You have discovered a nest in your dryer (or any other) vent. It should be simple to remove this …right... Removing a nest from any type of pipe or vent is far more difficult than you would imagine. This is a very common problem that seems to occur thru out the country.
We see it mostly in the spring time when birds will start the nesting the process.
Here are a few helpful tips to guide you.
Why do Birds Nest in vents?
Your vent might be damaged. It could have missing flaps (deteriorated from the weather, age, or misuse), or never had a cover installed at all. If the piping is exposed it is the perfect cubby for a variety of critters, especially birds. Once a bird has decided your vent is the perfect spot move in to and made a nice cozy nest in there, it will be extremely difficult to rid yourself of them. Your vent is safe from the elements, comfy to raise a family, and near to ample food and water. How do you rid yourself of this nesting problem? The pipe itself is usually quite narrow. The nest is just out of arms reach (usually 3+ feet down. You can’t “push” it out. The average homeowner doesn’t own any special tools that can grasp the nest and pull it out. Taking the vent apart I not really an option, and the bird is not going to be coaxed out of its spot until the nesting cycle is over. Because the vent connects to your home, you can’t smoke them out, or poison them. If you did you would have dead birds that you cannot reach in your vents.
Steps to remove the nesting birds from pipe vents
Identify the type of bird and how far along it is in its nesting. If it is very early in the spring then the bird may not be as vested, or as difficult to deal with as they may be later in the spring when eggs or young are involved. Remember the bird chose this spot to make a safe home for its offspring and will be defensive of that.
Now determine how much nesting and debris needs to be removed from the vent. The only way to accurately determine the extent of the nest is by using a fiber optic scope. Unfortunately, these are usually being purchased in upwards of $200.00 from any of the big box lumber stores.
Once you have determined the extent of the nesting and any other obstructions, you ready to proceed. The most opportune time to act is when the nesting bird has left. It is best to have a partner to “stand watch” for you during the extrication. As far as tools go, we suggest using a “fish”. This handy tool looks like an extendable clog removal tool with an edged hook on the end. It can be found in the electrical isle from at most hardware stores. Most are reasonably priced, starting as low as $40.00. You simply extend the hook and line into the pipe, and run the fish in and out of the piping until all the nesting and other debris comes out.
The last step is simple, but most important. Finish up your bird nest removal by disinfecting the vent. A commercial grade disinfectant should use Birds carry a mites that will invest your home. Once you and your family have mites, they are nasty, uncomfortable, and hard to be rid of. We suggest that you call a professional pest service to have the mite spraying/disinfecting done. Not only will it be more cost effective to have a professional do the job, but it will be done correctly the first time.
You might also want to consider a professional for the bird/nest removal service as will. Incorrect removal procedures often leads to dead birds in vents, eggs left in the vents to rot, and flammable materials left behind. All these scenarios can pose a danger to you and your family. Your local age extension or a local feed/ hardware store can often find a list of qualified professionals in your area.
Do Not Use Panty Hose (or anything except approved covering) on a Dryer Vent
Some folks think the answer is to disconnect the vent while waiting for the nesting bird to leave and cover the hole with panty hose, net, or some other type of cloth. Do not try this! This is dangerous and should not be done! Dryers always need to vent outside the home. When you restrict the airflow, it causes lint to accumulate in the dryer back at an accelerated rate. These dangerous conditions can lead to serious fires.