Are You Paying Attention To Your Dryer Vents?


When you don’t have any fireplaces or chimneys to worry about, you don’t really think in terms of fireproofing your home. However, if you have seen the Farmers Insurance commercial about dryer lint, you may want to rethink that position.

The wake up call at our house was my son, who was then in the Boy Scouts of America asked me to save a bunch of lint from the dryer. When I asked him why he told me that lint was one of the best fire starters to carry on a camping trip and he needed that for an upcoming trip. I was flabbergasted as I had never heard that lint was that flammable.

I looked in the lint trap and pulled out a handful and went directly outside with matches in hand. The pile caught on fire immediately and went up in flames as I sat in unbelief. Why wasn’t I informed that this material that stretches from the middle of our home some thirty feet is this dangerous! In true parent and amateur research form, I did some digging dryer duct cleaning.

Do you know that lint form your dryer causes more fires in a home than all other types of fires including chimney fires? Do you know that most reputable chimney companies also clean dryer vents as well as some air duct cleaning companies? But that’s not all.

Did you know that lint buildup can cause your dryer to stall or take several cycles to dry? I had always thought it was the dryer itself; that something inside the appliance was actually going bad or breaking down. I’ve had several repair guys out from those unnamed department stores and not once have they recommended I clean the dryer ducts. Yet the research states that we should be cleaning these vents annually for optimum safety and appliance performance. It is estimated that you can get at least a twenty percent improvement in your dryer if you keep the vents clean and free of debris. Upon reading this information, we immediately called a local chimney company that has a great reputation in our area and asked if they did the duct cleaning for dryers and scheduled an appointment on the spot.

When they came out I asked to watch and they were happy to show me from beginning to end how it worked as well as what was in our dryer ducts. Of course, I was embarrassed to tell them we had lived in our home for five years and never considered cleaning the vent from the dryer.

As I looked in the outside vent, to me, it didn’t look so bad. However, when I saw what came out of that thirty foot run I was amazed and grateful that my son had asked me for that dryer lint for camping. I picked up a handful and tucked it into a baggy to hand over to him as the crew cleaned up every piece that had spilled out of the outside vent.

I asked them if this was normal and they were very nice to tell me several stories of what they had seen from lint totally covering the floor of an attic (the builder had run the vent into the attic and not to the outside) to the difficulty of cleaning in some apartments and condos due to the long runs that can be in excess of one hundred feet.

I had never thought it necessary to make sure these vents were clean but I will tell you that as long as I use a dryer my family will calling a professional to come each year and clean our dryer vents. I recommend that you do as well and keep your family safe and your dryer running really well.

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