Dryer Vent Don’ts
Dryer Vent Don’ts
The dryer is one the most used appliances in your home. Often, when it’s working well, you just don’t think much about it. However, neglecting to perform regular maintenance on your dryer and dryer vents can have serious consequences.
Consider these sobering facts. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) statistics between 2010 to 2014, fires caused by washers and dryers numbered 15,970 annually. Alarmingly, 92% of these fires were caused by dryers.
These fires resulted in $238 million in property damage. Even more unfortunately, it affected countless lives - 13 civilian deaths and 440 civilian injuries.
What is sad is that these tragedies could have been prevented by scheduling regular dryer vent cleaning and following certain safety precautions.
As experts in dryer vent cleaning, Southern California Dryer Vent Cleaning recommends these dryer vent don’ts to reduce the chance of dryer vent fires.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #1: DON’T Push the Dryer Too Close to the Wall Behind It
Ensure that the connector hose is not kinked or crushed, which will reduce air flow. Kinks in the hose cause a build up of lint, the main fuel for dryer vent fires. Not only that, reduced air flow will make your dryer run hotter than normal. Lint and heat make the perfect cocktail for a dryer vent fire.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #2: DON’T Use Vinyl or Slinky Foil Materials for Dryer Vents
Aside from making sure that connector hoses are not kinked, it’s also important to use the correct material for dryer vents. Flexible plastic or foil are easily crushed or kinked, restricting airflow.
Moreover, these vinyl or slinky foil materials have ridges which can cause excess lint to get lodged in the vents. Because plastic or foil has no structural strength, the duct will sag over time allowing more and more lint to accumulate. This increases fire risk in your home. These materials also easily catch fire and can quickly spread the flames.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #3: DON’T Use PVC Piping or Plastic Materials for Dryer Vents
While these are easy to use, they can also cause a lot of problems. Here are the reasons why using these materials are part of our list of dryer vent don’ts:
Because of the nature of material used in PVC pipes and plastic venting, lint can stick inside the vent walls due to static. Accumulated lint can mix with water expelled during a drying cycle. This combination creates a sludge that clogs your vents and increases the risk of a dryer vent fire.
PVC likewise sweats when warm, moist air travels through its surface. This causes lint to get lodged inside the pipe. What’s worse is accumulated lint will harden over time and will make dryer vent cleaning more difficult.
PVC takes a longer time to heat up. This means water remains in vapor form inside the pipe for longer. Combined with lint buildup, this creates a lint sludge in the vent.
What material is ideal to use for dryer venting?
We recommend using a 4-inch smooth aluminum pipe combined with 4-inch aluminum for bends. Pipe should also hang from floor joists instead of draping on the ground.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #4: DON’T Use Duct Tape To Connect Venting Materials
It’s important to use the appropriate materials for dryer vents but it’s equally important to use the right material to connect these ducts. While dryer vents are in fact ducts, they are quite different from other ducting.
Due to the temperature changes in dryer vents, the adhesive in duct tapes will degrade and dry up over time. This can create gaps in the joints of the vents.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #5: DON’T Use Bolts or Screws When Securing Joints
The object is to reduce as much lint that can collect within the vent walls. Bolts and screws are lint magnets, allowing the highly combustible material to accumulate in the vents.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #6: DON’T Vent the Dryer into the House
Some people think that the warm air coming from dryer vents can be used as a source of heat or a way to increase indoor humidity.
Dryer vents are designed to vent moisture that comes from drying clothes away from the dryer. Therefore, it is important to ensure that this warm, moist air is vented completely outside of your home.
If you vent the dryer back to the house, you create an atmosphere perfect for mold growth. Not only that, fine lint particles will get into your living space. Both mold and lint particles can pose serious health hazards to those living within.
Equally bad, venting the dryer into the house can potentially cause structural damage.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #7: DON’T Terminate Dryer Vents In Crawl Spaces or Attics
Some people take a “shortcut” when venting to the outside is difficult. However, much as it is harmful to vent your dryer into your living spaces, venting it into crawl spaces, attics, or basements is just as bad.
Doing so would allow moisture to build up in these spaces, encouraging growth of mold as well as causing water damage. Likewise, it would allow accumulation of lint within these spaces (definitely increasing fire risk).
Dryer Vent Don’ts #8: DON’T Substitute an Exhaust Fan for A Booster Fan
There are cases when the dryer vent may need to travel a long way to reach outside. It is a good idea to use a fan to help improve the air flow. This ensures that air is kept moving and that wet lint does not get lodged in the ducts.
The appropriate fan to use for cases like these would be a booster fan specifically designed for dryer vents. A conventional exhaust fan will quickly bog down when used for this purpose.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #9: DON’T Use Screens to Keep Pests or Critters Out
The warm air coming from a dryer vent can attract small birds, rodents, and other pests to make their nests in the ducts. However, installing cages or screens to prevent them from entering can do more harm than good. These can allow lint build up, which not only affects your dryer’s efficiency, it is a serious fire hazard.
Instead of installing makeshift screens, it is important to keep the vent cover in good working order. If it’s broken, have it repaired or replaced immediately. Additionally, you can install a pest guard which can easily be purchased from a home improvement or hardware store.
Dryer Vent Don’ts #10: DON’T Forget to Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned Regularly
The best protection against dryer vent fires is regular preventive maintenance. We recommend having your dryer vent cleaned at least once a year. Also, it’s important to watch out for signs that your dryer vent may be already be clogged:
Longer drying times.
Increasing electricity bill (mainly because you’re operating your dryer for longer amounts of time).
The dryer gets hot when operated. This means it is working double time to do the same amount of work. You may also notice your laundry room getting unusually hot when the dryer is in operation.
Unusual amount of lint. If it is your habit to clean out the lint filter/tray before starting a cycle, check if there's an excessive amount of lint each time you do this. This is an indication that your dryer vent may be clogged.
Burning smell. The smell of something burning is definitely a red flag. This smell is coming from your overworked dryer.
Following these tips will go a long way in ensuring that you and your family are kept safe from dryer vent fires.
Call Us For Dryer Vent Cleaning
Keep your family safe from fires! Let us take care of your dryer vents.
Southern California Dryer Vent Cleaning specializes in nothing but dryer vent cleaning. You can be sure when it comes to unclogging your vents, we know what we are doing. When you call us to your home, we will do the job expertly, quickly and efficiently.
And because it is all we do, you can be sure that we will not sell other services (air conditioning duct cleaning or washing machine repair, for example), like other companies out there, once we get into your home.
Finally, you are assured that the price we quote is exactly the price you pay. Absolutely no extra or hidden charges come time to settle your bill.
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