When we bought our current house 11 years ago, we noticed a few quirky things that the previous owners had done. It wasn’t until we had the drier venting cleaned out that we learned we had a big problem. A previous owner had moved the washer and dryer up from the basement to the top floor and run the venting across the house and out the back. This would have been fine except they used flexible duct tubing with ridges for the venting, instead of something with smooth sides.  Lint can get caught on anything that isn’t smooth, build up, and because a fire hazard. So we needed it fixed.

To avoid having to tear up the hardwood floors that cover most of our upstairs, the contractor we hired to do this (and some other jobs) created a new duct with a shorter, more direct route out of the house and used the proper materials for the new vent. He then capped the old vent from the inside of the house. We were happy because we’d eliminated the fire hazard without having to destroy a large portion of our upstairs hardwood.

A few months later my wife and I were sitting on the back deck and she noticed something.  A small bird, maybe a sparrow flew into the opening to that vent that had been capped from the other side. Then we saw it fly out. Then two flew in. Birds had turned out abandoned dryer vent into a home. This is apparently common and can be a big problem, but not in our case because of the vent being capped to keep the birds from accessing the rest of the house.

Since then, the number of birds who seemed to have taken up residence in there has grown. Word has apparently gotten out that it’s a nice place and has become more of a bird hotel than a bird house these days. They don’t bother us, though they do get our dog’s attention and I’ve had to rescue a couple of birds that she cornered.

When we first found out about the dryer situation and the potential for a fix turning into a major renovation we were quite concerned about the fire hazard and irritated that we were possibly be on the hook for a big expense because of a prior owners attempt at DIY (yes we had an inspection, but this was not something they checked). In the end, however, we were able to get it fixed with very little hassle AND we seem to have created a home for some birds who, by the way, are of a kind that stays here all year long so I’m sure their happy with the warm accommodations.

Yes, it’s a feel-good story which we need more of these days, but the point of these warm bird feather fuzzies is that sometimes a problem may seem bigger at first than it really is, and the solution may bring unexpected rewards. 

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