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NJ AIR QUALITY BLOG

Getting Rid of a Birds Nest In a Dryer Vent

ByMarc Silberberg

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The summer is almost over and the kids are at least partially back in school. Yes, some schools are open and others are closed due to COVID-19;  at least there is some educational structure in their day. Still we are all getting over a summer like we have never experienced before in our lives. Many of us were home for all 13 weeks and our house appliances have taken a beating. In a typical summer, families may go on vacation, visit friends, or head out on a road trip which gives the house a break. But this year it was all day long around the house. 

It was not surprising to hear from my wife the claim of “My dryer is not drying my clothes”. For a housewife, not to have a functioning clothes dryer could quickly turn into a household disaster. This means that laundry will build up without anyway to plug up the source. Kids will still need clothing and dispense the worn clothes at the end of the day. To me it seemed that the enormous amount of summer laundry had finally taken a toll on my Samsung clothes dryer. At that point I gathered all the quarters I could find and headed to the laundromat in Garwood, New Jersey. While waiting for the families clothes to dry I began scouring the internet for a new clothes dryer that would not break the bank.

The following day I was up early for my morning brew and was enjoying the quiet while the family was still asleep. It was nice to see the sun coming up, the crickets chirping, and the birds tweeting. Surprisingly the sound of the birds was a bit amplified but I assumed that there must have been a bird right outside our kitchen window. By now the family was awake and another day to send the kids off to school and to head to work.

Later that day I got an interesting phone call from my wife about her finding straw in the dryer lint trap. The lint trap is used to catch the majority of lint from the clothes before it enters your dryer vent. Not cleaning the lint trap can result in your dryer vent getting clogged which may cause a dangerous house fire. I began to put these two random occurrences together, that of hearing birds in the morning and my wife finding possible nest shards in the dryer lint trap. Was it possible that there was a nest somewhere situated in the house?

The last time I began looking for a nest was when there were bees swarming in the front yard. My son and I camped out in the car with binoculars to try and identify where these bees were going and coming from. Turns out we could not find anything and I hired the exterminator to spray around the house for $160. This time I was determined to find out where the bird’s nest was.

I followed the sound of bird’s chirping and it was in close proximity to the laundry room. Since our washer and dryer were on the second floor of our home, the dryer vent would lead through the center of the house and turn until the dryer heat would exit through the side of the house. The question was, how would I find the actual nest and get rid of it? After listening to the walls and climbing up ladders I received the dreadful message that every man hates to hear “Why don’t you call the exterminator?” I knew that the exterminator would get rid of the bird’s nest but would he clean the dryer vent? I began scouring the web for “bird nest removal from dryer vent” and got hold of a vent cleaning specialist for dryer, oven, and other appliance vents. The bird’s nest was carefully removed and surprisingly the dryer began working properly. Thereafter the vent cleaning specialists made sure all the vents going to the exterior of the home were covered with a PVC termination vent screen. This would keep the birds and animals out of these vents.

Who Should You Call For a Birds Nest In Dryer Vent Removal?

When dealing with a pests problem the first thing people think of is calling the exterminator. They will come and address the pest issue and remove it from your property. However, when dealing with the issue of a clogged dryer or oven vent, it’s much more than just removing the obstacle, it’s making sure there is a proper flow of air for the home appliance to be working properly. Therefore, if a scenario should occur of a homeowner finding a birds nest clogging the dryer vent, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned by a professional to remove any airway obstructions. Even a partial blockage can cause an appliance like a dryer to not function properly.

Vents Which Birds & Animals Can Potentially Clog 

Besides for birds nesting in a nice cozy dryer vent, there are other vents in the home which pests may reside in. 

  • Bathroom Vents – Most bathrooms have a vent fan which helps remove foul air and shower steam both during and after use. The contractor will lead the vent to the outside of the house and cover the pipe opening with a special vent cap. The vent cap should prevent birds and animals from accessing the bathroom vent. Over the course of time the vent cap can erode or get damaged which can allow access to unwanted pests. Most people don’t recognize it and will never replace the bathroom vent cap. That’s exactly how birds and animals can hibernate during the cold winter. Heat from the home is just enough to keep their little bodies warm until spring.
  • Oven Vents – In your kitchen above your gas range is a ventilation system that allows for any excess heat from baking and cooking to exit your house. The vent system will keep your kitchen cool all summer long and not over work your cooling system. This duct accessory can sometimes be up to fourteen inches wide and play host to vermin if not caped properly. Similarly, birds can create a nest in a stove vent which can be a hindrance in the ventilation process.
  • Water Heaters & Furnaces – Every water heater and furnace requires a vent which allows the heat to escape. This might be steel or PVC piping which exits the top or side of your home. A good contractor will make sure to cap the pipe with a special screen that will not allow birds or animals to enter there. You need to check it every couple of years to make sure that the screen is still intact. Once there is an opening for the animals, chances are they may find a nice comfortable residence there.

Having a Birds Nest In a Vent Can Be Dangerous

When a house is constructed, the piping structure is fully visualized prior to laying down any cement for the foundation. These vents allow heat, gas, and foul odors to escape the home in a safe manner. Birds and other animals that find a home in these vents can create an obstruction in the air flow and not allow these unwanted elements to exit the home. This includes sewer gas which is the byproduct of natural human waste and consists of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. It’s the hydrogen sulfide which exudes the foul egg smell. Though sewer gas is not toxic enough to be harmful to humans, it is definitely unpleasant to have the odor coming back into the home.

More dangerous than foul odor of sewer gas are the highly combustible elements which make up a bird’s nest. Dry twigs, grass, and leaves can quickly ignite and quickly burn through the wood boards of a house. The danger increases when a clothes dryer fire is in close proximity to a clogged dryer vent. As a matter of fact, The U.S. Fire Administration reports that 2,900 clothes dryer fires are recorded every year. Unfortunately these fires lead to five deaths, 100 injuries, and over 35 million in property loss. Keeping the dryer vents clean and clear may save households from such a tragedy.

Final Words

We all love hearing birds chirp and care for their well-being but they do not belong in your vents. Homeowners need to check that their vents are covered with a special cap or screen to prevent birds and animals from entering there. If you do find that your apartment dryer vent is clogged make sure to call a local dryer vent cleaning specialist. Exterminators will address the pest issue but not make sure your vents are clear of any debris. These types of debris can prevent the proper flow of air exiting your home and can sometimes be dangerous. Take the time to inspect the exterior of your house and make sure that the vent pipes leading outside are capped properly. Sometimes the vent covers with flaps may not keep out the birds. They can slip their sleek beak under the flap and enter into the vent pipe. Keep your vents capped and pipelines clear for proper exhaust air flow. This will keep your home safe and allow appliances to function properly.

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