Commercial dryer vent cleaning refers to the cleaning of dryer vents in businesses or multi-unit dwellings (condos, apartments, etc) as opposed to single-family homes. What's referred to as the dryer vent (or more appropriately, the dryer duct) runs from the back of the clothes dryer itself to the outside, exhausting the warm, moist air produced by your dryer. In the process, small bits of lint that slough off your laundry are also exhausted. Lint is extremely combustible and cannot be permitted to build up inside the dryer duct, as it is an extreme fire hazard. The process of dryer vent cleaning removes the lint buildup from the entirety of this duct and renders the machine more efficient and, more importantly, it eliminates the associated fire hazard.
What is the difference between residential and commercial dryer vent cleaning?
How are commercial dryer vents cleaned?
In apartment buildings and condominiums, it is rare that any dryer vent lines are shared; typically each unit has its own dryer and dryer vent line, which exhausts somewhere out the side or roof of the building. In some cases, the first and subsequent floors vent out the side of the building, and the top floor vents to the roof. In other cases all dryers vent to the roof.
Regardless, the process for cleaning them is similar. The technician positions himself where the dryer exhausts (using a lift to reach the higher floors). He inserts a cleaning tool attached to a high-pressured air line into the vent and feeds it down the vent line, as far as it goes, until it reaches the back of the machine itself. When the tool (a "high-velocity reverse-spinning air ball") is engaged, it spins around and spits out air through tiny holes in the metal ball. As the technician slowly extracts the tool, the lint is blown out with it (quite forcefully; most technicians wear face masks). The technician repeats the process if necessary until he has confirmed good air flow from the vent. Importantly, the technician will also remove any screening that is in place over the dryer vent, as this is a violation of code and additionally a fire hazard.
How often should commercial dryer vents be cleaned?
Typically dryer vents in multi-unit dwellings such as apartments and condominiums should be cleaned yearly. Most properties of this nature have an ongoing yearly contract for service with an HVAC cleaning company.
Estimates can be provided for the cost to clean all vents in a building in a single service, and prices vary depending on how many units to be cleaned, how many stories in the building, how long the dryer vent lines run, and where the dryers exhaust. Obviously, the more units, the higher the total price (though the cost per unit tends to decline as the number of units increases). Higher floors would necessitate the rental of a lift, which would also contribute to the estimate total.
Reputable commercial dryer vent cleaners are equipped and experienced to handle properties of all sizes and configurations, and yearly contracts establish consistency and predictability with the project, making planning easier on property management companies—and dryers safer and more efficient for tenants.
Wanna dig deeper? Our commercial dryer vent cleaning page contains detailed descriptions, before and after photos, and videos of our commercial dryer vent cleaning processes.
Many thanks to our commercial project manager Ben S for lending his expertise to this article.