only to the vent. Yet, not seeing something oblivious wrong would not justify "satisfactory" in its description. Still putting yourself out on the proverbial limb.


  13. #13
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    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    "Satisfactory" is a rating. You don't have to include them, or give everything not broken a big thumbs up. Just describe it.

    I take a pic of the visible part and report what it is, and if it is bad, "replace". Never had a lint picker complaint like this.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Irvine, California
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    Thank you for the replies.
    I checked up dryer vent for exit location, total length, how many elbows, etc and everything OK then give " satisfactory " I don't want to turn on dryer which is not on sale. I think dryer vent test is beyond inspector's duty.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    We should never let the reporting software control how or what we inspect! This is how home inspectors get into trouble and end up with a claim or being named in a lawsuit! You should be controlling your software and what is being placed in the report, not the other way….. Off Soapbox!

    Yes, I always look in dryer vents(when I can) and for signs that lint is building up in the line. 90% of the time I recommend that the dryer vent should be cleaned and about 20% of the time I tell them to replaced the vent cover/baffle.
    I seldom if ever turn on dryers or washers as they normally do not convey to the buyer, they are considered personal property and not part of the home. Yes, I know in some areas it is common for washer and dryers to be included in the sale of the home….

    It's not difficult to look in a dryer vent, you open the baffle and peak inside! If you see lint, it needs to be cleaned. If it is high up on a wall, just tell it is our of reach and most likely has been neglected and not cleaned, then tell vent them to clean the dryer vent.

    Clogged dryer vents are a major cause of fires in homes…...

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    We should never let the reporting software control how or what we inspect! This is how home inspectors get into trouble and end up with a claim or being named in a lawsuit! You should be controlling your software and what is being placed in the report, not the other way….. Off Soapbox!

    Yes, I always look in dryer vents(when I can) and for signs that lint is building up in the line. 90% of the time I recommend that the dryer vent should be cleaned and about 20% of the time I tell them to replaced the vent cover/baffle.
    I seldom if ever turn on dryers or washers as they normally do not convey to the buyer, they are considered personal property and not part of the home. Yes, I know in some areas it is common for washer and dryers to be included in the sale of the home….

    It's not difficult to look in a dryer vent, you open the baffle and peak inside! If you see lint, it needs to be cleaned. If it is high up on a wall, just tell it is our of reach and most likely has been neglected and not cleaned, then tell vent them to clean the dryer vent.

    Clogged dryer vents are a major cause of fires in homes…...
    Agree on all points Scott.
    I regularly call for cleaning by a professional.
    If I cannot verity it is clean, I call for cleaning unless it is a simply through the wall vent that a home owner can clean easily. It is the exception rather than the rule to "not" call for cleaning.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    NoCal
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    If I cant see the length of the dryer vent, then I disclaim it. Just letting a machine blow air through the vent will not necessarily tell you if this might be partially clogged and you are only getting a bit of the air blown through. Disclaim those dryer vents, and write up anything you see suspicious about the vent - such as termination under the house (or condo); all flex (greater than 6 feet); screws holding sections together; and certainly disconnected sections.

    If in doubt, use this as I do

    "Dryer vent was concealed from view behind the machine (or wall).
    No inspection of the vent or conditions. "

    Oh, yeah...by the way, dont let the report lead you. Good point, Scott. Adjust the report to match the conditions. If you can't adjust the report, I think you are using the wrong software.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Massacusetts
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    If there is a dryer, I turn it on and go find the termination point, to see how its venting. If possible, I will look inside the vent.
    If I can't test the vent, I put it in my report.
    If the vent goes up, I have a note about vertical venting, and they need to be cleaned more frequently.
    If there is flex duct, I have a note for that.

    I would have probably told that client that since the condo was vacant, it was not possible to determine how it flowed, HOWEVER, cleaning dryer vents should be considered routine maintenance. Turn her compliant into a teaching moment. She may be a new homeowner, and not realize this is something that needs to be done. She may also not know about changing filters for the HVAC system.

    Maybe add a note about dryer vent maintenance in your reports? I would certainly add a note when you are not able to test the venting.
    Excellent suggestion and great way to build your name and reputation. Turn it into a teaching moment , along other annual maintenance items as you suggested like HVAC filters, water filters , Sprinklers ...... You could even turn make something like this a house warming gift. Maybe even put together a simple kit with a couple of screw drivers and a hammer along with a duct brush, Ac or refrigerator brush -
    Think about this , they just bought a house which means they have friends who have to keep up with the Jones right - so if you make an outstanding impression they will talk about you to their friends.

    so let me tell you about the guy who did my first home inspection(s) I was away most of the time so I only did quick walk troughs , my wife liked this one home , inspector was there a half hour stopped the inspection after a half an hour due to sever termite damage - I was so impressed that I called him back to the next house we put an offer in on (which we purchased) . Point is this guy didn't waste my (my wifes actually) time or money

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    If there is a dryer, I turn it on and go find the termination point, to see how its venting. If possible, I will look inside the vent.
    If I can't test the vent, I put it in my report.
    If the vent goes up, I have a note about vertical venting, and they need to be cleaned more frequently.
    If there is flex duct, I have a note for that.

    I would have probably told that client that since the condo was vacant, it was not possible to determine how it flowed, HOWEVER, cleaning dryer vents should be considered routine maintenance. Turn her compliant into a teaching moment. She may be a new homeowner, and not realize this is something that needs to be done. She may also not know about changing filters for the HVAC system.

    Maybe add a note about dryer vent maintenance in your reports? I would certainly add a note when you are not able to test the venting.
    Excellent suggestion and great way to build your name and reputation. Turn it into a teaching moment , along other annual maintenance items as you suggested like HVAC filters, water filters , Sprinklers ...... You could even turn make something like this a house warming gift. Maybe even put together a simple kit with a couple of screw drivers and a hammer along with a duct brush, Ac or refrigerator brush -
    Think about this , they just bought a house which means they have friends who have to keep up with the Jones right - so if you make an outstanding impression they will talk about you to their friends.

    so let me tell you about the guy who did my first home inspection(s) I was away most of the time so I only did quick walk troughs , my wife liked this one home , inspector was there a half hour stopped the inspection after a half an hour due to sever termite damage - I was so impressed that I called him back to the next house we put an offer in on (which we purchased) . Point is this guy didn't waste my (my wifes actually) time or money


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    McKinney, Texas
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    If an appliance is connected or I cannot otherwise see through the entire vent; it is reported as unconfirmed and professional cleaning recommended prior to closing

    1 John 2:15-17
    Rom 6:23
    2 Tim 2:15

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    One of my clients called me to complain about a fire behind his brand new dryer. Lucky for me I had commented on the extreme length of the vertical vent and about having it cleaned before he moved in. And by the way, my client was a realtor.


  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    One of my clients called me a week after he moved in to complain about a fire behind his dryer. Lucky for me, I had commented on the extreme length of the vent and about having it cleaned before he moved in. He didn't read my comments. And oh yea, he's a realtor.


  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: complain about dryer vent clog

    I did a re-inspection for a client that wasn't comfortable with the previous report. Among the many items I found that he missed, was a dryer vent that was painted shut...about 6 months prior.


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