I live on the 6th floor of a 7 story condo building and my dryer duct goes up into my kitchen ceiling, through the ceiling, and out the front wall of the condo approx. 30 feet away. The dryer was a 20 year old Spacemaker with bad door seals that had been dumping lint into the ductwork for years apparently.
When I moved into the place a couple of months ago I noticed that the dryer was not working and took the front cover off. The entire body of the dryer was packed with lint and dog hair as was all of the ductwork coming out of the blower and up into the ceiling. I pulled as much as I could out with my hand and then called a duct cleaner to come and give it a try. They put their compressed air hose way up into it and did their thing, but said that they got almost nothing out.
Well, I recently replaced the washer and dryer with a more modern model and am positive that I am having the same problems with the clothes not drying so I am thinking that the ductwork is still clogged up.
I looked at the outside vent and it appears to be a grid type vent that fits flush against the wall (6 stories up) as opposed to one of the flaps that I am used to seeing on dryer vents. It is one vent in common for three exhausts: dryer, stove, and bathroom. My guess is that some of the huge quantity of lint that must have been in my ductwork has gotten trapped against the inside surface of that grid and blocked it to an extent that could not be removed with by the normal duct cleaners procedures.
So my question is, what options are available to me? I am not terribly interested in doing it myself unless it is really simple. I had considered hooking some really powerful suction up to the inside end of the duct, like a gas-powered leafblower, and trying to just suck it all back into my kitchen, but that seems like a bad idea. A rock-climbing friend offered to rapell off the roof with a leafblower to try to clean it out, but that also seems dubious to me. Seems like an HVAC guy could cut into my ceiling near where the ductwork exits, cut into the duct, and remove any blockage at the end. Is that the right way to tackle the problem? Do little cameras on a stick exist to look through the ductwork and see what is really happening?
I read in the new dryer's docs what the backpressure spec is for the dryer, and I am interested in having someone come out with a manometer to at least check it out before starting to tear the place up. Can any residential HVAC person do that or is it something special? And lastly, since my unit is not the only one with problems with the exterior vents (other units have had rain blowing in theirs and collecting in the ductwork eventually leaking into their walls and such) how could I make the condo board's decision to replace all of the exterior vents easier by contacting local contractors myself? Should I be talking to residential or commercial ones? And what are good sites to find ones in my area (DC)? I don't like the yellowpages grab bag.