Your dryer vents are likely something you don’t give a lot of thought to, especially if you run a busy household. For most, tossing clothes from your washer to dryer is just something you do quickly throughout the day. In between everything else on the to-do list, you might not think about a clogged-up dryer vent.
Unfortunately, it’s for this very reason that dryer fires tend to happen. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recorded nearly 16,000 dryer- or washing machine-related fires in just a 4-year span with the vast majority of these (92%) being related to the dryer. These fires have led to hundreds of injuries, multiple deaths, and millions of dollars in property damage per year.
Needless to say, dryer vent care is something to take seriously! And if you live in or near Grand Junction, the certified crew at The Chimney Doctor is here to help.
But what causes these fires to occur in the first place? Here’s the scoop.
Failure to have your dryer vents professionally cleaned out is by far the most common cause of fires. As lint from your dryer builds up in the vents, your dryer’s chances of overheating go up significantly. As you can imagine, the combination of flammable lint and an overheated appliance isn’t a good one. Eventually the lint could ignite and spread flames throughout your dryer, laundry room, and even your home.
Lint buildup also leads to inefficiency, and it could trigger gas leaks or carbon monoxide exposure if fumes are unable to safely vent outside of your home. If you’re running your dryer multiple times in a row to get a load of laundry dry, this is a clear indicator that a dryer vent cleaning is overdue.
How often should a dryer vent cleaning be scheduled? We recommend getting these completed at least once per year to ensure you get the most from your appliance in terms of both efficiency and safety.
Outdated Venting Systems
If you have plastic PVC piping or plastic/metal foil flex transition vents, your chances of experiencing a fire will increase. These materials were used in the past before we knew what we know now about their increased likelihood of causing dryer fires.
Why are these more risky? Well, PVC piping is much more prone to
buildup. The material allows static electricity to be generated during the air flow process, which then causes lint to cling to the inside where it eventually accumulates and clogs everything up. And the flex transitions are known for being flammable. They’re also known to sag and restrict airflow, which ups the chance of your dryer overheating.
We have dryer vent products that are built to last and keep your system working efficiently. This not only means decreased drying times and less stress for you… it also means safer operation all around, ensuring you can go through your day with the peace of mind you deserve.
Mechanical or Electrical Issues
If your machinery has been damaged at all, or if your wiring is faulty, then your chances of experiencing a fire will increase. This is a big reason having a qualified technician look things over regularly is important! An expert in the field will know what to look for and can suggest the best steps for moving forward.
Misuse & Neglect
Now, if manufacturer guidelines aren’t being followed (e.g. putting things in the dryer that shouldn’t be in there, overstuffing the appliance, etc.), you may be more likely to experience a fire. Basically, anything with plastic, rubber, or foam should be left out to hang dry instead. Along with this, clothes stained with gas, alcohol, or oil (even after washing them) should not be tossed in the dryer.
Another important practice is to clean the lint screen after every single load. That’s right – not once a week or even every other use… clean it after every cycle! Skipping it decreases the appliance’s ability to vent and will up your risk of fires.
We also urge homeowners to never leave their dryer unattended. We get the temptation of tossing in your clothes, then running out to do errands so they’re dry when you get back, but this is a risky move to make. You should also never turn it on right before bed, as a fire could ignite while the household is sound asleep. Make sure you’re in the home and alert to any warning signs – it could make all the difference!
Finally, be sure to schedule that annual dryer vent cleaning appointment. Like we said, simply neglecting your vents and failing to get that appointment on the books is the biggest reason why things get clogged and fires eventually start. A simple phone call is all it takes, and it could make all the difference in keeping your home safer!
Reach Out to Our Knowledgeable Technicians
Our team of experts takes safety seriously, which is why we maintain our certifications and continuously seek educational opportunities within the field. We promise to be open, honest, and transparent throughout any service you hire us for, ensuring no surprise fees or hidden costs pop up, and we’re happy to answer any and all of your questions along the way.
Ready to get started? We’d love to speak with you soon! Call 970-234-3330 today to book your appointment.