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Home Safety Tip: Clean Your Laundry Dryer Vent And Ducting
Cleaning your laundry dryer vent is a critical maintenance item from a safety & efficiency perspective!
By Frank Lundeen - 218 Inspect Home Inspections
According to the US Fire Association / FEMA, 2900 clothes dryer fires are reported each year - causing $35 million in annual property losses. The leading cause of these fires is the "failure to clean" the venting system. For all of the data on this, check out the official report from the US Fire Association.
Sadly, I know of people who have tragically had their home burn down due to a clothes dryer fire (likely due to not cleaning the dryer venting and/or filter), as well as folks whom have had vermin (squirrels, chipmunks, etc) enter their home through dryer vents that were stuck in the open position due to the vent not being cleaned. Lastly, clothes dryer vents being obstructed or stuck open can have a real effect on home energy efficiency in two ways:
The vent flapper (which is there to keep cold air & critters out) can become obstructed by lint, and get stuck in the open position. This allows cold air an unobstructed route into your home - increasing your heating (or cooling) bill. As previously mentioned, it can also allow critters into your home that you don't want.
As your dryer exhaust venting becomes clogged with lint, airflow is reduced, your dryer has to work harder to dry your clothes, and it consumes more energy (and you guessed it, increasing the likelihood of a fire).
A badly plugged/obstructed exterior dryer vent stuck in the open position - which can cause all kinds of problems that homeowners don't want...
Thankfully, all of these problems can be avoided by performing some simple maintenance (by a professional, or savvy homeowner - always following the manufacturer's instructions):
Every time you use your clothes dryer, ALWAYS clean out your lint filter! This filter's job is to prevent lint from accumulating elsewhere, such as inside the dryer, in the dryer vent ducting, or in the dryer vent outlet. Who would have thought - cleaning your dryer filter will reduce the likelihood of a fire & reduce your energy bill.
Inspect the dryer vent ducting behind the dryer to ensure that it was properly installed and it isn't damaged, crushed, or restricted.
Make sure the exterior vent cover is free of lint, and that the flapper is allowed to function (open & close properly).
Carefully clean lint out the interior of the dryer venting periodically - using a dryer duct cleaning kit & a vacuum cleaner. It is astounding how much lint can come out of the dryer duct! Carefully re-install the venting duct according to the manufacturer's instructions. See the below before & after pic.
There you have it - giving your clothes dryer & dryer venting a bit of love can improve the safety of your home, keep vermin out, and reduce your home energy bill!
Thank you for reading & keep 218 Inspect Home Inspections in mind for your home inspection needs in the greater Duluth, MN area!
Don't leave your home purchase to chance - arrive at your closing with confidence! Choose 218 Inspect for your home inspection today!
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