Dryer Vent Fires – More Common Than You Think
Did you know that failing to clean and maintain dryer vents may account for thousands of annual house fires?
Dryer vent fires are more common than you think and have resulted in millions of dollars of property damage, injuries, and the occasional death.
We don’t mean to scare you but stress the importance of dryer vent cleaning to keep you and your family safe at home. For a comprehensive guide to home appliance safety and how to tell when it’s time to have your dryer vents cleaned, read on.
What Causes Dryer Vent Fires?
Like a chimney fire, a dryer vent fire is typically due to a lack of maintenance, proper airflow, and cleaning. When debris from day-to-day use accumulates in the machine, the heat can ignite the excess lint.
The three most common culprits of a dryer vent fire are:
- Damaged hoses
- Animal nests
Lint is the main culprit for dryer vent fires. This happens when it makes its way into the heating unit. Because it is highly flammable, lint is ideal kindling for accidental fires.
Damaged hoses can occur by accidentally pushing the appliance too far back into its space. This results in a blowback of lint and re-circulating air.
Finally, animals seeking a dry, warm place to live often decide to stake a claim in the external venting. A clogged duct will result in a buildup with lint. The dangerous cycle continues.
When Should You Clean Your Dryer Vent?
If you are noticing any of the following signs, it’s time to take a second look at the condition of your dryer vent:
- Your clothing isn’t drying in one cycle
- Your clothes smell burnt and musty after drying
- The room the dryer is in noticeably increases in temperature
- There is visible debris in the dryer vent
- You are paying more than usual on your energy bill
- There’s more lint in the lint trap than usual
- Your clothes feel hot (not just warm) after drying
- There is a burning smell in your laundry room
- Used dryer sheets smell burnt or musty
- The dryer feels hot when it’s running
In the event of these deficiencies, give a professional team a call. It’s not worth the risk.
Dryer Vent Maintenance
The dryer vent cleaning process can be twofold–following through with daily maintenance and getting a professional to perform a deep-clean once a year.
Wondering how to clean a dryer vent? Your responsibilities are simple:
- Check for animal or insect nests blocking the vent
- Check the lint filter in your dryer before and after running a load
- Make sure the dryer is plugged in properly
- Check the vent pipe for lint
Once the professionals are on-site, they will remove the outside dryer covering. A vacuum is inserted into the opening, while a snake brush is used to clear any blockages. Because the corners and edges of the piping are too hard to reach for a typical homeowner, these tools will ensure the entire pathway is clear of debris.
If necessary, they might perform a diagnostic test to make sure everything is working efficiently and undamaged.
A professional will also make sure that the gas line is connected properly and free of deadly leaks.
What to Avoid
During day-to-day use, there are some behaviors you should minimize or avoid to prevent dryer vent fires:
- Don’t put too many clothes in the dryer
- Don’t run your dryer without a lint filter installed
- Don’t run your dryer if the lint filter is loose or broken
- Don’t dry glass fiber material, foam, rubber, or plastic
- Don’t dry items that have come into contact with alcohol, gasoline, or any cooking oil
- Follow all manufacturer instructions
Finally, we highly recommend avoiding drying your laundry during the night or when you’re away from your home. While this may be slightly inconvenient, it is a small price to pay to avoid being surprised by a freak fire disaster.
More Reasons to Clean Your Dryer Vent
Keeping your dryer vents clear of debris will do more than protect your household. It’s actually a practical way to take care of your appliance and keep it working as efficiently as possible.
Minimize Dry Time
A dryer free of lint and debris is a dryer that can efficiently do its job. Nobody wants to have to run their clothing for multiple cycles! When the hot air is not reaching your items, it quickly becomes a waste of time and energy.
Lower Utility Bills
A dryer that is unable to run efficiently will demand additional heat to complete the job. As your electricity bill skyrockets to compensate for the energy used to power the appliance, you might think twice about ignoring the recommended maintenance.
A clear dryer vent will effectively keep your appliance and home free of moisture. If lint finds wet portions of the exhaust tube, mold can begin to grow and thrive.
This, as we know, is an invitation for an unhealthy home disaster.
Protect Your Investment
The average dryer costs a homeowner over $1,000. Properly caring for your investment will ensure that it will run efficiently for years.
Get the Help You Need
While this may seem like an unlikely tragedy, dryer vent fires are serious and highly possible if you do not take the proper precautions. Don’t let your household become another disaster statistic.
While dryer maintenance should be a consideration each time, you dry a load of laundry, annual servicing by a professional is highly recommended.
We are experienced in the task of annual dryer vent cleaning. Keep debris from building up and impacting your most prized possessions. Get in touch today, and request a quote through our convenient form.