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dryer vent cleaning

Dryer Vent Cleaning: Best Way to Remove Lint

Your newsletter last week had a section on dryer vent cleaning using a product called "Lint Eater" (see www.linteater.com). I looked at that, but it requires you to access the vent on the outside of the house. Since my dryer is on the second floor, I think my dryer vent goes out of the roof. Is that right? If so, how can I possibly clean it?

I have never cleaned the vent because we had a real hard time lining up the back of the dryer with the vent in the wall. If I pull it out, I'm not sure I'd be able to get it back in. Should I just not worry about it? I do clean the dryer lint filter out all the time, but I know that isn't really enough.

Photo credit:  www.linteater.com

Our Answer

No, cleaning your lint filter is definitely not enough! You'd be wise to get a friend to help you pull that dryer away from the wall and use the Lint Eater brush to scrub the insides of the duct. You will be quite surprised by the volume of lint that gets trapped in the ducts of those with even the most admirable lint-trap cleaning habits! You got the dryer back once before, so you will be able to do this again.

The only other way to attack the duct is from the roof where it terminates, but since gravity won't be in your favor there, we recommend you access it from the dryer area first and clean the dryer vent from there.

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How to Create Task Lighting

I'm just moving my jewelry-making design work to our bonus room over the garage. I need ideas for lighting for various work areas. The room has one double window facing west. Existing lighting consists of 4 recessed lights and a ceiling light/fan. There is an un-insulated storage space behind one wall. Concern regarding heat & cold for storing supplies such as polymer clay, acrylic paints, etc. Organizational ideas are also welcome. I hope this challenges you and that answers are highly effective. Thanks so much!

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Resolution for My House

My resolution is to caulk all around where any air can enter, expecially around doors and windows. Seeing how my house is almost a hundred years old, I would also like to seal around some electrical outlets that leak cold air.

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Project Management

I want to keep better track of home improvement projects - when it was done, how much I spent, when it needs to be done again.  Is there any software or system you recommend?

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Easy Shelves

I'm looking for easy shelves to install on a wall.  What are the options for good-looking, do-it-yourself easy shelving for a display wall? I'd like to find shelves that are not too industrial or attached to distracting adjustable tracks.

Our Answer

You don't have to look far for easy to install shelves that look great. Several manufacturers make shelves that are attractive.  IKEA offers a collection of attractive, interchangeable shelf components, including the minimalist Bjarnum brackets which can be nicely paired with the Jarpen shelf.
For more options, visit a local Home Depot to find PGM Products' Floating Wall or Corner Shelves and railing-trimmed Gallery Shelf.  For more decorative detail, check out specialty home retailers like Anthropologie, which has a collection of brackets whose detailing is inspired by such architectural icons as the Chrysler Building and Eiffel Tower.
 

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Laundry Room Organization for Small Spaces: New Accessories from Appliance Manufacturers Help You Make the Most of Laundry Day

My tight-squeeze laundry area has turned into a disorganized mess that I dread, and our family laundry volume shows no sign of letting up. Got any ideas on how I can create the extra space I need to get laundry day back under control?
 

Our Answer

A laundry room often seems like an afterthought in home design, leading to challenges when it's actually time to use this limited but vital space. One way you can free up some of that valuable square footage is to literally go up: many manufacturers now provide stacking framework for their full-size laundry machines, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of those stacked mini-systems without sacrificing the load capacity that you and your family need.
Also look into cool, space-creating additions like laundry storage towers that fit neatly between your machines, and pedestals that build in drawered storage underneath washers and dryers. That zone between your upper cabinets and any work surface is another opportune storage spot for creating space to help better organize laundry rooms.

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Laundry Room Space Saving Solutions: Utilize the Room in Your Tight Laundry Space

My very small laundry room area has turned into a disorganized mess I dread, and our family laundry volume shows no sign of letting up. Can you share any ideas on how I can create the extra space I need to get laundry day back under control?

Our Answer

A laundry room often seems like an afterthought in home design, leading to challenges when it's actually time to use this limited but vital space.
One way you can free up some of that valuable square footage in your small laundry room is to literally go up; many manufacturers now provide stacking framework for their full-size laundry machines, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of those stacked mini-systems without sacrificing the load capacity you and your family need.

