Preventing Property Loss with a Small Step

In today’s world, houses are equipped with dryer vents to help with drying the clothes quicker. In a manner of speaking, the presence of this tool really does wonder for everyone as it eliminates the needs of having to wait for a considerably long time just to have ready-to-wear pieces of clothing. In the States, it is estimated that there are 81.5 million houses that install vent dryer. Seeing just how many houses are equipped with the dryer, it is easy for someone to argue that a fire originating from this household item is just an isolated incident; meaning, it is very rare and truly dependent on conditional factors. However, research turns over an estimation of at least 15,000 fires are related to dryer vents failure—every year. This number then amounts to an estimated 97 million dollar worth of property loss—which is not a small number at all, given the source of those cases is something as seemingly innocuous as a dryer vent. Research also gives us estimation: 92% of fires occurred in the States are attributed to dryer vents as their primary cause, while washing machines and combination of the two are accounted  for 4% each. The number is certainly startling because with a percentage that big, we sure need to question whether or not we really need to use something as risky as that.

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People seem to have a problem with cleaning up their dryer vents as 32% of the fire cases are caused by failure in conducting proper maintenance. Mechanical malfunction contributes to as big as 22% of the cases while another 8% are the result of electrical failure. Seeing that human error plays a big role in causing fires, it is totally obvious that by doing something as simple as cleaning up one’s dryer vents, loss and damage should be easy to prevent and avoid. Lint buildup is the primary trigger in dryer vents-related fire. You are probably wondering how lint, something that should never be the reason for significant property loss, could deliver a punch of that magnitude. Well, the answer lies right on the mechanism that runs internally within the dryer itself. When you load wet clothes into the dryer, there is about a gallon of water being removed and transported through the vent. In doing so, lint from the clothes is also taken along the water. Some lint may go through the vent into the outside of the house. Some may get trapped within the dryer or in the exhaust. The lint then gathers until it is big enough to hinder the flow of hot air. In the process, the dryer’s temperature rises up and overheating may follow suit. The material used in the making of the dryer vent itself also plays a role in creating fire. Venting materials of aluminum or plastic are especially vulnerable. Coupled with the aforementioned overheating, there you have a recipe for a homemade explosive.

So, how exactly can you prevent your beloved dryer from turning into a bomb? First, you need to know the signs of a dryer that needs maintenance. If your dryer meets all of the parameters below, you need to immediately do something:

  1. Things (especially those of thick material) take longer than they normally do to dry and they feel hotter after a cycle of drying.
  2. The outer section of the vent isn’t moving when the dryer is in use.
  3. It has been a year since your last maintenance.
  4. The dryer turns off even before the timer is up.
  5. Lint buildup is clearly visible.

Now that you have identified the problems, let’s do something about them:

  1. Find a professional service of dryer vent cleaning Phoenix AZ, either in installation or maintenance. Gas-powered dryer is especially sensitive so a professional should be enlisted to inspect it so that the gas line is leaks-free. Even when you think you have the skill and time, you should never take this matter into your hands by any means.
  2. Never start a drying cycle without a lint filter in place.
  3. Lint filter must be cleaned pre- and post-drying. Take the lint buildup off the filter.
  4. Make sure that the venting material is of metal material that is both rigid and flexible at the same time. This makes for proper flow of the hot air and shortened drying time.