You‘ve gotten your chimney and fireplace cleaned and expected for the year, so now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the winter season, right? Well, there is dryer vent actually another home appliance that most homeowners forget needs to be inspected annually. Your dryer ventilation system is also something that needs to be checked annually to see if it is in safe working order. Most homeowners know that cleaning out the dryer lint trap after every use is important for avoiding dryer fires. However, there are other steps that must be taken to ensure that your dryer is not a hazard to your home. A dryer that is not ventilating properly can cause a fire or carbon monoxide hazard. At Leonard and Sons, we put our customer’s safety above all other things. We want to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season by raising awareness about dryer ventilation and why it’s important to have your dryer vents inspected at least once a year.

Dryer Ventilation

Your dryer has a built-in ventilation system that expels hot air and gases outside of the appliance, usually through a four-inch ventilation exhaust in the back. This ventilation system is either diverted directly outdoors if it is next to an outside wall, or into your home’s main ventilation system. This ventilation system is important because it protects homeowners from toxic gas building up inside their homes and it prevents the dryer from overheating. Proper ventilation is crucial to safe-and-efficient operation of your dryer and the safety of your household.

Clogged Ventilation

Dryer ventilation is prone to clogging a number of ways. Mother nature can be harsh on your dryer’s ventilation, especially if it is diverted directly from your dryer to the outdoors. Oftentimes, in the summer, people like to use their clothesline instead of their dryer. This gives birds and other small mammals the opportunity to build nests in ventilation outlets, restricting airflow. Here in the Chicagoland area, we also need to be aware of snow blocking ventilation outlets in the winter. After it snows, it is important to make sure your ventilation is unobstructed. Also, make sure that no one starts piling snow in front of your ventilation as well.

Dryer ventilation can get clogged by lint as well. Most of the lint that your dryer produces is caught in your dryer’s lint trap, however, some lint is usually able to make it past the lint trap and gets caught in either your dryer’s exhaust or ventilation system. Normally, having a few pieces of lint in your ventilation isn’t need for much concern. However, little pieces of lint can catch on to other pieces of lint that normally would get pushed through your ventilation, acting as a collection point. If enough lint builds up in your ventilation, it can begin to restrict airflow, which will cause lint to build up more quickly until it is entirely restricted.

Hazards of a Clogged Dryer Vent

If the airflow in your ventilation system is restricted, it can cause a few issues. First, air won’t flow properly through your dryer the way it is supposed too. Without airflow pushing humid air out of your dryer, your clothes will not dry as quickly as you would like. This means you’ll be using more energy to dry your clothes, costing you time and money. Second, it can cause toxic gases such as carbon monoxide to be pushed into your home. Carbon monoxide is very dangerous because it is invisible and odorless, making nearly impossible to detect with your senses. Exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to headaches, dizziness, and even death. Finally, if your dryer isn’t venting properly, hot air can’t vent out of our dryer, causing issues with overheating. When your dryer overheats, it can catch on fire. In fact, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) estimates that approximately 2,900 home clothes dryer fires, causing 100 injuries, 5 deaths, and nearly 35 million dollars in property loss occur every year in the U.S. It also reports that nearly one-third of those fires are caused by restricted ventilation.

Staying Safe

It’s pretty easy to see why dryer safety is important to us here at Leonard and Sons. That’s why we agree with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggestion of having your dryer vent examined at least once a year. Cleaning your lint trap will help to prevent a majority of lint from getting into your ventilation, however, eventually, lint will still accumulate in your ventilation. Our ventilation technicians at Leonard and Sons have all been certified by the CSIA, meaning they have been trained to properly clean and inspect dryer ventilation. During an inspection, our ventilation technicians will make sure that your vents are working properly and may make some suggestions on which type of ventilation ducts work best for how your dryer is set up.

If it’s been over a year since your last inspection and you live in McHenry, Kane, Lake, or Cook in the Chicagoland area, we here at Leonard and Sons can help! You can call us for a CSIA-certified quality dryer vent inspection and cleaning at 847-658-7659 or check us out online to schedule an appointment today! We look forward to serving you and from our home to yours, have a safe and wonderful holiday season!