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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

Truth About Dirty or Neglected Dryer Vents

Your dryer saves you a lot of time and effort, and it works hard with each loads of laundry. People don’t often associate their clothes dryer being a potential safety hazard. However, similar to your chimney and fireplace, your dryer ventilation also needs annual inspection to keep your home safe. In Fact, a report done by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) states that there are nearly 3,000 dryer fires every year. They are causing on average about 100 injuries, 5 deaths, and nearly 35 million dollars in property loss.

The most frustrating thing about this statistic is that one-third of these fires could be prevented by taking simple, preventative measures. At Old Smokey’s, we take fire safety seriously. That’s why we offer professional dryer vent cleaning to protect you!

The Dirty Truth

When you use your dryer, warm air is produced to aid in drying your clothing. This warm air is pushed through your clothes and out of the back of your dryer through a ventilation outlet as exhaust. Attached to the ventilation outlet is a duct that guides exhaust outside of your home. Through the drying process, lint is also created. Most of this lint is caught by your dryer’s lint trap. However, some lint can makes it past the lint trap and get caught in your dyer’s ventilation. Over time, the lint accumulate in your ventilation can get clogged. Once your vent is clogged, excess heat and gases can’t escape your dyer, which can cause it to overheat and catch fire. Although clogs formed by lint are common, your ventilation can also get clogs from debris and animal nesting.

A clogged dryer vent can also cause carbon monoxide gas to leak into your home. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas created by burning natural gas. It can lead to a number of health issues including lethargy, headaches, passing out, and even death. Another, less serious issue caused by clogged dryer vents is decreased efficiency of your dryer. If your clothes aren’t drying as well as they usually do, it is an indicator that you have a ventilation issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Get your vents checked!

If it’s been a while since you’ve had your dryer vents checked, or your dryer isn’t working as well as it used to, you need to get a dryer vent inspection or cleaning. In fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggests getting an annual inspection. Call Old Smokey’s at 260-424-0009 or schedule an appointment online today!

What You Need to Know About Chimney Fire

Because of their increased heating efficiency, many people have switched to using fireplaces, inserts, or stoves to supplement their homes heating needs. However, if these heating systems are not well maintained, they have the potential to turn into a fire hazard. Whatever type of appliance you operate, if your chimney isn’t being swept regularly, there is potential for a chimney fire. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), more than 20,000 residential house fires every year can be traced back to the chimney. One of the most unfortunate things about this statistic is that most of these fires could have been prevented with some maintenance and upkeep. At Old Smokey’s we want to raise awareness about chimney fires and help you understand how you can protect your home from them.

Chimney Fires 

Burning any type of fuel releases smoke, soot and gas byproducts, but wood tends to release more of that then other fuel sources such as natural gas. As these byproducts go up your chimney, they start to cool down and condenses on the inside of your chimney. This condensation will start to accumulate, forming a thick, black, tar-like substance called creosote. If enough creosote builds up, it can combust at high temperatures, creating a chimney fire that is nearly impossible to extinguish. As little as a ⅛ inch of creosote buildup is considered hazardous. Although you’ll always produce creosote when you burn fuel, you can reduce the number of byproducts produced in your fire by burning seasoned wood and maintaining hot fires.

Although natural gas doesn’t produce much creosote, there are other things that can cause a chimney fire. Debris from trees, animal nests and anything else that may have fallen or blown into your chimney can also be a fire hazard. This type of debris is usually made up of wood and leaves, meaning it can combust at lower temperatures than creosote and once it ignites, it can get hot enough to start the creosote in your chimney on fire as well. 

Inspections

The most important thing you can do to decrease your chimney fire risk is to have it inspected once a year by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep. Annual inspections are critical for making sure that your chimney and fireplace is operating properly. During an inspection a chimney sweep will make sure there is no damage to your chimney and fireplace, checking all the components of your chimney system (chimney cap, chimney crown, flashing, etc.) as well. They will also make sure that there are no clogs in your chimney and that there isn’t much creosote build up. If there is, it will need to be swept clean.

If you haven’t had your chimney inspected in a while, your chimney may be a fire hazard. We are now taking appointments for spring cleaning, so call us at 800-876-6539 or 260-424-0009 or reach us online to set up an inspection with one of our chimney sweeps. We look forward to serving you!

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