SERVPRO Helps Prevent Fire in Your Home with Dryer Vent Cleaning
House fires affect millions of people every year at the cost of over $500 Million. Smoke detectors have proved their value, saving lives and homes from total loss. Most house fires start in the kitchen, but a significant number still occur in a place most forget about once the item is installed, the dryer vent.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires are reported each year. These fires lead to a staggering national average of 35 million dollars in property damage, 100 injuries, and five fatalities annually.
PSA: Vent cleaning service may reduce your clothes dryer's workload while lowering energy usage!
A dryer inside the house or apartment uses a metal exhaust pipe (galvanized iron or steel usually) to vent hot air outside the home. The zinc-coated material is designed to handle the highest dryer settings and more but not open flames from burning built-up lint. Since this is an exhaust pipe and smoke seeks the most comfortable access, a vent fire goes undetected by the smoke detectors much longer than a fire anywhere else in the house.
If your dryer is in the garage or under a carport, the chance for a significant fire is reduced. The flexible vent tube may not run under the house, but it is still at risk. The build-up of lint can still ignite, destroying your dryer and the washer next to it. As the flexible plastic pipe melts, the burning material quickly ignites drywall and other building materials.
Our technicians can eliminate this threat with an inspection. We can attach an air mover that introduces high-velocity airflow into your vent for just a few minutes. If the build-up has caked against the sides of the pipe, we'll then use a brush with a telescoping handle to scrape the sides and then blore-attach the air mover to the lint outside your home. We detach it from the dryer for a flexible conduit and clean it outside using either an air mover or garden hose to wash it out.
The cost for vent cleaning is minor compared to the possible cost(s) to restore your home fire-damaged home. Aren’t convinced? There are still some things you, as a property owner, can do to keep your home as safe as possible.
What You Can Do
Clean the lint filter.
A clogged lint filter is the leading contributing factor in residential dryer fires. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that failing to clean out the lint trap causes 34 percent of reported dryer fires every year.
Each time you unload the dryer, clean out the lint trap. Before putting the next load of clothes in, double-check that the lint trap is completely clean to lower your risk of fire. A clean lint filter allows the dryer to run more efficiently, too, thus drying your clothes faster while also preventing your machine from overheating.
Inspect the ducts regularly.
Blocked ducts frequently cause dryer fires. To ensure your dryer is running correctly, check your ducts about once a month to ensure there are no blockages. Some telltale signs that your ducts are clogged include the following indicators:
- Your laundry is taking longer to dry
- Exhaust air is failing to exit the vent
- You suspect that your machine is overheating
Sometimes, a blockage occurs because the venting system itself is damaged. Other times, blockages may be occurring because of an accumulation of lint, animals building nests in the vents, or snow building up over the outside vents.
If you notice any blockages, clean them out before using your dryer again. To clean your ducts, disconnect them, remove the blockages and reconnect them. If you notice any damage to the venting system, call in a professional to repair the issue.
Replace outdated ducts.
Older ducts made of plastic or foil are prone to sagging. These accordion-style ducts can easily trap lint in hard-to-reach spaces, increasing your risk of fire. To keep your home safe, replace your older models with new ducts designed with heavy-duty metal.
DON'T overload the dryer.
Stuffing too many wet clothes or bedding into a dryer can cause an excess of lint to accumulate. Since lint build up reduces a dryer's ability to ventilate, the machine may quickly overheat and cause a fire to break out. Read your owner's manual to determine your machine's maximum hold to ensure you aren't overstuffing it.
DON'T leave the dryer running unattended.
Never go to sleep or leave the house while your dryer is running. If a fire breaks out, your ability to extinguish it or call emergency services right away can make all the difference between damage to your laundry room and complete loss of your home.
DON'T dry clothes without the lint filter.
A dryer without its lint trap is an accident waiting to happen. The filter protects the dryer's inner workings from collecting lint. Without this defensive shield, a buildup of lint in the ducts can easily lead to a dryer vent fire.
To lower your risk, always use your dryer with the lint trap in place. If your existing lint trap is worn or develops any holes, replace it immediately at your nearest home supplies store.
When it comes to disasters, one could argue that none are worse than a residential fire. Not only do the flames cause inherent danger as they destroy your family's home and or business, but there is also the after effect concerning the removal of debris, soot, the smell of smoke, compromised structure, and additional damages that have been inflicted on your property. For most homeowners, fire is an incredible event. However, they DO happen and for a variety of reasons.
Top 10 Other Causes of Fires
- Home heat fires: Your furnace needs regular inspection(s) and ensures combustibles are not near any portable heaters.
- Cooking fires: Unattended kitchens, splattering grease, and combustibles near the source of heat are very common fire starters.
- Smoking: Always ensure that you properly and completely extinguish the cigarette if you smoke in your home.
- Electrical fires: Look out for frayed cords, overloaded plug outlets, and the overuse of extension cords.
- Children: Keep lighters and matches away from children to stifle any curiosity they could have about what happens when various items catch fire.
- Candles: Candles may smell nice, but if left unattended, they could cause a significant issue.
- Flammable items: Do not keep adhesives, paint, or cleaning agents close to sources of heat.
- Faulty wiring: A significant safety hazard is inadequate wiring (MOSTLY prevalent in older apartments and homes).
- Grills: Never cook on the grill under an awning or a covered porch. Give yourself ample space away from your home and automobiles.
- Holiday décor: Be mindful of how close your Christmas tree is to your fireplace and always safely hang another décor.
Despite our best efforts as homeowners, accidents still happen. If your home has been damaged by fire and smoke, call SERVPRO of South Orlando. Our team of highly trained technicians can help get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. With the proper training, innovative equipment, and helpful guidance, our expert technicians will be with you every step of the way to get you back on your feet.
We will arrive at your home quickly to mitigate the damages, secure your property and start the emergency cleaning process to items that are of priority. While we are on the site, your property will be inspected, assessments of damage(s) will be documented, and preliminary estimates made to give you a comprehensive restoration plan of action.