Venting…about my dryer

31 10 2007

I’ve had this on my to-do list for quite some time  – clean the dryer vent. I don’t mean the lint screen in the dryer itself. I’m very methodical about keeping it clean and clear at all times.  What I’m talking about is the venting from the rear of the dryer all the way to the vent outlet located on the outside of the house. We finally tackled this project last Sunday.

We started by removing the plastic hood that covers the pipe on the outside of the house. With the hood gone, we could see straight into the pipe. You won’t believe what we found. We found a thick coat of matted lint lining the pipe going into the house. The pipe was no where near blocked but…Ugh! Scary! That’s a fire just waiting to happen.

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(I didn’t take the photo above (I found it on the web) but I felt it accurately depicts what’s going on in these pipes.)

We then went inside to move the dryer and disconnect the flexible pipe that connects the dryer exhaust to the house pipe. The flexible pipe was pretty clean. The pipe going into the wall was pretty clean from what we could see. When looking into the pipe from the outside, we could see the laundry room light; confirming again the pipe was not blocked.

Now with both ends clear, we had to figure out how to clean 12 feet of pipe enclosed within the wall.  First we started out with a 5 ft drill bit. We used it to scrape the sides of the pipe at each end. It worked pretty good but we knew we weren’t touching all 12 feet of the pipe.

We then came up with the idea of using a painters extension pole. The pole is used by painters to paint cathedral ceilings. When fully extended, the pole was longer than our pipe. We started by trying to scrape the sides of the pipe. Again, it really wasn’t doing the job. The pole reached all the way but it wasn’t cleaning the pipe well. I wanted no trace of flammable lint left in that pipe.

This is when we thought of using a towel. We knew we ran the risk of snagging the towel on something inside the pipe and possibly getting it stuck but we also knew we could reverse the direction if need be. We used the extension pole to push the towel through. A 10 inch thick lint wave poured out of the pipe as the towel pushed through. 

Wow! It’s amazing how much lint was coating the inside of the pipe.  The majority of the lint was concentrated in the pipe closer to the exterior of the house more than anywhere else. A combination of lint and humidity appear to be the main culprit. 

I’m so glad we finally checked this item off our list. I knew there was lint in the pipe but I didn’t expect there to be that much. I’m planning on buying a dryer vent cleaning brush for the next cleaning. I didn’t know they existed until I started putting this post together. Get this, it’s a round brush attached to 20 feet of flexible coil and it’s available from Amazon. I don’t know why I waste my time searching anywhere else. I should always start with Amazon.

If you haven’t cleaned your dryer duct, now’s a good time to do so while the weather is still nice here in the south. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, clothes dryers were associated with 15,000+ fires in 1998.

Overheated Clothes Dryers Can Cause Fires

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Mass Suicide or Viral Attack?

17 10 2007

I came home today and found dozens of dead worms on my sidewalk near the front door. Hmm? Strange…

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Seeing a dead worm on the sidewalk is not uncommon but usually it’s just one worm, sometimes two. So what’s going on here?

Was it a mass worm suicide? I know it sounds silly but how do you explain a bunch of worms crawling up on your sidewalk and dying at the same time.

Look at this next photo. All the black spots on the concrete are dead worms!

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Is it possible that an invisible killer is lurking in our soil? Maybe the virus that killed the honeybees this summer is now attacking earthworms. Maybe so. I don’t know. I just know there’s a boatload of dead worms on my sidewalk and I wanted to document the event.





He seems like a fun guy!

17 10 2007

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts today, “This Week in Tech“, when Leo Laporte and John C. Dvorak started talking about Larry Ellison. I couldn’t resist trimming the audio file down to this soundbite.

This is for you Larry: 





VoteMatch Quiz

14 10 2007

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SpeakOut.com has a 20 question quiz you can take that covers all the political issues. 

After you’re done, your results are matched up with the Presidential candidates.

