Can't I just use the LintEater to clean my vent?

Want to see a funny video of one of our stuck LintEater removals? Click HERE

"Hi, my husband and I bought the LintEater brush and it came off inside our dryer vent.  Can you get it out!?"  We literally get calls exactly like this several times a month and believe me it is not pleasant for the homeowner.  This most recent case was especially interesting.

We received a call from a customer in our area around 6:45PM on a Sunday night because her husband had spent the last five hours trying to fish the LintEater brush with an attached rod out of their vent.  Needless to say he was far too irritated to talk on the phone so she had to serve as a go-between.  Naturally, they were quite distressed and were in high hopes that I could help them retrieve the tool from the vent.  It doesn't take a building engineer to know that the brush if left inside the vent will almost certainly create a blockage that could easily result in a house fire.  I told her I would be happy to come and help but I had to be forward on a couple of matters.  First, I cannot guarantee I will even be able to remove the LintEater because there is no exact tool to do so and I cannot risk tangling my tool around it and compounding the problem therefor it is a delicate and uncertain process.  Second, if we are able to remove the LintEater there would be an additional charge due to the time and risk involved.  She wasn't thrilled with these facts but understood so we scheduled an appointment for the next morning.

Upon arriving at the house I was shocked to discover that the homeowners had actually purchased TWO sets of LintEater's (because each set only comes with 12 feet of rods, the vent was nearly 30 feet) and they had already used them recently but it had not solved the dryer's issues.  I got to work quickly, and much to the customer's exuberance I was able to retrieve the lost LintEater.  Each LintEater set costs around $35, plus the additional fee to have it removed from the vent and maybe worst of all, roughly 5-6 hours of stress.  Admittedly, the LintEater is a similar design to the tools we use to clean out dryer vents but we do not experience the same issues...why is that?  The first reason is design and durability, while our tools are similar they are MUCH heavier duty and better designed.  Our rods are 4 foot push to connect with stainless steel ends, each costing nearly as much as the full LintEater kit itself, and the brush is steel as well rather than a semi-soft brush like one would use to scrub carpet.  The LintEater comes with directions to screw on each 3 foot rod and reinforce with tape??  The reason for the tape is just incase the rod becomes unscrewed inside the vent, which is very easy to do if the brush becomes stuck on a tough blockage (in this case it was a large mess of wet lint) and the drill is run in reverse effectively unscrewing the rod.  Simply put, the design is poor and the materials cheap, while the concept is similar...our tools cost many hundreds of dollars and are operated by professionals who have seen it all.  While we've been able to retrieve all the LintEater's we've come across, if we were not able to the homeowner would have to cut out the sheetrock to pull the pipe out which could push the total expense to unbelievable heights.  Don't chance it, call a professional!