Is your Electric bill going up?

 

Did you know that clogged dryer vents can actually increase your energy bills by hundreds of dollars per year?

It’s true! When your dryer vent becomes clogged with lint and other debris, it forces your dryer to work harder to dry your clothes.

This can lead to increased energy consumption, which can cause your bills to skyrocket.

In addition to the increased energy bills, clogged dryer vents can also pose a serious fire hazard. Lint is highly flammable, and if it builds up in your dryer vent, it can easily catch fire. This can put your home and your family at risk.

So what can you do to prevent clogged dryer vents? The best thing you can do is to have your dryer vent professionally cleaned on a regular basis. This will help to ensure that any lint or debris is removed before it has a chance to build up and cause problems.

In conclusion, clogged dryer vents can be a costly and dangerous problem. By taking the time to have your dryer vent cleaned regularly, you can save money on your energy bills and protect your home and family from a potential fire hazard.

We can help you with that. Call us to schedule an appointment. (813) 951-2024

Dryer Maintenance Tips

1. Do Not Overload the Dryer
Your clothes need the circulation of hot air and when the dryer is stuffed, the air cannot circulate as much as it needs to in order to dry your clothes. Instead of reducing drying times, overfilling the dryer will increase them.

2. Clean the Lint Screen
Lint screens catch a great deal of lint during the drying process, but they do not catch all of it.Make it a habit to clean the lint screen with every load.

3. Clean the Outside of the Dryer
Always make sure that there is enough space between the dryer and the walls. This will make it easier for you to clean and remove any lint and debris that accumulates around the appliance. While you are cleaning around the dryer, make sure there is plenty of space between your appliance and the walls around it.

4. Clean the Inside of the Dryer
Wipe down the inside of the dryer every month. Use a mild cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water to remove any dirt and stains. You can also use an alcohol wipe to remove grease and residue from the inside of the dryer.

5. Clear the Venting System
Improve your dryer’s efficiency by keeping the ventilation tube and cap clean. If you find the venting system is extremely clogged with lint or if you are having a difficult time cleaning it out, then it may just be best to call a professional to do the work. These services are widely available and not too expensive. In the long-run, it’s worth paying for.

Dryer Vent Code References from the International Code Council

M1502.2 Concerning Duct Terminations: Exhaust ducts shall terminate on the
outside of the building or shall be in accordance with the dryer manufacturer’s
installation instructions. Exhaust duct terminations shall not be less than 3 feet in any
direction from openings into buildings. Furthermore, exhaust duct terminations shall
be equipped with a backdraft damper. Screens shall not be installed at the duct
termination.

M1502.3 Concerning Duct Sizes: The diameter of the exhaust duct shall be as
required by the clothes dryer’s listing and installation instructions.

M1502.4 Concerning Transition Ducts or Flex Hoses: Transition ducts shall not
be concealed within construction. Flexible transition ducts used to connect the dryer
to the exhaust duct system shall be limited to single lengths not to exceed 8 feet and
shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL2158A.

M1502.5 Concerning Duct Construction: Exhaust ducts shall be constructed of
minimum .016 inches (0.4mm) rigid metal ducts, having smooth interior surfaces,
with joints running in the direction of air flow. Exhaust ducts shall not be connected
with sheet metal screws for fastening.

M1502.6 Concerning Duct Lengths: The maximum length of a clothes dryer
exhaust duct shall not exceed 25 feet from the dryer location to the wall or roof
termination. Additionally, the maximum length of the duct shall be reduced 2.5 feet
for each 45 degree bend, and 5 feet for each 90 degree bend. Finally, the maximum
length of the exhaust duct does not include the transition duct.

Hidden Danger on Your Roof: Dryer Vent Screening

That wire screen over your rooftop dryer vent may well be keeping out critters, but it’s also creating an extreme fire hazard. It’s not supposed to be there.

What is the regulation regarding dryer vent covers?

Though exceedingly common, for reasons we’ll explore later, it is against International Residential code, and generally an unsafe practice, to place or keep any kind of screen over a dryer exhaust vent. The specific code, M1502.3, regarding dryer duct termination, is worth quoting in full:

Exhaust ducts shall terminate on the outside of the building. Exhaust duct terminations shall be in accordance with the dryer manufacturer’s installation instructions. If the manufacturer’s instructions do not specify a termination location, the exhaust duct shall terminate not less than 3 feet (914 mm) in any direction from openings into buildings. Exhaust duct terminations shall be equipped with a backdraft damper. Screens shall not be installed at the duct termination.

Why is it dangerous to keep a screen over a dryer vent exhaust?