 

 

You’ll be asked questions concerning:

  • Individual rights

  • Domestic issues

  • Economic issues

  • Defense/International issues

The results can be surprising. At the top of my matched results list were two candidates I have completely ignored…until now.

Give it a try at http://www.speakout.com/VoteMatch/senate2006.asp?quiz=2008

 





A Del.icio.us Recommendation

11 10 2007

Have you ever heard of Del.icio.us?  Have you used Del.icio.us? If not, here’s a little tutorial I’ve put together to describe its features and suggest some reasons for using it.

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What is Del.icio.us? 

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website located at http://del.icio.us/.  Del.icio.us allows you to save your bookmarks online.

How does Del.icio.us work? 

Each Del.icio.us bookmark includes a title, link, and one or more descriptive keywords known as a “tag”. The tag is the beauty of it all. The tag allows you to group and categorize your bookmarks in a manner that means something to you. Since each bookmark can have one or more tags, you can associate one bookmark with a variety of categories.

A Del.icio.us example 

The Del.icio.us tags works like the categories do here on my blog. If I select a category, I see all the bookmarks tagged with that keyword. Here’s an example where I selected the tag named “boone” on my Del.icio.us site. 

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Del.icio.us displays all items tagged “boone” in my Favorites. I’m planning a vacation to Boone, NC next spring so I’m starting to collect information on things to do and see while I’m there. To see the actual Del.icio.us list, click here: http://del.icio.us/LOUTHERJL/boone

Searching your bookmarks 

If I’m not sure what tags I assigned to a bookmark, I can use the Del.icio.us search field to search my entries or the entire Del.icio.us website. Searching the entire Del.icio.us community lets me see what others might be bookmarking on the topic as well.

Video – Social Bookmarking

If you’re still not sure what social bookmarking means, watch this video the folks at CommonCraft put together to explain the concept. It’s a good video.

How I use Del.icio.us

I use Google Reader to subscribe to a variety of websites. Google Reader has a feature where you can “star” a post and save it for future reference. I’m not a big fan of this feature. I use Del.icio.us instead. I bookmark the post and tag with categories meaningful to me.

Another way I use Del.icio.us is to share links with family and friends. Before Del.icio.us, email was the only way to share a link with someone. It’s not very efficient. Now, I post my links on Del.icio.us so everyone can view them there: http://del.icio.us/LOUTHERJL

It’s Free! 

Click here to register for your free Del.icio.us account: https://secure.del.icio.us/register





Book: The Mask of Atreus

10 10 2007

If you love a mystery thriller surrounding the suspicious murder of an unlikely victim or two, this book is for you. The storyline is non-stop. It’s full of twists and turns followed by about-faces that leave you wondering how any of its related… but it is

The cast of characters involve a museum curator in Atlanta, Greek legends, Russian spies, and German soldiers. You can almost see them in the book cover.

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The author, A. J. Hartley, weaves enough historical background into his story that you question the fictionality of it. It makes you think, “What if this were true?”.

Hartley even provides a list of his research source material at the end of the book. He assumes he has piqued the reader’s curiosity enough to continue the story beyond the covers of the book.  

A. J. Hartley’s website: http://www.ajhartley.net/index.htm

Amazon: The Mask of Atreus





Coco Bongo

7 10 2007

The North Carolina Seafood Festival was held this weekend in Morehead City. Larry, Lisa, Mike and I decided to head over and graze the food stands.

Boy was it hot! It’s hard to believe it’s October with the heat we had today. It’s really strange considering we were on the waterfront.

As you know, with heat and a lot of walking comes thirst. I went with the freshly squeezed lemonade. Lisa grabbed a Mountain Dew.

I’m almost embarrassed to say what Larry and Mike ended up drinking. Luckily I have pictures!

Larry went with the Outrageous Orange Coco Bongo drink in the pretty long neck glass:

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I guess watching Larry drink was too much for Mike. He went with the Bahama Mama Coco Bongo drink in the same long neck glass .

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What was the real attraction here, the drink or the glass? What’s your opinion? Leave it in the comments.