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Home COFSAB Forum Repairs and Maintenance Dryer Duct Cleaning

  • Dryer Duct Cleaning

    Posted by Roger Beebe on December 20, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Roger here. VP at a Condo in Medicine Hat. Dryer duct cleaning. Who does it, the corporation? if so why? or unit owners?

    I have lived in nine Condos across Canada, as far as I recall all cleaning of said ducts were done at once by the corporation. I assume looking at fire safety issues for one thing. At our last board meeting we had a discussion about who is legally required to do it. So far opinions seem divided One position is if the corporation does it we know they are all done, otherwise who knows? As far as paying it kind of works out the same, pay though fees or by paying a duct cleaner. Second question; how can you clean ducts on higher floors from the inside?? Regards .

    Mark Hambridge replied 2 months, 1 week ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
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  • Terry Gibson

    Administrator
    December 20, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you for posting this most important question!

    Unfortunately, the first answer is, “It depends!”

    The first place to look is the corporate bylaws. They may be silent on something that appears to be relatively minor.

    The second place to look is if your condo has an established policy or rule.

    If your condo does not have one, we recommend that you develop one.

    For apartment condominiums, maintenance and routine cleaning of dryer ducts are critical issues, as a lack of cleaning would probably increase the risk of a fire. We cannot depend on owners to clean their own ducts. The Board’s responsibility is to reduce risks to the condo. Don’t wait for an incident that could be costly and potentially endanger residents. Remember that a professional company will probably be more effective than owners as it is their business and ensure all ducts are addressed.

    I suggest that dryer cleaning be placed on a maintenance schedule with a frequency based on feedback from professionals, maybe every 3-5 years?

    In my experience, living in an apartment or condo, my condo corporation routinely cleans the ducts every few years. It can be easily delayed or forgotten if the corporation is not routinely referring to an established maintenance schedule. We can’t rely on board memories. Board members change. People forget. We are all human!

    Your question brings forth another critical question. The plumbing stacks in an apartment can become plugged for various reasons. The most common is that garburators lead to a build-up on the walls of the stacks over time. The stacks can become plugged. It is not uncommon to have a significant issue in a building if a stack becomes clogged and wastewater backs up into suites in the structure. That, too, can lead to substantial costs for the condo or even insurance claims if the expense is excessive.

    Routine auguring of stacks would be a wise approach.

    Thank you very much for asking this question, as it has risen in my condo in the last two days.

    Please spread the word!
  • Dana Bouwman

    Member
    December 20, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    My response is similar to Terry’s!

    Most condo bylaws that I’ve read have wording along the lines that the condo corporation is responsible for mechanical and electrical equipment that services more than one unit.

    Most condo dryer vent ducts are set up so that one duct services a single residential unit. So if your bylaws have the above mentioned wording then it is unit owner responsibility. But sometimes multiple residential units have connected ducts, so that would be corporation responsibility to clean the ducts.

    Most condos that I’ve worked with will consider it corporation responsibility to clean dryer vents from the exterior once every 3-5 years. There are usually two reasons for keeping this corporation responsibility: it’s a lot cheaper to do all the vents at the same time then to have each unit owner hire their own duct cleaner; and it reduces the risk of fire to clean out the ducts periodically. Usually condo corporations will leave it to individual unit owners to clean the ducts from the interior.

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  • Mark Hambridge

    Member
    December 20, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    I agree entirely with what Terry wrote.

    In our project, the regular maintenance people disconnected the dryer flexible tube at the wall and brushed or blew any lint into the exhaust stack where there is a suction fan on the roof. Having cleaned each unit’s exhaust, they then put a suction tube down from the roof (10 floors, + 2 x 8 floors for 175 units!) and sucked everything up. I was told the roof-top suction/exhaust fans were very lint-plugged!

    The corollary is that the flexible tube from the dryer to the wall is the responsibility of the owner. I chose to replace and upgrade the old vinyl tube with a metal one at the time the cleaning was done (the first time in ~20 years), but the dryer tube was newer – about 10 years old, from when we installed the new dryer.

    Cleaning lint from the dryer itself may be a ‘good thing to do’. There are instructions from laypeople on YouTube advising how to clean behind the removable lint filter; well worth taking a look.

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