With things like carpools, soccer practices, and other family-related activities with which to contend, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some things, often through no fault of our own, take a back seat to everything else that’s going on. One thing that is commonly overlooked by homeowners is the proper maintenance and cleaning of dryer vents. People may think that cleaning these vents isn’t all that important. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Excessive lint build up occurs slowly and gradually. You don’t even realize it’s happening. Your dryer vent is one of those forgotten vents in your home that either runs to the roof or through an outer wall to the outside of your home. You think that by cleaning out the lint filter after each load of laundry you are doing your job and maintaining the dryer. To borrow Al Borland’s catch phrase – “I don’t think so, Tim.” What many homeowners don’t realize is the potential fire hazard they’re creating if they don’t have their dryer vent cleaned annually.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a safety alert on clothes dryer fires, offering several important tips for preventing dryer fires, including dryer vent and dryer duct cleaning:
- Clean your lint trap before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the lint trap or the exhaust duct is blocked.
- Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it’s not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked.
- Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.
- Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
A professional dryer vent cleaning will help to reduce excess household dust and humidity as well as preserve clothing, as the life of many fabrics can be damaged by high temperatures. The cleaning will also allow your dryer to operate more efficiently by using less energy, thereby saving you money.
Clogged dryer vents are the cause of almost 16,000 house fires each year. A partially obstructed vent filled with lint can cause increased drying times and waste energy while a blocked vent may result in fire. Do any of the following apply to you: your clothes are still damp after a full drying cycle, there is excessive heat buildup in your laundry room/area, or you use your dryer often. If so, let the pros at Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney help! Call us today or schedule an appointment online.