If you’re like most Americans, you probably do laundry at least a couple of times a week. And that number could be higher if you have children. It has been reported that a typical family of four in the United States averages 300 loads of laundry annually which comes up to about 5 loads of wash per week. Not only is a lot detergent being used but the amount of lint buildup from the clothes also increases.

Have you ever had your dryer vent cleaned? A clogged dryer vent can cause a fire. The US Fire Administration reports 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year; causing an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.

Many of them, 1/3 or 34 percent were preventable as failure to clean the dryer vent was the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. As December rolls into January, we have to be more vigilant with lint removal as home clothes dryer fires peak in January.

Why does it matter if some lint buildup occurs? Two things come to mind safety and cost

It only takes a few minutes to clean your lint trap or dryer filter after each use. In most cases that might be enough if you don’t use your dryer too often. However, your filter may still be clogged if you use fabric softener sheets in the dryer.

The immediate danger is that over time air flow becomes restricted due to lint buildup causing the exhaust gases to get redirected back into the dryer, creating the conditions that can cause a fire to start. The exterior exhaust vent is an area where lint and debris buildups up around the outdoor dryer flap which can prevent it from closing properly.

Not only is it safer to have the exterior of the dryer free of any obstructions but  dryers with a buildup of lint use more energy that costing as much as $30 more every month. You’ll also have use the dryer longer to get your clothes dry. The longer and harder that your dryer has to work, the sooner it will break down.

Here are some signs that might mean that it’s time to look into a dryer vent cleaning:

– Does it seem that it takes longer than usual for your clothes to dry? A clogged dryer vent prevents the hot air to exhaust properly resulting in damp or wet clothes at the end of the cycle.

– Do you notice a distinct burning smell when your clothes are drying? I don’t have to tell you that lint is highly flammable and can ignite quite easily. If you smell something burning turn the dryer off right away and determine the source.

– If your clothes are very hot when they come out of the dryer, almost too hot to touch, then you might have a dryer vent that is clogged. The heat can’t escape stays in your clothes because it can’t escape.

We suggest that dryer vents really need to be cleaned once a year if used regularly but more often if you do a lot of laundry in your home. Don’t become another statistic; take the time to have your dryer vent cleaned. Don’t take any chances with your home. PCS, your Houston chimney cleaning pro’s, Keeping You Safe, Keeping You Warm!