You may already understand that it’s important to keep your dryer vent clean, but do you know why? Due to widespread misinformation that’s been circulated for many years, a common misperception of a clean dryer vent means having a clean lint screen inside the dryer. This misunderstanding alone is a contributing factor of the cause of some dryer fires. While it’s essential to clean the dryer lint screen, it’s more important to keep the dryer vent leading from the dryer to the outdoors clean at all times. To fully understand this often overlooked home safety tip, let’s take a look at how serious a clogged dryer vent can be.
A home clothes dryer needs a clear, 4” diameter vent to properly vent the hot air from your dryer to the outdoors. It’s not OK to have a partially restricted vent. A partial restriction eventually develops into a total blockage. It’s a slow process, so it goes unnoticed until disaster strikes, such as a fire in the dryer itself, in the vent, or both. A dryer fire contained to only the dryer usually causes catastrophic damage to the internal components, rendering the dryer useless and likely beyond repair. This type of fire, should it happen, suddenly becomes a major wakeup call for the homeowner because a possible house fire was avoided. In the case of a dryer vent fire, there is a high likelihood the house is also involved. This type of fire is the scariest because as fire needs oxygen to survive, the fire will draw the oxygen it needs from the dryer vent, and the flames will grow as they climb up or along the wall to the end of the vent, igniting everything else along the way.
Signs of a blocked or restricted dryer vent
Any time you notice that your drying times are increasing, first make sure to always clean the lint screen after or before each load. Another telltale sign of a blocked or restricted vent is the pattern of lint on the lint screen after a load is finished. A properly vented dryer’s lint screen will show an even pattern of lint. Anything less than that is an indication of a problem. If streaks or patches of lint are present, it’s time to have the vent cleaned as soon as possible.
Taking steps to prevent a dryer fire is an important household task that should be performed on a regular basis without fail. Houston dryer vent cleaning services are fully qualified to properly perform this much needed service. Typically, a good rule of thumb is to have your vent cleaned at least once or twice a year. Just like it is suggested to change your smoke detector batteries at each daylight savings time interval, it’s a great idea to add dryer vent cleaning to that schedule, too. Trust your dryer vent cleaning to professionals who have the proper equipment, knowledge, and skill to completely clean your vent. Yes, it’s that important.
Types of vent
Your local hardware store or department store stocks dryer vent, but be wary about what type of vent you purchase. For many years up until approximately 2008, plastic vent was used extensively. Plastic vent is flammable and should never be used under any circumstances. Foil vent is not much better than plastic, so it should be avoided, also. Only metal vent that is specifically designed for electric and gas dryers should be used.
So far, our discussion relates to the importance of having your dryer vent cleaned on a regular basis. Besides the peace of mind of knowing that your vent is clean, what other benefits are there? The answer is plenty.
- Lower energy costs. This one benefit alone will help pay for the dryer vent cleaning. When your dryer is running efficiently with proper air flow, your dry times will be as short as possible, so your dryer doesn’t run as much.
- Your dryer will require less service. Your dryer should have a preventative maintenance (PM) check at least annually. A leading cause of dryer problems are directly related to not having the vent cleaned regularly, but a clean dryer runs more efficiently.
- Cleaner and better smelling clothes. A dryer running at peak efficiency will produce properly dried clothes that aren’t subjected to excess lint, thereby making them smell better and feel softer to the touch.
- Longer dryer life cycle. Your dryer will likely last longer than average due to its cleanliness and proper maintenance. Too often, dryers suffer major problems due to heat related issues, again, directly related to excessive lint inside the machine.
- Peace of mind. Perhaps the most important benefit of a clean dryer vent is your peace of mind. You see, preventing dryer fires is easy to do as long as you keep to your annual or semi-annual cleaning schedule.
This article puts into perspective the importance of keeping your dryer vent clean and the possible dangers involved if it’s neglected. Also, the savings that are possible by maintaining your dryer, including keeping your dryer vent clean at all times, are realized by sticking to a cleaning schedule with service provided by a Houston dryer vent cleaning company, and maintaining the venting system at maximum efficiency.