Dryer Vent Cleaning
Can Dryer Vent Cleaning Prevent a House Fire?
If you have a fireplace, you probably have an awareness of the importance of preventing house fires with annual inspections. But did you know that a clothes dryer is also a potential fire hazard? In fact, in the United States, thousands of fires are caused by clothes dryers every year. Approximately 15 people are killed and another 400 injured annually in fires started by dryers, according to the United States Fire Administration. An annual dryer vent cleaning and inspection is a safety measure that definitely can prevent a house fire.
An estimated 3,000 residential fires are caused by clothes dryers annually. The following are a couple of examples of recent fires:
- Three families were displaced from an apartment complex in Ansonia, Connecticut, last year because an overheated dryer caught fire.
- A dryer fire occurred in the basement of the South Carolina Governor’s mansion in May of 2013. The Columbia Fire Department responded to the 9-1-1 call made by an officer with the S.C. Bureau of Protective Services who was patrolling the area and noticed smoke coming out of the basement. Governor Nikki Haley, her two children, and the staff had to evacuate the mansion; no one was injured. A spokesperson for the fire department said the smoke was caused by towels overheating in a clothes dryer.
The hazards of a clothes dryer are primarily linked to venting. It is dangerous when debris and lint build up in a dryer vent to the point that the clogged vent causes the dryer to heat up more than the appliance can withstand. With clothes dryers fueled by gas, there is an added hazard; a clogged dryer vent on a gas appliance can cause deadly carbon monoxide to be released into the home.
Another component that can contribute to a hazardous dryer vent is home design. Modern homes often place the laundry room where the vent cannot go directly to an outside wall. Dryer ducts can be as long as 25 feet, and the additional length creates a greater potential for animals to live in the ducts and block the exhaust system. With the more complicated venting that is typical today, exhaust vent inspections are more crucial than ever.
When the vent for a clothes dryer becomes clogged, the appliance cannot run
efficiently. The dryer’s lifespan will be decreased because it will run at higher temperatures than it designed to. Most importantly, the safety controls can become overworked or the heating element could burn out, both of which can cause a fire to ignite.
The proven way to best prevent clothes dryer fires in residential buildings is to clean the exhaust ducts regularly. Many people fail to take this safety measure because they are unaware of the potential dangers associated with clogged dryer vents and ducts.
There are certain signs that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned and inspected, including the following:
- After a load of clothes has gone through a complete drying cycle, the clothes are still damp.
- When in use, the clothes dryer feels hotter than usual.
- There is a spike in your utility bill.
- The back of your dryer or the vent leading outside has a layer of lint.
- The outside dryer vent is not blowing at least one foot out from the house.
Contact our professional technicians if there are any signs that your dryer venting is clogged or if it’s time for your annual inspection and cleaning. It’s essential to hire trained professionals, since a clean vent can help prevent a house fire. In addition, when your dryer is properly maintained, the wear on the appliance will be decreased and its efficiency will be increased.
Chimney Solutions, Inc. 1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004 Office 770-771-5501