Most homeowners understand the importance of keeping their gutters clean, of making sure the chimney is clear of obstructions if they have a working fireplace and of cleaning the lint screen in the dryer after every load. What they don’t give much thought to is the dryer vent. Oh sure, they are aware of it. They see steam emanating from it during the winter months as they walk to the car or shovel the driveway or clear snow from the porch. They don’t stop to give it much thought beyond that, however. But they should. Because while ignoring the gutters can result in water damage to the house ignoring the need for dryer vent cleaning can result in the loss of the house and the people in it.
The Importance of Vent Cleaning
If your dryer hasn’t been performing up to its usual high standards lately and you’ve just been chalking it up to the unit getting old, you’d be wise to reconsider that assessment. It may not be age related at all. Here are some of the dangers of ignoring the need for dryer vent cleaning:
- Increased energy consumption - When you put clothes in the dryer it removes moisture from them and vents that moisture to the outside. If the dryer vent is clogged however, only a fraction of that moisture can be vented at any one time and so the dryer has to work harder for longer to do its job. This makes the dryer far less efficient and results in higher energy bills. You may have noticed higher energy bills recently and simply attributed it to higher oil prices or some other cause. But chances are good the real culprit could be a clogged dryer vent.
- Increased health hazard - Most homeowners are not aware that certain types of mold that are common to basements can lead to allergies, respiratory disease, lung infections, heart infections and even death. This is one of the primary reasons why it’s so important to make sure your basement environment is always dry. If the dryer vent is not cleaned on a fairly regular basis moisture can accumulate within and lead to the growth of all types of potentially dangerous mold. Dryer vent cleaning drastically reduces this health threat within the home.
- Buildup of deadly gases - Every year nearly 500 people die in North America from CO2 in their homes and another 20,000 are left sickened. Sometimes the source is a car left running in the garage. Sometimes it’s a leaky furnace vent or fireplace. And sometimes the source of that CO2 is a clogged dryer vent. When the dryer vent gets blocked by lint and other debris the fumes it is intended to vent have nowhere to go so they leak from the dryer into the home environment and are circulated by the HVAC system. CO2 is known as the silent killer because it gives no warning of its presence. Victims become drowsy, doze off and never awaken. Proper vent cleaning can prevent this.
- Increased risk of fire - Thousands of house fires every year originate with the dryer. But not in the way you’d expect. When people think of dryer-related fires they think of leaking natural gas that finds a spark or short circuits in the electrical wiring of the dryer. In fact, the most common source of dryer-related house fires is not gas or wiring but lint that has accumulated in the vent and ignited. And it’s not even close. Of more than 15,000 dryer-related fires that occur each year in the US more than 80% are caused by lint catching fire in a clogged vent.
- Shorter life for your dryer - A dryer that has to work harder for longer to do its job is one that is not going to last as long as it should. In fact, if the clogged vent doesn’t wind up causing a fire or leading to serious health problems it may at the very least drastically curtail the life expectancy of this important appliance. Perhaps by as much as 20%. If your dryer is not that old and you have had to call for frequent repairs of late the cause may be a clogged dryer vent. Vent cleaning can return your dryer to optimal function and help it live out its intended lifespan.
Signs That it’s Time for Dryer Vent Cleaning
A clogged dryer vent is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a home. Fortunately there are warning signs you can watch for including:
- The need for several drying cycles to get clothes dry.
- A burnt smell to your clothes when they emerge from the dryer.
- An unusually hot laundry room.
- Very little steam being emitted from the vent on cold days.
If you notice any of these signs it’s time to call Steve’s for some serious vent cleaning. Keep in mind too that if you have owned the house for a while and cannot remember the last time you had the dryer vent cleaned, then it’s time to clean it; whether other signs are present or not.
Don’t Delay, Call Steve’s Today
Maintaining a clear, clean dryer vent is more than just a luxury. It’s a necessity if you are to ensure the safety and health of your home and its inhabitants. Call the pros at Steve’s for more information on vent cleaning, air duct cleaning in Denver or to have your carpets cleaned.