Excessive dryer lint is one of the most flammable materials in your home!
Is your dryer vent and hose free of lint and debris buildup? Our clothes dryer is meant to make our lives easier. It is our reliable helper, often ignored and taken for granted – until it loses its efficiency. Drying time takes longer, and eventually the stored up debris in the duct becomes combustible!
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 15,000 fires are caused each year by clogged clothes dryer vents. When debris, dust, and cloth particles accumulate along the lining of your dryer duct, air flow is reduced, backing up exhaust gases creating a dangerous fire hazard.
Dryer fires in residential buildings reported to U.S. fire departments each year cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. FEMA says that these fire incidences are higher in the fall and winter months, peaking in January. Failure to clean vents was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
How do fires happen?
Clothes placed in your dryer are tumbled and dried by moving hot air. One full load of wet clothes can contain as much as one and a half gallons of water. These clothing articles contain fiber and lint which becomes trapped by the dryer’s filter and carried through the vent system along with the sticky moist air. Other particles of debris sometimes left in pockets – such as tissue, gum, wrappers, etc., also become vented, adding to the volatile mix. When this highly combustible material builds up in your dryer duct system, it becomes a potential fire hazard.
Nests of small birds and other animals can block the tube and even hornets nests can stop a vent hatch from working, causing the dryer to build up exhaust and debris.
If heat and moisture cannot get out of the dryer, the appliance will work harder and heat builds up – leading to the potential for a vent fire.
What about the location of the dryer vent in your home?
Some home dryer venting systems are short in length, especially if they are placed against an outside wall. In larger homes some laundry areas are located centrally requiring up to 15, 20 to 25 foot vents or more. The longer the vent, the harder it is for the dryer to force the lint out. Homes with longer vents are more susceptible to fire!
How to determine if your dryer vent system needs to be cleaned.
Here are some rules of thumb in knowing when and how to get your dryer vents maintained.
- Drying time takes longer.
- Clothing is not completely dried after a normal cycle.
- There is a musty odor in the clothing.
- The dryer vent flap does not properly open during operation of the dryer.
- Excessive heat is evident in the laundry area.
- More than normal buildup of lint occurs in the removable lint trap.
- Lint and debris is accumulating on the floor and wall surfaces around the dryer.
- Bits of debris are noticeable within the dryer vent opening.
- An odor of heat and exhaust is building up with every use.
Call a professional & save money!
If your dryer has not been working optimally and you detect any of the warning signs above, start with an inspection.
Although there are do-it-yourself vent cleaning kits available, rather than tackling it yourself, an expert will have the proper tools and once they are done, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing your dryer vent is thoroughly clear. Some dryers have galvanized pipes, while others use flexible aluminum or coiled plastic venting. Depending on the circumstances, your technician might use brushes, wands or snakes to properly clean the vent. Sometimes disassembling the venting system is required to reach certain areas. And if the vent hose is old and damaged, they will recommend and install a replacement.
The technician most likely has seen just about every make and model and will also know if your dryer vent meets code, and can fix this if it doesn’t.
The cost of maintenance and cleaning may be low, or run upwards of $300, depending on the length and location of the vent. But in addition to reducing the threat of a vent fire, a cleaning can pay for itself in less than a year through improved efficiency and power usage due to less drying time required.
What can you do to maintain your dryer efficiency and safety?
- Along with your regular HVAC maintenance service and inspections, include a semi-annual dryer vent cleaning to reduce the risk of fire, gas leaks and to keep your appliance operating efficiently.
- Cramming or storing items behind or around the dryer will limit airflow.
- Rather than using dryer sheets which release additional particles, use liquid fabric softener instead.
- Instead of overloading your dryer, when possible hang heavy items such as towels, bedding and large articles of clothing on an outside line to dry, or take them to a commercial dryer.
- Limit drying cycles to 30 – 40 minutes per batch, allowing more circulation within the dryer.
- Clean your dryer lint trap after every use – without fail.
Commercial/Business dryers require maintenance to prevent hazards.
Think of the liability, loss, and expenses involved if a fire were to occur in your place of business! Hotels, cleaning establishments, apartment complexes, multiple housing units, all need to be highly aware of the hazards presented by clogged dryer ducts and venting. The sheer volume of usage with these machines dictates frequent inspections and cleanings. Not only is maintenance important to prevent hazards, but a dirty duct system can…
- Make the dryer work harder to get the task done, causing wear and tear and early replacement costs.
- Increase energy consumption.
- Cause failure of the dryer components.
- Result in business downtime.
ABEL Heating & Cooling can do the job!
Where do you typically turn to get your dryer vent inspected and maintained? Often folks will call their dryer manufacturer or appliance store. These will likely recommend contacting a qualified expert, such as ABEL.
This is one of the services we are happy to provide for your home or commercial laundry system.
Call 952-472-2665 or contact us here.