PRIORITY HOME MAINTENANCE: Dryer Vent Cleaning
Increase your appliances efficiency while eliminating a potential fire hazard.
As a Home Inspector, I see a lot of dirty dryer vents – some completely clogged with lint and even birds’ nests. It’s something that too often gets overlooked by even the most conscientious of homeowners. Possibly because most of us think that if we clean the lint trap before each load, we’re doing good. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as lint also bypasses the internal filter, getting into not only the vent house, but also inside the dryer. Which is why my number one reason for bringing this to the attention of my clients is that according to FEMA, failure to clean accounted for thirty four percent (34%) of ALL clothes dryer fires in residential buildings” (TFRS Volume 13, Issue 7).
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) research, between 2010-2014 U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. These fires resulted in annual losses estimated at:
- 13 civilian deaths;
- 440 civilian injuries; and,
- $238 million in direct property damage.
The NFPA also found that between 2010-2014, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires were dust, fiber, or lint (27%) and clothing (26%). In washing machine fires, the leading items first ignited were electrical wire or cable insulation (26%) and appliance housing and casing (24%). It’s to be noted that in most of these home fires involved clothes dryers (92%), with the leading cause (31%) of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean.
Another reason that I bring this to the attention of my clients is Energy Efficiency. In a study between a clogged vent and a clean vent, it was found that there was a substantial time, energy, and financial savings between the two:
While you could hire a professional to clear out the vent for you, this is also job that you can do yourself. The NFPA has released this educational video with some safety tips to help prevent clothes dryer fire, and you can find additional information at http://www.nfpa.org/safetytips