For more laundry room space, look into cool, space creating additions like laundry storage towers that fit neatly between your machines, and pedestals that build in drawer storage underneath washers and dryers. That zone in your laundry room between your upper cabinets and any work surface is another opportune laundry room space spot; put it to work with a track-mounted bin system to hold laundry supplies and small-volume sorting.

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Electric Dryer vs. Gas Dryer: Which is Cheaper?

We are remodeling our kitchen, pantry  and laundry room and wondering which is cheaper a gas dryer or an electric dryer?  Does it make sense to replace our electric clothes dryer with a natural gas dryer? We could have the plumber extend the gas line into the laundry room while the walls are opened up.

Our Answer

This makes total sense.  In general, electric dryers are about 50% more expensive to run compared to gas.  While this isn't enough to justify the cost of installing a gas line and gas meter, it does make sense as a while you're at it kind of project!
Another good reason to switch is that gas clothes dryers have never been smarter at saving you energy.  Many of the newest models include moisture sensors which turn off the dryer when the clothes are dry, which might happen before the timer reaches the end of its cycle, thereby saving both energy and the wear-n-tear on your clothes!

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Garage Floor Epoxy Paint Kits: Use an Epoxy Floor Coating Kit to Refinish Your Garage Floor

 I am considering installing a new floor over the concrete floors in my garage and breezeway. I'm thinking about hiring a company that uses a hybrid polymer for new floors. The price of this material is about $5.95 per square foot, which amounts to $3,100 based on the size of my garage and breezeway. Do you have any experience with this type of flooring? It would be far less expensive to just paint the floors--would you recommend that instead? 

Our Answer

A DIY epoxy garage floor paint kit would save money and give you great results. Hybrid polymers, such as the one your contractor proposes to use, are blends of paint resins that bind well to cement and have very good UV and abrasion qualities. Applications are known as overlays and more commonly referred to as skim coats. Overlays are especially useful when the original concrete surface is worn, so using a hybrid polymer on a surface that's in good structural condition is overkill and very, very expensive.
I definitely think you can do this project yourself and save thousands of dollars. I'd recommend using an epoxy coating system such as QUIKRETE's Epoxy Garage Floor Coating Kit. Epoxy system kits typically include a cleaning/etching solution used to wash the old floor down and get it ready for the new finish, and a two-part epoxy mix that ensures a quick, thorough cure and superior adhesion. The kits also include color chips, those colorful flakes that are spread over the epoxy floor when wet to give it an attractive, textured finish when fully dry.
Epoxy delivers a coating twice as strong as concrete for the toughest garage floor in one coat and costs less than 30 cents a square foot, or about 20 times less than the hybrid polymer you were considering. I'd recommend you go with a DIY garage floor epoxy paint kit and use the money you save for some nice garage storage cabinets!

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Dryer Vent Cleaning: Keep Dryer Vents Clean with the Gardus Lint Eater

My clothes take a long time to dry and I'm wondering if the vent could be blocked.  I tried cleaning the with a vacuum but can't get too far.  Is there an easy way to clean a dryer duct yourself?

Our Answer

Cleaning a dryer vent is easy if you have a right tool. I use an inexpensive dryer duct cleaning tool called the Gardus Lint Eater. It is a series of flexible piping that link together and has a big brush on the end.  It snakes its way through your dryer venting system and will get rid of all of those dangerous lint bunnies lurking in the dryer vent. 
Cleaning your dryer vent is an important maintenance job. If ducts are blocked or restricted, the dryer has to run all that much longer to dry your clothes, running up electric and gas bills in the process.  More importantly, blocked dryer ducts are a real danger.  Over 15,000 dryer fires occur each year, many as the result of dirty dryer ducts.
Lastly, it is also important to replace plastic or vinyl dryer ducts with metal duct material, which is sturdy, making it easier to clean your dryer vents.

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Dryer Exhaust Hoses: Use only metal dryer exhaust hoses when making a connection

My dryer vent is on the opposite side from the wall outlet and the vent hose kinks. Would it be okay to run a length of PVC pipe with elbows?

Our Answer

Do not use PVC or any other material as a dryer vent except metal dryer vent hoses or ducts. This substitution would be especially dangerous because other materials will not stand up to high heat in the same way a metal dryer hose will. There are dryer hoses available in all shapes as well as dryer ducts that can make those tight turns you describe. Find the right venting system for your house and you will see that the dryer will work the best.