It’s a shocking fact that as many as 17,000 home dryer fires are reported in the U.S. every single year, and in some instances, the fires have even gone on to cause deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property loss. Want to know what’s responsible for almost a third of all dryer fires? Dirty dryer vents.
Many families use their dryers every day, and don’t always think to check the vents for a build-up of dirt and lint. However, failure to do so could mean that your clothes take longer to dry, which leads to higher energy bills as you run damp clothes through another cycle, and could even cause a potentially catastrophic dryer fire.
What is the primary cause of dirty dryer vents?
Lint is usually the main culprit, and because we’re drying clothes, this is pretty hard to avoid. While lint may be unavoidable, however, we can check the vents regularly and clean them as and when required.
Some vents may benefit from being professionally cleaned, and many families find this to be the most convenient and cost-effective way to keep their dryer vents clean and functioning at their best.
How can you tell if your dryer vents need to be cleaned?
Here are some of the most common consequences of dirty dryer vents, and what to look out for when trying to determine whether your vents are in need of a thorough clean:
- A musty odor that lingers on the clothes after the drying cycle is complete
- Clothes are unusually hot to the touch
- The room hosting the dryer feels excessively hot after each use
- The dryer vent hood flap doesn’t open properly when you use the dryer
- Debris inside the exterior dryer vent opening
- Large amounts of lint built up in the lint trap during each use
- Dryer sheets smell funny after each use
What can you do to prevent a dryer fire in your home?
The best steps to take to ensure that your dryer never causes a fire, is to have your dryer professionally installed, professionally cleaned on a regular basis (depending upon how often you use your dryer) and professionally maintained by a company who specialize in dryer vent cleaning.
You can also do the following to keep your dryer vents free from dirt:
- Clean the dryer lint before and after every cycle
- Clean the filter with a nylon brush at least bi-annually
- Clean the lint from the vent pipe every 3 months
- Carry out a visual check for damage on the venting system behind the dryer
- Place a cover on exterior wall dampers to keep the elements out
- Make sure the exterior vent cover opens when the dryer is in use
Dryer vent fires can be devastating, but with regular cleaning and maintenance – ideally from a professional dryer vent cleaning company – you can make sure your clothes get dry efficiently, and more importantly, that your home, its contents and anyone inside it, are kept safe at all times.