Cary, NC — Local firefighter Jimmy Spero shares with us the importance of keeping your dryer vent clean in order to prevent house fires.
Clothes aren’t getting dry anymore?
It might be more serious than you think.
You don’t ever have to remind a firefighter to change the batteries in his family’s smoke detectors. We do it twice a year at the same time that we set our clocks forward or backward. We do it because we know how important it is to be alerted to smoke in the home, and we know how many lives those smoke detectors save.
Another thing you don’t have to remind a firefighter to do is to clean her dryer vents regularly. That’s because, out of every 20 or so fires that we respond to, one of them is going to have been started by a dryer. About a third of those are caused by the owner’s failure to properly clean the dryer vent and duct work. In 2010 alone, these dryer fires caused 51 deaths—all of them preventable—and $216 million in property damage.
Here’s how it happens.
In a perfect world, every dryer would be located against an exterior wall of a house with less than eight feet of duct work between the dryer and the great outdoors. But, in reality, niches are often carved out for washers and dryers wherever a homeowner can find space—interior closets, bathrooms, basements, etc.
This means that the necessary duct work often travels between floors and through interior walls, twisting and turning around obstacles before reaching its destination. At every juncture, lint and dryer debris accumulate. As the blockage grows, the trapped air gets hotter and hotter and can eventually cause the accumulated material to ignite.
Keep your dryer vent clear and clean.
The good news is that it’s easy to prevent that kind of scenario by simply having your vents cleaned out once a year. Pick a day that’s easy to remember, like a half-birthday or daylight savings time, and put it on your calendar. But, if you notice any of these warning signs, schedule a cleaning immediately:
- A “burnt” smell around your dryer
- The dryer is operating inefficiently (taking two or three cycles to get clothes dry)
- The outside of the dryer is hot to the touch
More good news—it’s a lot cheaper to get your vents cleaned than you probably think. At J-N-J we charge between $55-65 per vent, which is about the cost of dinner for two. We are fully insured, and all of the work is done by local firefighters who understand the importance of doing the job thoroughly and correctly.