Ask The Expert


Dear Robert,
In the big scheme of things, this is a little thing, but our clothing is not drying as fast as it once did. As far as I can tell, the dryer is working fine; it’s a gas model but I understand that there could be a problem with the dryer duct. There is hot air coming out of the vent at the very end of the duct but I don’t know how much was coming out before. If there is a problem with the duct, what should I be looking for, and what needs to be done to fix it?
Thank you very much (if you have the time to respond),

Marcia N.

Hi Marcia,
If your dryer is in good mechanical condition, clothes that take a long time to dry is the first sign that you have problems with the vent. This is probably due to lint that is obstructing the line. This is why dryer vents should be cleaned at least once a year.
Get the equivalent of an electric leaf blower and a shop-vac vacuum. You would start by blowing the line out from the dryer side and vacuuming the lint out from the exhaust side. Push the blower and the vacuum hose into the vent as far as possible. Since some of the lint may get caught going one direction, you should reverse the procedure and work the other way as well. Blow in from the outside and draw from the dryer side. You want to make sure to clean out as much of that lint as possible. Lint is flammable and it can catch fire inside the vent. Remember that you have an open flame inside the dryer. If that lint backs up and gets inside the dryer, now you have problems. During your annual vent cleaning, I would also open up the service panel on the front of the dryer and vacuum it out. You want to keep the undercarriage of the dryer very clean as well.
I’ve seen dryer vents that run underground. These have a tendency of filling with ground water which needs to be removed. You want to give that hot air as clear a path as possible to vent out of your house. If obstruction problems become an ongoing maintenance issue, then re-route the vent. Do whatever you have to do to find an alternate path for the exhaust. 

Hello Robert,
We have aluminum dual pane windows that are getting very hazy. There is staining on the inside of the glass. How can these be cleaned?

Sandra C.

Hi Sandra,
The argon gas inside the glass has leaked out. This is allowing condensation to form between the two panes of glass, and to spot. There is no way of cleaning them without removing the glass.
This will be a continuing problem until you have the windows repaired or replaced. I say repaired because there used to be re-gassers that would come out and repair on site. I hear there are companies that still offer this service.     
Basically, you have three options. Look for a re-engineering company for gassing, call a glazing company to come and replace the panes into your existing frames, or you can always replace the entire window.

Submit your questions to: Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a commercial General, Electrical and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations  of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made.

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