Your clothing dryer might be the most dangerous item within your home. While much attention is paid to preventing fires with chimney sweeping and inspection, dryer vent cleaning remains largely ignored. Unfortunately, dirty dryer vents can pose major risks to your home and your family.
Dirty dryer vents are a leading fire hazard.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration National Fire Incident Reporting System, clothing dryers cause approximately 2,900 home fires each year. Those fires cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property damage. In 34 percent of cases, dirty dryer vents were to blame in causing the fires. The lint that accumulates within dryers and dryer vents is highly combustible. Each time a load of laundry runs through the dryer, lint bypasses the lint trap and sticks within the walls of the dryer vents. When heat can’t escape beyond the lint blockages, the heat builds up and can ignite the lint or the clothing within the dryer.
Clogged dryer vents can allow carbon monoxide to build up within your home.
Just like the heat from your dryer, carbon monoxide can be blocked by lint clogging your dryer vents. If the carbon dioxide created by your dryer’s combustion can’t exit through the dryer vents, the carbon monoxide backs up into the dryer and into your home. When carbon monoxide levels within a home become too high, they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning in your family or your pets. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to hospitalization, brain damage and even death.
Dirty dryer vents can increase your home energy bills.
When your dryer vents are clogged, your dryer can’t work properly. Clothes take longer to dry, meaning you run dryer cycle after dryer cycle to get your laundry completely dry. All of those extra dryer cycles can drive up your home energy bills.
Lint buildup can shorten the life of your dryer.
Dirty dryer vents inhibit your dryer’s ability to operate correctly. Dirty dryer vents interfere with your dryer’s efficiency and shorten its life expectancy. As was mentioned, dirty dryer vents also can cause your dryer to overheat, burning out your dryer’s mechanical components and causing it to fail.
To reduce your risks of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning from dirty dryer vents, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you have you dryer vents cleaned and inspected each year by a CSIA-certified dryer cleaning technician. A CSIA-certified dryer cleaning technician will use rotating brushes and high-powered vacuums to clean lint from your dryer vents. The technician also will inspect your dryer vents to make sure they are free from damage and in compliance with industry recommendations, such as having plastic dryer vent tubes replaced with nonflammable metal dryer vents.
If your dryer vents are overdue for a cleaning, or if you have noticed that your dryer is taking longer to dry a load of laundry or overheating, call Total Chimney Care to schedule a dryer vent cleaning appointment today!