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Is Your Dryer Vent Safe?

Is Your Dryer Vent Safe?

Laundry is a never-ending chore. Just as you finish one load, another one is waiting to be done. Thanks to modern appliances, like the clothes dryer, doing the laundry isn’t as tedious and time-consuming as it could be. When you do your laundry, however, you probably don’t give your dryer much thought; you just toss the damp clothing in, turn it on, and wait for the buzzer to go off. That’s a big mistake, however, because believe it or not, your dryer could be a ticking time bomb just waiting to blow.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), tens of thousands of dryer fires occur in the United States each year. The vast majority of these fires are the result of poor airflow due to improper venting. That’s pretty sobering information. Now that you know your dryer can be a serious fire hazard, you’re probably wondering what you can do to minimize the risk and improve your safety.

There is a simple solution, and that’s cleaning out the dryer vent. Not the lint trap (which you should be cleaning out after each use, too), but the dryer vent; the long hose that connects your dryer to the exterior of your home. Like the lint trap, the dryer vent needs to be properly cleaned on a regular basis. If you don’t know the last time your dryer vent was cleaned or you know for a fact that it’s never been cleaned (well tell you right now, it’s definitely time to), you might be wondering if it’s safe to use the appliance.

Below, we highlight some of the telltale signs that indicate it’s time to have your dryer vent cleaned.

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What is a Dryer Vent and Why does it Need to Be Cleaned?

A dryer vent is a long tube. One end is connected to the back of your dryer and the other end is directed out of your home. The vent serves two purposes: it draws in outdoor air, which the dryer heats and circulates around your laundry to dry it, and it exhausts the damp air that is drawn out of the laundry out of your house. Without the vent, the dryer won’t function.

So, why does it need to be cleaned? Well, as your laundry rotates around your dryer, small fibers, threads, hair, and other debris fall off. This is referred to as “lint”. The lint not only collects in the lint trap, but it also travels up into the vent. Eventually, that lint can create a clog, which can not only reduce the efficiency of the appliance, but it can also increase the risk of a fire.

Signs You Need to Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned

So, how do you know when it’s time to have your dryer vent cleaned? As mentioned above, if you can’t remember the last time it was cleaned or you’ve never had it cleaned, then it’s definitely time to do so. If you’ve had it serviced, however, the following are some telltale signs that indicate it’s time for another cleaning.

Longer Drying Time

Is it taking your laundry longer than usual to dry? When the buzzer goes off, if your clothing still feels damp, it’s probably because the dryer vent is blocked. When too much lint accumulates inside the vent, air won’t flow through the appliance properly. As a result, instead of ventilating out, the hot, damp air will remain trapped inside your dryer, and recirculate around your clothes.

Excessive Heat

Does the exterior of your dryer feel hot to the touch? Does your laundry room feel hotter than normal? If so, your dryer vent is probably clogged. When the vent is blocked, instead of exhausting out of your house, the hot air the dryer generates remains trapped in the appliance and exhausts into your house; hence the increased temperature.

Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell when your dryer is running, turn it off immediately! There’s a chance that lint trapped inside the vent is heating up too much and it’s starting to burn. This is a very dangerous situation that cannot be ignored. If you suspect a fire, vacate your home and call the fire department immediately. After the situation has been assessed, you’re going to want to have your dryer vent cleaned right away.

Schedule an Appointment with New Jersey’s Dryer Vent Cleaning Professionals

Don’t put yourself and your family in danger! Contact Apex Chimney Repairs to find out how our licensed professionals can improve your safety. For more information, to request a free price quote, or to schedule an appointment, call 732.314.7171 or submit an online contact form today!

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