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Old 05-12-2015, 11:46 AM   #1
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How can i blow water out of a 3" pvc pipe?


A friend has a dryer vent that exits too close to the ground, and got water in it. When you turn the dryer on, you can hear gurgling in the pipe. It's a 3" pvc line.

What's the best way to do this? I'm assuming i need a 3" cap, and then somehow drill a hole in the middle, or something, and attach a fitting so that an air compressor will blow the water out?

Thanks!
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:28 PM   #2
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Probably do better sucking it out. Stick a shop vac hose down and suck as much as you can. Then the heat from the dryer should evaporate the rest of it.
No way a home compressor will enough volume to blow water out of a 3" pipe.
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:49 PM   #3
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Good idea, thanks for the tip.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tireshark View Post
A friend has a dryer vent that exits too close to the ground, and got water in it. When you turn the dryer on, you can hear gurgling in the pipe. It's a 3" pvc line.

What's the best way to do this? I'm assuming i need a 3" cap, and then somehow drill a hole in the middle, or something, and attach a fitting so that an air compressor will blow the water out?

Thanks!
Your method would work if you had a foam rubber ball that fit the inside diameter just tight enough it would seal air from escaping around it. Your air would push the ball and it would be called "pigging the line".
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeniorSitizen View Post
Your method would work if you had a foam rubber ball that fit the inside diameter just tight enough it would seal air from escaping around it. Your air would push the ball and it would be called "pigging the line".
I was thinking along this too. Except I'd try to pull a big sponge or a nerf ball that is attached to a fish tape- feed the tape through the duct, attach the ball, then pull it back
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:02 PM   #6
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you can blow water out of a conduit with a shop vac. I use a rag, wrap it around the end of the vac hose, stick it in the pipe and turn the vac on (on blow). It does not remove all of the water though. Once the air can escape past the water, it won't push anymore out.


I had a 4" pipe somewhere between 150-200 feet full of water. Hooked up the shop vac as I describe and we had a temp fountain in the parking lot probably 4-5 feet high. there was a lot of water in there.

what the folks are talking about doing with a fish tape and foam ball:

a rope and a glob of rags will do the same thing.
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:54 AM   #7
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When you get it all cleared you should do two things.
1. Fix the issue so water can't get in anymore.
2. Adjust the slope of the pipe so water drains one way or the other and does not lay there.
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Old 05-13-2015, 11:44 AM   #8
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Is this a full sized dryer ?

If so, should be a 4 inch duct, not 3.

PVC is not allowed in my area. we are 12 inch above ground minimum, at the exit point. Check with your building dept.
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Old 05-13-2015, 04:22 PM   #9
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Another issue; if water will stand in the pipe clearing it is t going to do anything permanently. The humidity is the dryer air will condense out any time the pipe is cooler than the dew point for the dryer air.


You need to do what joed said about sloping the vent to prevent accumulation
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:30 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the input guys, here is what happened.

First of all, here is a pic of how the dryer vent was when i saw it:



I dug it out, and discovered that the actual vent pipe was about 4 inches below ground level, and that someone had placed a couple of 3" PVC bends to bring it up above ground level.



The problem was that the vent pipe was actually smaller than 3 inches, so the PVC fittings couldn't make a proper seal (they had tried to use canned foam to seal it), and mud, water, and lint had completely plugged up the vent pipe.

here's the vent pipe clogged:



and after i cleared it:



all of the backed up water immediately flowed out, so at least it has some slope to it.

After the initial water flowed out, i was still left with a mess inside the pipe as it still had a lot of mud in it. I tried 3 different snakes and finally got it all the way through (it had 2 90 degree bends to get up through the floor) with this big metal tape that thankfully my dad had acquired some time ago:



Anyway, i ended up tying some rags to it and running them through the pipe to clean it out. I pulled a rag through the 90 degree bends twice, but then stopped because i was afraid the rag was going to come off and get stuck in there. After that i just ran them up the straight section and back out to clean it out. Sprayed a garden hose through it both ways, and after a few hours of doing all this i finally got the water to run clear.

Both the homeowner, and myself, are scratching our heads as to why anyone would route a dryer vent below ground surface. Also scratching our heads as to why the home inspector okay'd it when she bought the place.

Anyway, i'm trying to think of a way to seal this pipe somehow... but like i said it isn't a normal 2" or 3" pipe... it's sort of halfway in between, and the 2/3" PVC fittings dont fit properly. All i can think to do is to put the 3" fittings back on it, stabilize it somehow, and then just smear silicon all over it to fill in the gaps between the vent pipe and PVC fittings.

I told the homeowner that long term it is a pretty lousy solution, and will probably fail again (unless anyone knows a way to seal it really well), but it will at least let her use her dryer again. My thoughts were that if she wanted it fixed long term, they would probably have to install a new exhaust out the top of the roof or something.

Thanks again!
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:58 AM   #11
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Build a box around the pipe so it is not under ground. Like a window well.
Or move the pipe up so it is not underground.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:22 AM   #12
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Hopefully you never need to do this again, but if any job should call for the rag drag method, tie a clove hitch knot about centered on the rag. You will have a length of rope to pull each direction and I guarantee it will not come loose.

Please don't criticize the rope I made.
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