Dryer vent fires are now the number one cause of all home fires in the U.S., surpassing chimney fires. Dryer vents are one of those things that are out of sight, out of mind, that you can’t afford to ignore. When you realize that the lint trap in a dryer (even a new one) only removes or stops 80% of the lint, you can see the importance of cleaning your exhaust system once a year.
Dryer lint is highly flammable and, under the right conditions, can cause a dryer fire, which often spreads through the ventilation system, which in turn spreads the fire quickly throughout the home. As a dryer does its job, approximately 1/2 pound of water is removed, the lint trap traps the lint, and air passes through the dryer exhaust system. Over time, this excess lint accumulates in your dryer and in the ventilation or exhaust system. Airflow is restricted, the dryer works harder, and the motor overheats. With excessive lint buildup, your dryer is now a perfect candidate for a dryer fire.
Dryer Inspection and Safety Tips
1. Make sure your lint trap is tear-free and clean before each drying cycle. If lint is wet in the lint trap, it could mean it’s time to clean your dryer vents. Also, the lint filter should be lightly scrubbed each week and washed with a mild dish soap.
2. Visually inspect your outdoor vent hood on the side of your home when the dryer is running. Do the fins move? Can you feel any air flow? If not, it’s time to clean the dryer exhaust system and have it inspected.
3. Check around your dryer for lint on the floor. This is a warning sign that your dryer exhaust system needs cleaning.
4. If your clothes take more than one cycle to dry, this could be a sign that the dryer exhaust system needs to be cleaned immediately.
5. Never dry clothes or rags soaked with flammable materials. It can cause an explosive situation in your tumble dryer.
Dryer Vent Cleaning Recommendations
There are a few products available online that you can use to clean your vents, such as rod brushes that can be attached to a high-powered drill vent hood repair . Most of these products are inferior and do a less than satisfactory job for dryer vents longer than 10 ‘. It is important that you call a professional when cleaning your dryer vents due to the different situations that can and will be encountered. Some of these conditions are incorrect types of vents, loose or disconnected vents, or vents with too many angles and curves. A dryer vent cleaning professional generally has different types of cleaning equipment depending on the situation. It is important that you ask your dryer ventilation professional if they will perform on-site repairs or upgrades, as approximately 50% of the jobs found will need something of this nature.
Dryer Vent Repairs
Some of the repairs that may be necessary may include: rerunning or changing the job of the dryer vent exhaust, adding or changing a vent hood that exits the building site, going to the attic or crawl space to making repairs, cleaning from the top of the ceiling starting from where the duct exits to the dryer, and even ripping the wall or ceiling to repair a vent that has come loose. If you are not a skilled person who can do all of the above-mentioned repair items, leave it to a professional in dryer ventilation.
Remember, to prevent fires in the dryer vents in your home, clean the dryer exhaust system once a year. If you live in a condo complex, make sure the property manager knows the importance of maintaining the dryer vents. Apartment owners should also make cleaning the dryer vents in their units a priority.
DryerVent911.com serves the following Snohomish County Washington cities and is available for repairs, cleaning, alterations, and inquiries:
Arlington, Ballard, Bellevue, Bothell, Darrington, Duvall, Edmonds, Everett, Granite Falls, Index, Juanita, Kirkland, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Muk