Long gone are the days of hanging your laundry outside to dry, but with technology comes responsibility. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 17,000 clothes dryer fires are reported each year and the leading cause of these clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them. Unfortunately cleaning the lint trap is not enough to keep your dryer performing optimally. This YouTube video will show you our process in action. https://youtu.be/qTG81PMM4-8
Why my dryer and not some other appliance, you ask? Anytime you mix heat and a combustible material, you create a fire risk. Lint, dust and fibers collect in the dryer vent system and if the dryer overheats, you’ve got yourself some flames. When the dryer vent is clogged the heat can build up and cause the lint to ignite. Dryers are designed to transport heat. When the heat has nowhere to go, there is a serious fire risk. On more than one occasion, we have found ashes in a dryer vent. In these cases, there was an actual fire in the vent which had burned itself out. The trick to avoid this is keeping your ducts as free from debris as possible. This increases space for airflow and limits the material that could catch fire.
Most dryers have a safety switch that will shut the heat off when a dryer vent is restricted. If your dryer turns on but does not heat up, there is a high likelihood that the vent is clogged. Once you have the dryer vent cleaned you may try resetting the reset button.
The modern convenience of a clothes dryer may seem routine, but their maintenance needs to be routine as well. The good news is that these fires are preventable and a few simple steps can help keep you safe.
Signs that your dryer vent needs cleaning:
- Clothes are taking longer than usual to dry
- Dryer is not heating up. This is due to a safety mechanism as noted above
- Dryer is hot to the touch when operating
- Excess lint is visible at the outlet of the vent
- Dryer has not been cleaned in two or more years
Checklist to maintain your dryer vents:
- Clean your lint trap after every load. Not monthly or weekly, but every single time it’s been in use. The lint trap is not a foolproof method for catching all the lint. It can gradually build up and catch fire in the heating element or exhaust duct so further cleaning is occasionally needed. This is especially true for pet owners who may have an excess of animal hair that collects in the ducts.
- Detach the duct work from behind your dryer and inspect/ clean the dryer and ducting. We like using the Webster dusters and a vacuum with the hose attachment.
- Inspect the dryer vent hood flap on the exterior of your home to check for blockages or debris.
- Newer dryers are equipped with an airflow sensor that will alert you when you’ve accumulated build up in the ducts. This doesn’t solve the problem of needing the ducts cleaned but it does help lower your risk of excessive debris. This means it’s time to call us!
- Have a professional clean your dryer vents at least every two years. Regular cleaning and maintenance will not only help prevent dryer fires, but will also extend the life of your dryer.
Having dryer issues now? If your clothing doesn’t dry after a normal drying cycle, the drop in performance could be caused by a blockage in the dryer’s ductwork. Sometimes a blockage occurs because the venting system itself is damaged. Other times, blockages occur because of an accumulation of lint or obstacles in the vents (maybe we will find that missing sock!). If clothes seem unusually hot to the touch or excessive heat is noticed in the area in which the washer and dryer are operated, you definitely need to take action. In our experience, nine times out of ten you don’t need a dryer repair service, you need duct cleaning. In an effort to save you time and money calling a repair service, try the steps above first.
How can we help? A team effort in dryer maintenance is vital. Your intermittent cleaning is important, but a professional duct cleaning with specialized equipment every two years will provide the most thorough result. When we clean dryer vents we evaluate the dryer vent with a line-fed camera to determine exactly what’s in the dryer vent. Then we remove any lint and debris that blocks the vent using a powerful vacuum. We take care of moving the dryer and surrounding equipment and leave the area cleaner than we found it. We also provide duct repairs when necessary. We want to help keep our customers safe and help them save. If you have any questions, we’re here to help!