Dryer vent cleaning prevents dryer fires, prolongs the life of your appliance and reduces energy costs. When you are folding your laundry do you notice holes in your clothes that were not there before? New clothes are torn, sweaters are snagged and there are holes in your underwear! Or worse yet, clothes have a smoky smell when they should be clean. What is going on?
The smoky smell is easy to explain. You probably had a small lint fire inside the cabinet of your dryer. If this is the case, you're very lucky it was a small fire. This is a rare occurrence; most people who experience a fire caused by lint build-up will have more than just a small fire. Even though the lint filter catches most of the lint, some escapes to the dryer ducts that lead to the vent outside. Lint is flammable and when it builds up it restricts air flow, causing overheating and eventually a fire.
This is not something to be taken lightly! Your dryer is more likely to start a fire than any other appliance in your home. Clothes dryers are the cause of over 15,000 fires annually; failure to properly clean and maintain dryer vent systems is the leading cause of dryer fires.
Some things should not be put in the clothes dryer, like bath mats, rugs with rubber backing or delicate clothing. These items should be air dried to prevent them from losing their shape. Also, be careful not to put items into the dryer if they are soaked or stained with motor oil, gasoline or other flammable products, even if they have been washed! Combustible residue can remain. It's best that these items be air dried and not be stored near the clothes dryer.
Dryer exhaust maintenance is recommended annually by a professional dryer vent cleaning and repair specialist. They do more than just clean the vents and inside the dryer. A specialist will also inspect the system to be sure it meets current building and safety codes.
There are also parts of a dryer that can become worn and cause damage to clothing. These are not fire hazards, but still, it is frustrating to have your clean clothes come out of the dryer damaged. Felt-like seals in the dryer drum become worn and clothing can get caught in the gap and torn.
Another item to check is the lint filter; it could be worn and have sharp edges where clothing gets caught and tears. If this is the case, it is important to replace it since this is where most of the lint removed from your clothing is trapped. Holes in the lint filter allow more lint to escape in the vent system which can cause a fire.
When the glides, rollers, wheels or drum bearings become worn, there will be play in the dryer drum, causing it to be thrown off balance. Clothes can get pinched in between moving parts of the dryer causing damage.
Over-drying also causes damage to clothing. Try not to mix very heavy materials with lighter fabrics as different weights of fabric require different drying times. Prevent your clothes from coming out wrinkled by removing them immediately when the dryer stops rather than leaving them sit. Be sure to wash clothes in the correct water temperature and dry with the correct cycle. Most clothing has a label with care instructions printed on it; follow these instructions for the best results.
Proper dryer maintenance is the key to preventing fires and damage to clothing. A clogged dryer vent will cause your dryer to work harder and take more than one complete cycle to properly dry your clothes. Worn parts in the dryer can damage clothing. The service charge for a professional inspection and dryer vent cleaning is minimal compared to the possible damage caused to your dryer, your clothing, and your home in the event of a fire!
Horatio Chiorean, owner of Dryer Vent Wizard of Palm Beach inspects, cleans, maintains, alters, installs and tests dryer vent systems according to the most recent standards and building codes. Read more articles by Horatio at http://dryerventcleaningboyntonbeach.blogspot.com/