It was Sunday afternoon and I was catching up on laundry. I caught a whiff of what I can only describe as "hot dryer smell" and went over to investigate. I put my hand on top of the dryer to take its temperature, yelled many unladylike expletives, and turned it off. The cussed thing was overheating. Again. Since this was the second dryer drama in as many weekends, I deduced that this problem surely had to be related to the bird-in-the-dryer dilemma which my capable ranchsitters resolved a mere eight days earlier.
Had the bird in the dryer appeared because it had fallen out of a nest it had built atop the dryer vent? And was the nest now clogging the vent, causing it to overheat? That was my theory. But to prove it, I would have to access the top of the dryer vent. Which is in the middle of my steeply pitched metal roof. Which could easily double as the biggest slide on any playground.
I knew there was no way I could safely climb on the roof, but I thought it might be possible to dislodge a nest if only my arm were about 18 feet long. So I hunted around the garage and rigged an extension pole out of leftover pvc and a stick with a hook on the end.
problem-solving adventures involve ladders? Probably because I wouldn't have these problems if I were tall. Anyway, I was able to use the extension pole to poke around the top of the dryer vent by standing on the ladder, which I'd placed in the bed of the truck. But I didn't poke out a bird's nest or anything else that might have been stuck right under the vent cap. I climbed down, turned on the dryer, and it was still overheating. Bummer. I resigned myself to having to call a repairman, then went out to the barn to do chores.
My best ideas come to me while scooping poop, and this one was no exception. If I couldn't clear the vent from the top down, maybe I could clear it from the bottom up? What could I use to push up into the vent that would bend 45 degrees yet be sturdy enough to reach the roof and pull out the blockage? How about a metal tape measure?
Now I had to figure out a way to clean out the 14-foot tall, 4-inch-wide pipe. I pushed the tape measure up several more times, pulling down a little lint with each effort, but I needed something wider.
...then I covered the plastic with a Swiffer cloth, attaching it with several layers of duct tape
so it wouldn't come loose and get stuck in the vent.
Then I stuck my homemade dryer-vent sweep up the vent and down came a most disgusting clog of lint.
And then I aimed the mirror up the vent and there was light at the end of the tunnel.
I turned the dryer on and it didn't overheat.