VENT CLEANING & FACTS
exhaust vents are major sources of fires. Flammable lint is produced
in the drying process and the buildup of such lint can become
a serious fire hazard. The dryer vents in laundry rooms and residential
structures should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year.
Not only can dryers become a fire hazard with the build up of
lint, but they can also become a flood hazard. Moisture can get
trapped inside the duct and pool there. This is most common, but
not limited to, high rise construction. Some dryer ducts will
hold up to five gallons of duct rotting water. In addition to
dryers being a fire and flood hazard if not annually cleaned,
a clogged dryer vent could force the dryer to increase workload
up to ten times the regular load. In some cases, the dyer duct's
warm air attracts birds that build nests in or around the emission
hole on the wall outside. Birds may abandon their nest, leaving
the straws and mud they used to build the nest, which in turn
blocks the airflow. To prevent this type of blockage, protect
the hole with mesh and have the air duct and dryer duct professionally
cleaned at the same time.
The U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2003, clothes dryers
were associated with 15,600 fires. These fires resulted in 20
deaths and 370 injuries. As mentioned earlier, lint builds up
in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. This lint can block the flow
or air, cause excessive heat build-up, and creates a fire risk.
to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are steps homeowners
or businesses can take to help prevent dryer fires:
- Clean the
lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes.
If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle
or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign
that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked. In this
case, the dryer duct should be professionally cleaned, ensuring
that a thorough and quality job has been performed.
- Clean the
dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check the outside
dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust
air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct
may be blocked. Again, a professional should be called to ensure
a proper cleaning job is carried out.
- Clean behind
the dryer, where lint can build up. Have a qualified service
person clean the interior of the dryer chasses periodically
to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around
the dryer clean and free of clutter.
plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid
or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify
the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which
provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type
duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks
or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
- Take special
care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile
chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or
finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more
than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the
clothes and preferably hang the clothes to dry. If using a dryer,
use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down
period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting
after drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or
piled in a laundry basket.