Though screening is commonplace over chimneys, furnace flues, bathroom exhausts, etc., for the main purpose of keeping animals out, it is ill-advised over a dryer vent exhaust, because in addition to exhausting moisture and heat, dryer vents also exhaust small bits of lint. Moisture exhausted acts as a glue that adheres the lint to the screen, and, over time, the holes in the screen become completely choked with lint, cutting off airflow and creating further blockages down the vent line. This buildup of lint, which is highly combustible, creates an extreme fire hazard. The restricted air flow also impairs the efficient function of your dryer and can cause the thermal fuse (a device specifically designed to trigger in the case of a high-heat event) to blow out, leaving you without a dryer until it can be replaced.

If I remove the screen from my dryer vent, what keeps animals from entering?

Your dryer vent, behind the screen, should have a louvered flap that swings open when the airflow from the dryer opens it and then falls back into the closed position when the airflow ceases. If the vent does not have this feature, it should be replaced. You’ll want to inspect the cover every so often to make sure it’s intact and none of the louvers are missing, which might present a welcome invitation to a furry critter seeking warmth.

Why the heck do dryer vent exhausts even have screens on them?

It seems the default is that rooftop vents, whether bathroom or dryer, come with screens over them and are installed as is. Why they are not removed in the case of dryer vents? I posed this question to several roofing companies in the Twin Cities, all of whom were forthcoming and generous. One replied that they do not remove them so as not to expose the homeowner to the possibility of animal entry. Another explained that they are kept in place for reasons of liability, presumably referring back to the animal-entry scenario, as well as the fact that the screen is installed by the manufacturer. A third explained that indeed they do remove the screen when the vent cover they’re installing is designated for a dryer, and they mark them for this purpose, so as not to neglect that final step once the job is complete.

What’s the consensus?

Remove it. Regardless of how the screen got there, it should not remain. If you cannot remove it yourself, your dryer vent cleaning company will (or should) do so during the course of the cleaning. Unfortunately, the screen is often not detected until the dryer’s performance begins to suffer and the homeowner calls a dryer vent cleaning or repair company seeking explanation.

How To Clean Your Dryer Vent And Avoid This Household Fire Hazard

Your household dryer is a workhorse, transforming soggy clothes and linens into warm, soft laundry day after day. But despite its importance, you might not give this appliance much thought. After all, it hardly requires any maintenance.

Except your dryer requires a little more care and attention than you might realize. If you fail to clean it properly, you could actually cause a fire.

John D’Alessandro, secretary of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, said that aside from other heating sources and cooking, dryers are a major cause of structure fires. That’s because “it doesn’t take much for lint to catch fire,” he said.

In fact, 2,900 home clothes-dryer fires are reported each year, resulting in about five deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss. Failure to properly clean dryers is the leading cause of these fires.

The truth is that you should frequently clean out the lint trap, exhaust pipe and exhaust cover, according to D’Alessandro. So if it’s been a while since you did any type of deep clean on your dryer, here’s what to know.

Dangerous Dryer Warning Signs

There’s really no way to completely avoid the buildup of dryer lint, especially when you use the dryer every day. The lint screen is there to catch it from clogging up the vent. However, when too much lint builds up, it can affect your dryer’s performance and even pose a fire hazard because it cuts down on air circulation, potentially causing overheating, a representative of the Whirlpool brand laundry team told HuffPost.

There are a few red flags to watch out for that can tell you your dryer is getting clogged up with lint, according to Mark Dawson, chief operating officer of One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.

The first is reduced efficiency. If your dryer is taking longer to get laundry completely dry, it is probably clogged. Another sign is excess lint behind the dryer. A moldy smell coming from the dryer could also be a warning sign that it’s clogged with lint. “All of these indicate your dryer and dryer vent could use a cleaning,” Dawson said. “Most dryer vents need to be professionally cleaned annually, at a minimum.”

Between these professional cleanings, he said, you can lightly clean your dryer by following a few steps.

Steps For Cleaning Your Dryer

Cleaning the lint out of your dryer is a pretty simple process, but there are a few areas that are important to check. When you’re ready to give your dryer a good cleaning, follow these steps:

  • Unplug your dryer.
  • Remove the lint screen from the trap. Use a brush to loosen and free any obvious clumps of dust and lint from the trap and screen. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck any dirt and clumps off of them.
  • Wash the lint trap screen with soap and water and let it air-dry.
  • Inspect the vent located on the outside of your home. Look for and remove debris or other items that may have clogged the opening.
  • After you’re done cleaning, visually inspect the dryer ducts to make sure there are no holes, punctures or other damage that can become a hazard.

How To Keep Your Dryer In Top Shape

You don’t have to do a deep clean of your dryer every time you use it. Even so, it’s a good idea to keep up on regular maintenance. Not only will you avoid a potentially dangerous fire, you’ll keep your dryer operating at maximum efficiency, saving you time and money.

Clean out the lint screen after every use. You can usually find this filter near the dryer door. Pull the screen out and remove any lint buildup by hand. Whirlpool noted that wet lint may be present and can be a bit harder to remove.

