Clothing dryer vents, just like any other appliance vents, requires regular, professional cleaning to keep your appliance running safely and efficiently. When clothing dryer vents become clogged with lint, obstructed by outside debris or damaged, they can pose a serious fire hazard in your home. Clogged dryer vents can cause the appliances heating element to overheat and catch fire. If you have a gas clothing dryer, clogged dryer vents can lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in your home. At the very least, clogged dryer vents can cause your machine to work inefficiently, costing you time and money every time you dry a load of laundry.
How To Avoid Dryer Vent Buildup
To avoid the dangers of clogged clothing dryer vents and to keep your clothing dryer running efficiently, it’s recommended that you have your dryer vents cleaned and inspected by a professional at least once per year. If you do a higher than normal amount of laundry in your home, you might even need to have your dryer vents cleaned more frequently. To determine whether it’s time to have your dryer vents cleaned and inspected, look for these signs that your clothing dryer vents are clogged:
• Drying time is longer than normal. The first sign that dryer vents are becoming clogged is that loads of laundry will begin taking longer to dry. Generally speaking, a load of clothing should not take more than 35 to 40 minutes, or one dryer cycle, to dry completely.
• Clothes smell musty when they come out of the dryer. Because clothes aren’t drying as quickly as they should be, your clothes might come out of the dryer with a musty smell when dryer vents are clogged.
• A burning smell. If your dryer vents are clogged, your laundry room might become filled with a burning smell when the dryer is running.
• Excessive heat. Because your dryer is working over time to dry clothes when dryer vents are clogged, you might notice an increase in heat in and around your dryer. The dryer itself might become very hot to the touch when it’s running, the laundry room might heat up noticeably when the dryer is running or clothes might come out of the dryer feeling abnormally hot to the touch.
• A strong smell of dryer sheets. Clogged dryer vents meant the air doesn’t exhaust from your dryer as it should. Because the air is trapped in the dryer, you might notice a very strong smell of fabric softer in the laundry room or in your clothes.
• A buildup of lint in and around the dryer. When dryer vents are clogged, lint that’s newly generated by your clothes and linens has nowhere to go. As a result, when dryer vents are clogged, you might notice a buildup of lint around your dryer’s lint trap, on the floor behind your dryer when the dryer vent attaches or outside your home underneath your dryer’s exhaust vent.
If you notice any of these signs that your dryer vents are clogged, don’t wait to have your dryer vents cleaned — You have a serious fire hazard in your home! Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule a dryer vent cleaning and inspection to restore your dryer’s safety and efficiency.
Fall means cozy fires in the fireplace, but it also means an uptick in home fires. As hearth professionals, we at A to Z Chimney Services take it upon ourselves to educate our customers on fire safety. That’s why we’re taking the time to recognize National Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 8 through 14 and aims to educate Americans on how to reduce the risk of home fires and on what to do in the event of a fire.
Fire Prevention Tips
There are quite a few things you can do in your home to lower your risk of a fire. They include:
• Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected at least once per year. A chimney sweeping ensures that your fireplace is free from flammable creosote or other debris, and in good repair.
• Creating a 3-foot safe zone around your fireplace and other heating appliances. Keep that zone clear of papers, décor and furnishings that could catch fire.
• Using a fireplace screen or fireplace doors. Keep embers and shifting logs from popping out of your fireplace by using a fireplace screen or ceramic fireplace doors.
• Monitoring fire hazards. Never allow candles, fireplaces, portable heaters or stoves to burn unattended.
• Cleaning your clothing dryer vents. Clothing dryer vents are another hidden fire hazard in your home. The lint that builds up can cause your dryer to overheat and ignite. Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned at least once per year to lower your risk.
• Educating children about fire safety. Curious children play with candles and matches or get too close to fireplaces. Make sure that you educate the children in your home about fire dangers, and keep all potential fire hazards well out of the reach of small children.
Fire Safety Tips
Even while exercising fire prevention, there still is the possibility that a fire will occur. Make sure you’re observing fire safety tips so you and your family are prepared in case a fire strikes:
• Equip your home with smoke detectors. You should have smoke detectors on every level of your home and in all sleeping areas. Make sure you check the batteries on your smoke detectors regularly to ensure they’re working.
• Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. You should have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. The fire extinguisher should be kept in an area that’s easily accessible.
• Have an emergency escape plan. You should have an emergency escape plan for your home that includes at least two exit strategies. Make sure that everyone in your home is aware of the escape plan and your meeting point in case of a fire.
Here are some additional fire safety tips by Alarms.org
At A to Z Chimney Services & Dryer Vent Cleaning, we take our role in our client’s fire prevention strategies seriously. Call to schedule your appointment — or to ask about reducing your home’s risk of a fire with chimney or dryer vent cleaning services — today!
Perhaps nothing scares homeowners more than the thought of a home fire. A home fire can cause thousands in property loss, destroy precious family treasures and threaten the safety of your family. To reduce your risk of a home fire, have your clothing dryer vents professionally cleaned.
Dryer vent fires by the numbers
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), washers and dryers were responsible for an estimated 16,800 structure fires in the United States in 2010 alone. Those fires resulted in 380 injuries, 51 deaths and $236 million in property damage. The NFPA lists dirty dryer vents as the leading cause of dryer vent fires, as 32 percent of dryer fires were caused by dirty dryer vents. With that in mind, it is recommended that dryer vents be cleaned by a professional dryer vent technician at least once per year — more often for dryers that see high volumes of laundry.
Dryer vent cleaning is particularly important in newer homes that have dryers located in interior rooms of the home. Where older homes often have short dryer vents that exit through exterior walls, newer homes with laundry rooms in bathrooms, mudrooms and closets often have long, twisting dryer vents that are more prone to clogs and more likely to catch fires.
How dryer vent cleaning works
When we clean your dryers, the technicians from A to Z Chimney Services and Dryer Vent Cleaning use our rotating brushes to loosen and release the lint from your dryer vents and a high-powered vacuum to cleanly pull any of that lint out. We also will inspect your dryer vent to ensure that it is the metal recommended by the NFPA, and to ensure that the vent is properly sized, properly installed and free from any damage or defects.
Additional dryer fire prevention
In addition to annual dryer vent cleaning and inspection, there are some steps you can take to help lower your home’s risk of a clothing dryer fire. First and foremost, clean your dryer’s lint screen in between each load of laundry, and never run the dryer without the lint screen in place. Periodically pull out the dryer and clean behind it, as lint can find its way out of the vent and build up behind the dryer. Also perform regular checks of the exterior dryer vent: Make sure that it isn’t being intruded upon by vegetation and verify that the flap on the vent’s exterior opens and closes when the dryer is in use. Finally, be on the lookout for the warning signs that your dryer vents are clogged. Those signs include longer than normal drying times, clothes that feel excessively hot when they are removed from the dryer, high temperatures building up within the laundry room when the dryer is running and a burning or moldy smell in your laundry room.
To reduce your risk of a dryer vent fire that could damage your home and put your family at risk, call A to Z to schedule your dryer vent cleaning today!