According to the United States Fire Administration, more than one-third of the 2,900 home clothes dryer fires each year are caused by homeowners’ failure to keep their dryers clean.
However, fires are not the only the only way a dryer can cause costly damages to your home. Regardless of whether your dryer runs on electricity or natural gas, the potential for not just fires, but also higher energy bills and wasted time, is greatly increased if your dryer vents are not well-maintained.
1. Dangerous Heat
Obviously, the high likelihood of fire is the most dangerous effect of skipping regular dryer vent cleaning. A buildup of lint, when combined with the heat created inside your dryer could cause a spark to occur while you are out at work or while your family is sleeping.
Not only that, the lack of ventilation will cause your dryer to work harder and build up more heat than usual. This excess heat may cause electrical wiring systems to overheat and possibly short-circuit or spark.
Finally, your family’s clothes will not dry normally. There will be higher heat inside the dryer, but somehow the clothes will seem as if they take longer to fully dry. This excessive heat will damage most fabrics and cause shrinkage.
2. Expensive Utilities
Reportedly, the first indication of an issue for most homeowners is a sudden spike in their utility bills. This is not simply because the dryer is running longer than normal.
Aside from running longer, dryers that need the vents cleaned will actually work harder and will, therefore, use more energy to dry a standard load of laundry.
In addition, air conditioning systems will constantly try to counteract the heat not being released through the vent. Your home’s thermostat will keep your A/C operating more often and for longer periods of time, which will also raise your utility costs.
3. Wasted Time
Automatic appliances were designed to save time and make our lives easier, but the opposite can be quite true if they aren’t properly maintained. The extended drying times caused by clogged dryer vents are sure to cut into your other responsibilities as you wait, and check, and wait again, for your laundry to dry.
To top it off, dryer lint filters will fill up faster and have to be cleaned more often. While it is recommended that you empty these filters after each load, clogged vents may cause them to fill up before a load has even completed its drying cycle.
An even bigger chore than cleaning the filters, the dryer itself may develop a musty odor that can permeate your laundry. Caused by residual moistures, this odor is not easy to remove. It will require both your time and your money to resolve.
The need to keep your family safe and healthy is probably of great concern to you, but luckily, there are steps you can take that can put your mind at ease. With regular service, your dryer will keep running at optimal capacity while saving your hard-earned money and protecting your family.