Clean the lint trap and exterior frequently. In addition to the lint screen, you should also clean out the trap that it sits in every few uses. Do this by turning off the dryer and removing the lint screen, then use a vacuum crevice tool or dryer cleaning brush to carefully clean the interior and exterior of the lint trap. Use a microfiber cloth and gentle cleaning spray to clean the outside surfaces, knobs and buttons. Be sure not to get any water or cleaner inside of the lint trap.

Deep-clean the lint screen every six months. After removing the screen and scraping off any lint, run both sides under hot water. Scrub with a nylon brush, hot water and liquid detergent to remove any buildup, then rinse with hot water and dry thoroughly before putting it back in place.

Hire a professional. Dawson also recommends having a qualified professional inspect your dryer vents as a safety precaution, especially if you haven’t been maintaining the dryer as diligently as you should. “They will be able to reach areas in the vent that the average homeowner can’t and will ensure all excess lint is removed,” he said.

Don’t overload. Finally, D’Alessandro warned against overloading the dryer: “It can cause an electrical fire that can snowball very quickly,” he said.

Top 10 tips to prevent house fires

House fires take the lives and homes of too many people. Read on to learn how to prevent house fires.

Your home is a place where you make memories and build your life. That’s why it is scary to imagine your home ever suffering from a disaster such as a fire.

Although you can’t control everything, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire and smoke damage. Not sure where to begin, or what items in your home pose a threat?

Here are 10 ways to reduce the risk of house fires:

1. TEST YOUR SMOKE ALARMS REGULARLY

The easiest way to avoid a house fire is by checking your smoke alarms regularly. There is a little button on it that you can press to test it. If it beeps weakly, then you need to change the batteries ASAP.

If a fire breaks out and it’s not working, tragedy can quickly occur as no one is alerted to evacuate.

2. INSPECT ALL YOUR HEATING SOURCES

If your heating sources aren’t working properly they could trigger a fire to happen. You should have them checked out annually by a professional.

Make sure your air filters are always cleaned out, and if you’re using a space heater – it needs to be positioned away from anything flammable. A fire can easily start from debris and dust being too close to a heat source so make sure you clean them regularly.

3. KEEP YOUR STOVE AND OVEN CLEAN

Don’t worry, the stove didn’t randomly combust because of your cooking. It most likely happened because forgotten food particles on the burner got too hot. Food particles aren’t the only thing that could cause this to happen.

If your curtains hang a little too close to the stove, they can catch fire. If you leave a dish towel or cookbook on a burner that you forgot was still hot, they can catch fire.

4. DON’T LEAVE YOUR KITCHEN

A few seconds is all it takes for a fire to break out. This is why you never want to leave cooking food unattended. If you have to leave the kitchen for any reason, turn off that pot of boiling noodles first.

If for whatever reason you can’t turn off the oven, call someone into the kitchen to watch the food until you get back.

5. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR DRYER

Depending on what type of dryer you have, they need to be inspected on a yearly basis. We all get in a hurry when we’re doing our chores but, don’t forget to clean out your lint trap every time you put in a new load of laundry.

You also want to check behind the machine to make sure lint or little clothing items like socks didn’t manage to get back there.

6. MAINTAIN ALL CORDS

Before you plug something in, make sure that the cord hasn’t been frayed or chewed. If you do notice damaged wires, replace them as soon as possible because this is a huge fire hazard.

Also, check your cord placement. They tend to get hot so you want to avoid running them under a rug or between your wall and furniture.

7. PROPERLY STORE FLAMMABLE PRODUCTS

Household cleaners and common cosmetic items like hairspray and shaving cream can be hazardous. If they are exposed to a large heat source, they can combust. You want to keep them away from space heaters, and store them safely in a cool area.

8. PRACTICE CAUTION WITH CANDLES

Everyone loves scented candles, especially around the holidays – but if you don’t use them carefully, they could cause a fire. Make sure you put them out before you exit a room and keep them far away from blankets or other objects.

If you feel yourself drifting off to sleep, get up and blow the candle out. Never put them on an uneven surface like carpet, because it’s too easy for them to tip over. If you have pets, make sure lit candles stay out of their reach.

9. BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR FIREPLACE

Fire extinguishers are your best defense weapon when a fire breaks out. You want to make sure you have one in every room that is a potential threat, such as the kitchen.

Every family member should know how to use an extinguisher so if a fire does happen, it can be put out as fast as possible.

ONLY YOU CAN HELP PREVENT HOUSE FIRES

There is nothing more devastating than losing everything you own to house fires. Your home is like a member of your family. It’s where you make your most precious memories, so you owe it to yourself to protect it.

If your home is suffering damage from a fire, contact us to find out how we can help with the restoration process.