The (UL) Underwriters Laboratories recommends dryer vent cleaning for clothes dryer safety. The UL is an independent testing laboratory that establishes standards for residential, commercial and industrial electrical products and their safety.
About 80 percent of all homes in the US have clothes dryers; that's about 82 million homes with potential fire hazards if the lint traps and dryer vent systems are not properly maintained.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that over 15,000 clothes dryer fires occur each year in the US, accounting for about 10 deaths, 300 injuries and over $84 Million in property damages. Lack of proper maintenance is the major cause of clothes dryer fires.
The Anatomy of a Clothes Dryer Fire
Each full load of laundry contains about half a gallon of water which your clothes dryer works faithfully to remove. As the laundry dries, lint is created, which also must be removed. Both the lint and the moisture leave the dryer drum through the dryer ducts to the vent outside your home. A lot of the lint is caught in the lint screen, which most people know to clean regularly; the rest goes to the dryer ducts. Some makes its way to the vent outside; some of the moist lint sticks to the sides of the ductwork, attracting more lint, eventually building up, creating a hard paste, blocking air-flow, and finally, starting a fire.
The High Cost of Energy Bills
Your clothes dryer is one of the most expensive appliances in your home to operate, accounting for about 6 percent of your utility bills. The longer the clothes dryer runs, the more it cost to operate. When the dryer vent system is clogged with lint, air-flow is restricted, causing the dryer to work much harder to perform its job. As I stated above, this eventually causes a fire, but in the meantime, it is causing the amount of your utility bills to skyrocket. When your dryer is not functioning properly, due to poor maintenance, it is estimated to cost an additional $18 - $24 per month to operate.
Dryer vent cleaning is the only solution. You can do it yourself, or hire a professional. Most average homeowners do not have the special equipment required to do a thorough job. A professional has special tools they use to get to the hard-to-reach areas of the dryer vent system. Some homes have the laundry area upstairs, where the bedrooms are. The law requires all clothes dryers to be vented to the outside of the home. In some homes, the dryer is not located near an outside wall; therefore, the dryer ducts are longer. If this is the case, you're much better off hiring a professional to inspect and clean your dryer vent system at least once a year.
Clothes Dryer Vent Brush
There is a tool available for homeowners to purchase for use in cleaning their dryer vent. A clothes dryer vent brush is a flexible, long-reaching brush that works in cleaning dryer vent systems. This brush can be used to clean the lint from behind the dryer and underneath the dryer drum as well.
The dryer vent brush has many other uses for around the house, including cleaning the coils behind the refrigerator, which also helps save on energy costs. It's great for cleaning out vacuum hoses and dusting tight spots like underneath appliances or behind heavy bookcases, desks or other furniture.
Even for the do-it-yourself homeowner, annual professional dryer vent cleaning is highly recommended to prevent dryer fires and to prolong the life of your clothes dryer while reducing your utility bills. All this said the fee for dryer vent cleaning pays for itself many times over.
Horatio Chiorean owns and operates Dryer Vent Wizard in Broward County, Florida, a professional dryer vent cleaning, repair and installation company. Horatio is happy to do a complete inspection of your dryer vent system while explaining how it works and how you can maintain it between his annual visits. Horatio is committed to preventing dryer fires in his community; he is happy to spend as much time as is necessary to educate his customers at no additional charge.