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At Superior Co-Op HVAC we know the dangers of ignoring your dryer vent and letting the lint build up over time. We cannot tell you how very important cleaning your dryer vent is. This is something that should be done at least twice a year! But, many people ask why it is so important. Well, this week we set out to answer this question as well as being able to give you even more food for thought.
The Dangers of Clogged Dryer Vents
As a homeowner, you rely on heavily on this work horse of an appliance called your dryer. However, did you know that you may be guilty of letting it become a major fire hazard if you are not cleaning it regularly?! According to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, clothes dryers are responsible for 15,600 structure fires around the country each year. Now that is a scary statistic! Did you know that 80% of those fires are started by clogged dryer vents and also result in 15 deaths and about 400 injuries on average annually. Additionally, thousands of other home occupants have been treated for symptoms of of poisonous gas fumes that back up into the home due to blocked dryer vents.
Most people think that simply cleaning the lint trap everytime they put a load of laundry into the dryer is all that needs to be done. While this is good practice and we are NOT saying that you shouldn’t do this, it is not enough to prevent a fire from sparking in the dryer vent. To start keeping your dryer efficient and safe you must first replace any vinyl or plastic flexible transition ducts between the dryer and the main vent with a semi-rigid metal transition duct. Why, you may be asking? Well, the plastic and vinyl transition ducts can catch fire. However, the semi-rigid metal ducts will not.
Something that you may not often think of is checking the dryer vent pipe that is connected to the outside of your wall, is free of birds’ nests, bushes or other debris that accumulates over time. Look, it happens, life gets the best of you and you forget to look in that one place on the outside of your home.
Another good thing to keep in mind is that if your dryer vent system cannot exhaust properly, it will overheat and threaten your home, you health and ultimately, your safety. While it is true that you can clean your dryer duct yourself, if you are not sure what to look for then you will need the help of a professional. As a professional HVAC company, we know what to look for as far as keeping you, your home and your family safe but we will also do a quick inspection of your equipment and make you aware of any repairs that are needed or warn you of any potential dangers that we see present.
When Should I Clean My Dryer Vent?
With the buildup of lint and debris in a clothing dryer presenting many dangers to homes and the people living within, there are ways to prevent this hazard from presenting itself. There are some signs that a homeowner may notice when a dryer vent is blocked and needs to be cleaned. These signs include:
- Clothing that does not dry completely after a normal drying cycle.
- Musty odor that is noticeable following a drying cycle.
- Clothing that seems unusually hot to the touch after a drying cycle.
- Dryer vent hood flap that does not properly open as designed during operation of the dryer.
- More than a year has past since the last time your dryer vent was cleaned.
- You notice debris outside the dryer vent opening.
- Drying time for clothing takes longer than 35-40 minutes.
- Excessive heat in the room the dryer is operating in.
- Large amounts of lint are being accumulated in the lint trap during operation.
- Visible sign of lint and debris is noticed around the lint filter of the dryer.
- Excessive odor is noticeable from dryer sheets used in the drying cycle.
Why Do You Need A HVAC Pro to Clean Your Dryer Vents?
This is simply answered by saying that we live HVAC and cleaning of ductwork. We know what it takes to keep things running smoothly. We have the tools and training to clean these vents quickly and efficiently and we know what to look for when we do an inspection of the equipment. We have very specialized equipment that will help to sweep away the accumulated lint and debris and the vacuum that is needed to suck this all out without polluting the air inside your home. Also, it should be noted that we have the equipment to clean the entire length of your dryer vent pipe. This can range from 5 feet to 40 feet, depending on where your dryer is located inside you home. We also know that there are areas of the ventilation that requires a more gentle touch due to the elbows and other bends that can be found in the ducts.
How Can The Homeowner Decrease Dryer Vent Lint and Debris?
It is worth mentioning the U.S. Fire Administration recommends that homeowners have their dryer vents cleaned at least once a year to help reduce lint and debris from building up that can cause the structure fires that we mentioned earlier as well as the gas leaks into the home and larger than normal energy usage costs. However, if you use your dryer more than twice a week on a regular basis, we should discuss adjusting the frequency of cleanings accordingly as this will cause your dryer vent to build up lint and debris a lot more quickly.
This all being said, there are some ways that the homeowner can decrease the amount of debris and lint that will build up within the dryer ventilation.
- Limit the use of dryer sheets when drying your clothing. Residue from dryer sheets can clog your dryer’s lint filter and fabric softners can deposit oils and chemicals on some fabrics that can become flammable in the dryer.
- Only operate the dryer for 30-40 minutes per load of laundry. This allows more air circulation within the dryer and less lint building up.
- Whenever possible, hang dry items such as heavy bedding, pillows and other large articles outside to line dry.
- Perform mini cleaning services on the dryer vent by using a shop vacuum to remove debris around the outside of the dryer vent.
- Utilize the dryer vent cap that is designed for your dryer vent opening. These caps allow debris to exit but prevent birds from nesting in the vent and causing a blockage.
- Use a vacuum to clean out the inside of the dryer and around the lint trap to be able to remove debris and any excessive lint that can get trapped there.
To sum up, this is a valuable service when you take into consideration the health and safety of your family as well as preventing catastrophic structure fires due to build up of dryer lint and debris that often gets trapped in your dryer ventilation. When you contact Superior Co-Op HVAC to conduct this cleaning service, you can always rest assured that you will get a skilled technician to come to your home to perform this task. Is it really worth risking your home and family to continue to ignore this needed service?!
If you are ready to schedule your dryer vent cleaning then be sure to schedule your appointment today!