What You Should Know
1. According to FEMA, every year over 15,000 structure fires are attributed to clothes dryers. The leading cause: Failure to clean. Lint located within just two inches of your dryer’s heater intake can ignite placing you and your family in the danger zone. The NFPA recommends that all clothing dryer vents be cleaned and inspected once a year
2. Extend the life of your dryer and eliminate or reduce costly repair bills. A lint obstructed dryer vent places enormous stress on your dryer and can significantly reduce the life of the dryer and it’s parts.
3. Dramatically reduce your energy costs. A lint clogged vent restricts air flow and your dryer’s ability to exhaust heat and moisture. This can significantly increase your drying times. At $2-$3 a cycle, your dryer is one of the most expensive appliances in your home to operate. Proper airflow is critical to efficient operation and eliminating unnecessary energy costs.
4. Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide build up from gas dryers. An obstructed or damaged vent or transition tube can allow unsafe levels of carbon monoxide to accumulate in your home if you operate a gas dryer.
5. Improve your home’s air quality. A dirty or obstructed vent can cause an enormous amount of dust and particles to escape into your home and living space. We always wear a respirator when cleaning dryer vents due to the risks associated with inhaling this lint and dust.
6. Eliminate moisture build up. We see it all the time, damaged or disconnected dryer vents due to heavy lint accumulation causing the moisture from the clothes to be vented into the living space, crawl space or attic depending on the location of your dryer duct. In these situations the dryer itself can appear to be operating normally. An airflow analysis can determine if you’re venting properly and safely.
7. Plastic or foil type transition tubes used to connect a dryer to the wall have no fire resistant characteristics and actually increase lint buildup due to their ribbed design. Extreme Clean Dryer Vent Cleaning only installs Consumer Product Safety Commission approved dryer vent transitions.
Dryer Fire Research and Findings
Consumer Product Safety Commission – Final Report on Electric Clothes Dryers and Lint Ignition Characteristics (This document is 150 pages / 5.89 mb)
NFPA – Clothes Dryer Safety
Consumer Product Safety Commission – Document #5022 “Overheated Clothes Dryers Can Cause Fires”
Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines – Washer Dryer Fact Sheet
Dryer Vent Terminology
Dryer Exhaust System– The dryer exhaust system, also referred to as the dryer vent, is the combination of pipes, elbows and termination cap which carriers moist air and lint away from the dryer to a point away from the dryer.
Developed Length of Vent – The developed length of the vent pipe is the sum of the length of straight pipe + 5 feet for every 90 degree elbow + 2.5 feet for every 45 degree elbow. The developed length of the dryer vent system should be less than 25 feet.
Dryer Vent Cover – Typically used as a horizantal termination point, vent covers are normally white or brown and have louvered flaps.
Duct Pipe – Same as vent pipe, building codes specify that the duct inside walls be rigid metal pipe and should not be flexible. No flexible pipe should be used at any point hidden from sight. Ducts should be connected to each other using aluminum tape and not by screws.
Elbows 45 Degree and 90 Degree – These are found in most dryer vent exhaust systems and allow the vent to be angled to reach the termination point through the roof or side wall of the structure. Too many elbows decrease the efficiency of the dryer vent system and should be avoided.
Transition Duct or Transition Tube – The hose of pipe that is connected to the clothes dryer at one end and to the dryer vent system on the other end This duct should be made out of non-flammable material such as aluminum and can be flexible. This transition duct should be as short as possible, less than 4 feet if possible. This will help to prevent the transition duct from getting crushed behind the dryer restricting airflow. This will also help to lessen the buildup of lint in the duct.
Termination Point – Point at which the dryer vent system ends, should be at the exterior of the structure. The termination point is typically at the roof or side wall of the structure. It should not be in the attic, garage or any other enclosed space.
Rotary Brush – The method of choice for cleaning most dryer vents. The brush travels the entire length of the dryer vent releasing lint from inside the exhaust pipe.
Dryer Lint Trap – Collects a large portion of the lint your dryer produces. Should be cleaned before or after each load. Dryer sheets create an invisible film on the lint trap reducing airflow and dryer efficiency. If dryer sheets are regularly used, the lint trap should be scrubbed gently with a brush and mild detergent every couple of months.
Dryer Vent Kit – A dryer vent kit consitsts of two elbows and about 3 feet of corrugated, semi-rigid 4″ metal piping. Both elbows should be of the swivel type to allow for proper installation.
Dryer Vent Clamp – Used to connect the dryer vent transition tube to the dryer and the vent. Usually made of stainless steel.
Digital Anemometer – A device used to measure airflow. At Extreme Clean, we always take an airflow reading before and after a cleaning.
Carbon Monoxide – If you have a gas dryer, a clean dryer vent is especially important. A lint clogged or obstructed dryer vent or transition tube can cause carbon monoxide to be vented into your home.