Dryer vents are the one aspect of home maintenance that is continuously overlooked. Since the dryer vents are out of sight and out of mind, homeowners do not think to pull out the dryer and give this area a regular cleaning. This is a serious mistake, as allowing a buildup to occur can have devastating results.
According to FEMA, almost 3,000 residential fires are reported every year which are directly related to dryers. These fires cause approximately over 100 injuries and about five deaths every year. The percentages of fires are at the highest in January, accounting for about 11 percent of the yearly total. Of all of these fires, about 34 percent are attributed to a dirty dryer vent.
In addition to the fire concerns are performance concerns. If the vent is not clean, it will hinder the dryer’s ability to properly dry your clothing. One cycle may not be enough to get the clothing dry, resulting in the dryer running more than is usually necessary. This, obviously, will lead to higher energy bills every month, putting extra stress on the family’s overall finances.
Homeowners can do preventive maintenance by vacuuming out the dryer vent every couple of months. However, it is still recommended to have a professional cleaning done on an annual basis to ensure that everything is removed from the system. While home vacuum cleaners are okay for monthly maintenance, they simply do not have the power of industrial vacuums used in professional cleaning.
There are enough things that can go wrong to create a home fire that homeowners have little control over, but this is not one of them. Dryer vent fires are truly preventable, and a little home maintenance and annual cleaning will go a long way in making sure that your home and family do not fall victim to a needless tragedy.