By Rachael Rees • The Bulletin
What: The Lint Doctor
What it does: Dryer-vent cleaning
Pictured: Bill Lis, owner/operator
When the new dryer Bill Lis purchased seven years ago performed poorly, he climbed under the house, took apart the dryer-vent duct system and discovered a king-sized pillow’s worth of lint.
“It looked kind of like going into a haunted mansion,” he said. “There was spiderwebs and lots of gray lint everywhere.”
He learned his neighbors and friends were having similar issues and proceeded to clean their dryer vents, too. It was then he realized his new skill could be a business and started The Lint Doctor, a dryer-vent cleaning service.
“I was looking for something else to do,” Lis said. “I was an independent insurance agent at the time. I was getting tired of the insurance industry and thought, ‘What can I do where I can make a living and maybe make a difference as well?’”
Lis cleans both residential and business dryers throughout Central Oregon. He averages about 10 cleanings a week. His basic fee is $110 and has additional charges for second-story laundry rooms and jobs located outside of Bend.
Lint builds up, sticks to the inside of the dryer duct and slowly fills up the duct so the hot air can’t escape, he said.
“Think about it as an artery that is filling with cholesterol and eventually gets clogged. That’s where the doctor comes in,” he said.
To get clothes dry, Lis said, some residents will run their dryers for two or three cycles, which can cause dryers clogged with lint to overheat and catch fire.
According to a 2012 report from the National Fire Data Center, an estimated 2,900 clothes-dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss.
Beyond reducing the risk of fire, Lis said, maintaining a clean dryer-vent system saves money on utility bills by shortening drying time and extending the life of dryers and clothes.
Signs that a dryer system may need cleaning include: clothes taking an unusually long time to dry, a laundry room with excessive moisture, or visible lint buildup in and around the vents, Lis said.
He recommends dryers get cleaned at least every year for families of three or more.
“I’m 57, and I’ve done quite a few different careers in my life, but I’ve got to say, I absolutely do enjoy this most,” Lis said.
— Reporter: 541-617-7818,
Q: What is your favorite part of operating The Lint Doctor?
A: I’ve always liked to work with my hands. And I enjoy the fact that I’m actually doing a valuable service for the people in our community and averting a possible tragedy of somebody having a dryer fire. I can actually say that I’ve averted quite a few fires from happening.
Q: Where do you hope The Lint Doctor will be in the next five years?
A: I think my business model would be perfect for a franchise. I’ve actually had a couple people, they were customers, that wanted to know if they could take my name and business model out of the state and do it somewhere else.