According to the insurance industry the humble dryer vent is responsible for nearly 3,000 house fires in the US every year. That makes it one of the most common causes of house fires, just below electrical equipment, cooking, candles and space heaters. It’s a pretty safe bet, however, that if you asked 100 people to name the most common cause of house fires they’d likely name all those mentioned above except dryer vents. And this is one of the problems. You see, if people are not aware that a clogged dryer vent can cause a house fire they’re unlikely to perform, or hire someone to perform, dryer vent cleaning.
How a Dryer Vent Can Become a Fire Hazard
There is no flame passing through a dryer vent. It’s not filled with propane or natural gas and most don’t have any kind of fire hazard warning on them. They’re typically just short, flexible insulated hoses about 4 inches wide that extend from the dryer to the exterior wall and vent heat to the outdoors. So what makes them such a danger? In a word: lint.
When clothes are put through the washing machine tiny particles of fabric are loosened by the agitation. When those clothes are then put into the dryer these tiny fibers and particles of fabric separate from the clothes. Much of this now-loose material is caught by the lint filter. But not all of it. Not even close. A good amount makes it past the lint filter and passes into the dryer vent hose where it settles down and collects. When enough lint collects in the vent hose it begins to restrict air flow. If you ignore the need for dryer vent cleaning the clogged vent can lead to overheating, which in turn ignites all that fluffy, ultra-dry lint.
Warning Signs of a Clogged Dryer Vent
Dryer vents don’t become clogged overnight. Depending on how often you use your dryer it can take a few months or a few years for the vent to become clogged. Fortunately there are warning signs that will alert you to the need for vent cleaning. They are:
- The clothes are extremely hot at the end of the dry cycle.
- The clothes take an extra-long time to dry completely.
- The exterior of the dryer, particularly the door, gets very hot.
- The laundry room becomes damp and dank.
- There’s a burnt odor to the air in the room.
- The flap on the vent outside barely moves when the dryer is running. This indicates low air flow through the hose and a clogged vent.
If you recognize any of these symptoms call Steve’s immediately for fast, comprehensive dryer air duct cleaning in Denver.
The Vent Cleaning Process
So let’s talk about what’s involved in dryer vent cleaning.
When you call Steve’s to have your vent cleaned our technician shows up in one of our fully stocked trucks with all the necessary tools to get the job done right. That includes, but is not limited to, a variety of specially designed brushes that reach deep into the vent to jar the lint loose, as well as a high powered vacuum and various other attachments to remove the lint.
- The lint trap filter is removed and thoroughly cleaned.
- The lint trap housing is completely cleaned.
- The dryer is unplugged and the dryer duct disconnected.
- The duct interior is scoured using the appropriate vacuum cleaner brushes.
- Vacuuming continues until the vent is completely clear of lint.
- Outside the vent cap is inspected and cleaned.
- The entire area around the vent cap is vacuumed.
- The flap is inspected to ensure it works properly.
- If need be the vent cap is replaced.
- If the vent is made of galvanized steel it is reassembled and reattached.
- If it is a flexible hose it is simply reattached.
- All clamps are refastened.
- If need be duct sections are sealed using duct tape.
Once the dryer vent is reattached and ready to go the dryer is plugged back in and returned to its normal position. The lint screen is put back and the vent cleaning is finished. At this point the technician may want to run the dryer for a few minutes to ensure all connections are solid and that the vent cap is working the way it should.
Note: If your dryer vent is a flexible 4 inch hose you should seriously consider having it replaced with a galvanized sectional pipe. Fire safety professionals recommend this because the flexible hose is lined with ribs that have the effect of catching lint as it passes through. This promotes clogs. Whereas, the inside of the galvanized pipe is smooth and allows the lint to pass through.
The Bottom Line
The dryer vent is no laughing matter. By not engaging in dryer vent cleaning and allowing it to become clogged with lint, not only do you run the risk of damaging your dryer by forcing it to work harder than it was designed to, but you also run the risk of a catastrophic house fire.
Remember, this is no idle scare tactic designed to scare people into using a service they don’t need. Clogged dryer vents are one of the most common causes of house fires in America today. Virtually on par with space heaters, candles and kitchen fires. For first class, affordable dryer air duct cleaning in Westminster and vicinity call Steve’s today at (303) 530-4900. You’ll be glad you did.