Dryer Vent Cleaning to Prevent Dryer Fires
Proper Dryer Vent Installation is Important
Dryer fires are more likely to occur in a poorly installed dryer vent system made of flexible foil, plastic or vinyl. This is because these types of dryer ducts sag and allow lint to build up at low points. Ridges can also trap lint. Metal ducts are much safer because they don’t sag so lint is less likely to accumulate. Metal ducts are also more likely to contain a fire should one occur.
Even the very best, state of the art dryer vent system requires regular cleaning to remove lint build-up and promote maximum air flow. It is highly recommended that you have a professional perform a dryer vent inspection and cleaning every year.
The Anatomy of a Dryer Fire
Dryer fires typically start under the dryer when the motor overheats. Overheating is caused by a build-up of lint in the dryer vent system, blocking air-flow. If your dryer should throw a spark and ignite the lint, the draft from the dryer will draw the fire into the duct where more flammable lint provides fuel for a rapidly spreading home fire.
Other causes of dryer fires include failure of the thermostat or limit switches, lint inside the dryer chassis, a missing, clogged or damaged lint screen, a crushed hose behind the dryer, or a bird’s nest or other debris in the vent.
More Problems with Poor Dryer Venting
With gas dryers carbon monoxide can also be an issue. Your dryer vent is responsible for removing gas by-products from your home, including carbon monoxide. The fumes are colorless and odorless and they can be fatal. Low-level symptoms mimic flu symptoms, causing headache, weakness, nausea, disorientation and deep fatigue. Higher levels cause occupants to fall asleep, lapse into a coma and die.
Warning Signs to Watch for
- Increased drying time – No, this does not mean you dryer is wearing out!
- Clothes very hot to the touch at the end of the cycle
- Outdoor flapper on vent hood does not open when dryer is running
- Little or no airflow in the vent
The many Benefits of Dryer Vent Cleaning:
- Dryer vent cleaning eliminates home and health threats
- Dryer vent cleaning prevents dryer fires
- Dryer vent cleaning increases efficiency; reduces energy bills
- Dryer vent cleaning extends the life of your clothes dryer
- Dryer vent cleaning prevents premature break-down resulting in expensive repair bills
- Dryer vent cleaning improves air quality in your home, preventing mold and mildew damage and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Dryer vent cleaning helps preserve clothing with faster drying time
Dryer vent cleaning is recommended annually; it is the only solution to poor venting caused by lint build-up in the system. In some cases, dryer vent cleaning may need to be done more often. Determining factors include:
How heavily the dryer is used
How long the vent is – shorter vents work more efficiently
Angles and venting materials used – solid metal is most efficient
Dryer vent design – turns and elbows reduce air-flow and trap more lint.