Why Clean Dryer Vents?
(From Ron at Just Dryer Vents 847-634-8688)
Dryer vents are a leading cause of fires (42,000 last year in U.S.), along with smoking in bed and stove fires. Fire depts. and mfrs. recommend cleaning them once a year because lint is very flammable.
Many people aren’t even aware of the potential problem, or the need to clean them. Out-of-site, out-of-mind, unless clothes take longer to dry. Even then people often think it’s a problem with the dryer itself and buy a new one, or call a serviceman. Often it is just a clogged dryer vent or poor installation, and he’ll recommend not using the dryer until the vent is cleaned and safe. They’re out $100 service call or over $500 if they didn’t need the new dryer they bought, and the problem still isn’t fixed. One complex hadn’t had them cleaned in 10 years and didn’t really think it needed to be done. The board pres. came out to watch us and couldn’t believe that about ½ bushel or more came out of most of them. Some insurance companies will give a discount if all in a complex have their dryer vents cleaned.
• By design 35% of the lint passes through the lint filter or not enough air would flow to dry clothes. Eventually every vent pipe will clog because the moist lint collects in the pipe.
• Bird nests can completely clog vents. Sometimes 5 nests have been in one pipe.
• Poor installation can decrease air flow from dryer to wall when pipes are too long and kinked, or when they get squished against the wall. Often cheap spring clamps come off, allowing flammable lint and carbon monoxide to leak behind dryer. These happen often. Everyone should have this checked and installation corrected at least once.
• When air can’t flow freely, the dryer over heats and a safety switch shuts the heat off, and after dryer cools down, the heat turns on again. The drum keeps turning, so you can’t tell the heat is off and on. This can happen thousands of times and eventually cause the safety switch to fail, which can cause a fire when the dryer’s components get too hot.
• “Consumers Report Magazine” recently had an article about safety devices in some expensive new dryers, that are supposed to shut the dryer off when the vent is clogged. Some of them didn’t work at all, and shut the dryer down, and some of them gave false readings. If owner didn’t have a service contract, he had to pay for an unnecessary service call.
Many times ¼” square mesh screens are left on the vent outlet on roof or outside wall that aren’t allowed by international building codes, because they easily clog with lint, blocking airflow. Many contractors don’t know the code, or don’t care, or don’t know which vents are for dryers. We remove them and install bird guards that can be viewed for clogging, where necessary. Many associations have new roofs installed, and many have these screens that were completely clogged with ½ inch or more of lint on them. This can occur in just a few months of use. This can completely block airflow.
Contractors charge $85 to $270. to properly clean, or blow out only, but blowing only can make the clog worse if any screens aren’t removed! This also doesn’t remove all of the moist, caked on lint, but most homeowners don’t know this. Some will brush and blow out for more money, or charge by the foot over 10 feet, but they won’t do 1-11 below. Here’s what we do for safety and peace of mind for a reasonable price. Discounts for multiple units. The process takes about one hour to complete.
1. Do this inspection
2. Clean out the pipe from dryer to wall. White plastic isn’t code. We’ll install correct pipe.
3. Clean out the lint within the dryer itself that gets beyond the lint trap with brush and vacuum. By design, 35% of the lint passes through the lint trap or the dryer wouldn’t dry, like I said before.
4. Vacuum walls and floor and wash floor under dryer if necessary.
5. Vacuum out dryer from rear while it is running to complete dryer cleaning.
6. Run spinning brush or high-pressure reverse-blowing air thru pipe from roof or outside wall, into laundry room while vacuum is running in pipe to suck up loosened lint.
7. Reinstall proper vent piping correctly with quality stainless steel, worm gear clamps that hold pipe securely and don’t come off like spring clamps when dryer is moved to clean or retrieve items.
8. Wash outside of dryer, re-position and balance.
9. Test run dryer to make sure it is working properly.
10. Make sure water hoses (for washer) are tight. Rubber washers shrink over time.
11. Make sure gas pipe (for dryer) is proper material (brass pipe isn’t code), and not leaking.
Pays for itself in gas and electricity savings and not prematurely wearing out dryer and clothes!
Insured to $2,000,000-work guaranteed- references available-Same day service available.