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The Worst Fire Hazard in Your Home Is Not What You Thought – Your Dryer Vent

Most homeowners don’t realize that one of the biggest fire risks in their home isn’t that candle left unattended or the cigarette butted in the planter – but in fact is something that nearly every home has, a dryer vent. Dryer vents were traditionally installed in places in the home that could be vented directly to the outside of the home without excessive length or bends. Usually this is in the basement where the mechanical room and floor drain is located. A straight dryer vent vented outside of the basement or main floor is easily maintained and unclogged therefore decreasing any fire hazard associated with the very flammable dryer lint, which accumulates inside dryer vents.

Most homes today feature laundry rooms that are located in other locations with convenience for homeowners in mind. While that off-the-bedroom laundry room may save you time, the dryer vent that exhausts out is most likely longer than what is advised due to the location of the room, has multiple elbows and bends, and exhausts out of the roof or upper level of the home. All of these factors make the dryer vent harder and more expensive to maintain, as more labor is required. These factors also increase the fire risk, as a long and bendy vent is more easily clogged than a straight vent.

Unfortunately, the deficiencies of present day dryer vents do not end there. Many homes feature dryer vents that use materials and exhaust hoods not up to code that pose serious safety hazards. As per our NAIT certified Gasfitter (A) Journeymen on staff as well as current building codes, residential dryer vents should not have any filtering screens at the exhaust hood. Any type of screen can obstruct the vent with dryer lint and makes it impossible to properly clean your dryer vent.

In fact, our servicemen just encountered one such screen that severely obstructed the customer’s dryer vent and impacted the performance of her dryer, requiring longer dryer cycles. When our serviceman took a closer look at the dryer vent he found the following screen completely plugged with lint as seen below. If not for removing this screen and unclogging the vent, this customer’s dryer would have surely risked breaking down due to overheating. Or even worse, the hot dryer lint could have ignited in the clogged vent!

Dryer vents should not be installed with plastic flexible venting. Plastic venting is not heat resistant creating a severe fire hazard. Our Gasfitters recommend replacing any plastic dryer venting with smooth metal finish venting. This is an economical and simple retrofit, which Four Seasons can provide to eliminate the fire risk associated with plastic venting.

Knowing the location, length, and construction of your dryer vent is essential to ensuring a safe and efficient home. Fortunately we can help you if you find that your dryer vent is just not up to snuff. We can clean and inspect your dryer vent regularly to ensure you never have to worry of a fire hazard and enjoy the full performance and efficiency of your dryer. If you need a repair to your existing dryer vent or need a substandard dryer vent replaced we can handle this retrofit easily with our service crew. Even if you are not sure if your dryer vent is safe, scheduling a furnace and duct cleaning maintenance will allow our serviceman to perform a service and detail any additional servicing required to your dryer vent on your included report.

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