Real Estate Sales Representative with Houlihan Lawrence

Topic Summary: Two Part Coverage on Home Safety

Flooding From Excessive Water Pressure
Dryer Vent Fires ( see video)

Under Pressure! Watch Out For Excessive Water Pressure That Can Burst Cheap Water Supply Lines.

The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) calls for water to be delivered to homes for domestic use at between 35 and 80 psi. Many homes today are seeing 130 or more psi and it is causing burst water supply lines and hoses that run from the walls into appliances.  Think about all the supply lines you have. Every sink has two, the toilet, dishwasher, clothes washer and ice maker each have one. Each of these are "serviced" by supply lines which can fail over time and cause water damage. Every year excessive pressure causes about $800 million in flood claims.

What To Do! When you turn on your faucet do you sense that too much (wasted) water is delivered forcefully? If so, call a plumber who will test your lines for excessive pressure. (all about water regulators)  You can also do it yourself for (less than $10) at a home center by buying a basic pressure tester. A fancier one will have resetable needles that will record the pressure range allowing you to see what happens to the pressure when you aren't watching (such as overnight). They will usually cost around $25. (How To Test On Your Own)

If your appliances and plumbing are more than 7 years old you may want to replace the supply lines with more high tech hook-ups such as "Flood Safe Connectors" (Website)

 Ice Makers are the fastest growing source of problems as the supply lines provided at installation can fail quickly with fluctuating water pressure.  High pressure separates the plastic line from the fittings and shut off valves.

My three keys to improved dryer vent safety

by Tim Reiher

In my more than a decade in the dryer vent industry, I've worked with or

studied venting systems in 30 different states.

In all that I've seen and done, there are three elements of a dryer vent's operation that raise the most concern because they create the most serious safety risks.

Transition duct material
This is the ductwork that connects your clothes dryer to your home's venting system The transition duct material that most homeowners use is called flexible foil venting, but the problem is that this material does not meet code in 90 percent of cases.

The concern is that flexible foil is easily crushed by accidentally pushing the dryer too close against the wall. Crushed venting creates back pressure, a resistance to the outward air flow that leads to lint build-up. That build-up can easily ignite when it comes in contact with a dryer's heating element.

The solution can be a simple fix. Make sure your transitional duct material is solid-rigid or semi-rigid ducting.

Venting length and layout
Most dryer manufacturers indicate an allowable venting length guideline in their owners' manuals. The first important step is to know the length and layout of your venting to ensure its construction allows your appliance to work most efficiently.

Too many bends of 90 degrees in your venting can create back pressure, limiting efficiency and increasing the potential for fire.

Venting termination points
This is the spot where your venting reaches the outside of your home. The problem I most often encounter is that homeowners don't keep these termination points free of debris.

The most common type of hood for dryer vent terminations is an angled metal piece with a damper, or flap, that opens in response to air pressure. While these can be useful, it's crucial that the opening on such hoods is 4". Using screens or bird cages can be a hazard and is often in violation of code because they lead to debris buildup.

Head shot
Guest blogger Tim Reiher started Clean & Green Dryer Vent Experts, a family-owned business, in 2009, after 5 years as a corporate trainer and technical support manager for a national dryer vent franchise company. Tim also serves as an instructor for the Chimney Safety Institute of America's Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician training program.


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