October is Fire Safety and Prevention Month, and it is a perfect time to do a fire safety check list.
Did you know that there are approximately 15,600 dyer fires each year resulting in 20 deaths and 370 injuries and over $99Million in direct property loss?” (Consumer Products Safety Commission)
These tragic statistics can be prevented with simple, routine maintenance. Lack of maintenance is the number one reason for dryer fires, according to Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a respected product testing organization. When consumers do not clean the lint traps or have the vent systems professionally cleaned, they can clog and are running risk of fire.
A clothes dryer works by forcing hot air through a turning drum. Wet clothes placed in the drum are then dried by moving hot air. It is possible for a full load of wet clothes to contain as much as one and a half gallons of water. Lint, consisting mostly of small fibers from the clothes and debris in or on the clothes, is created from the clothes as the clothes tumble in the drum. While much of the lint is trapped by the dryer’s filter, lint is also carried through the vent system along with moist air. Lint is a highly combustible material that can accumulate both in the dryer and in the dryer vent. Accumulated lint leads to clogs. Clogs happen when lint bypasses your dryer’s lint filter and builds up in your dryer venting system resulting in reduced airflow which poses a potential fire hazard. In addition to the accumulation of lint, blockages can also occur when squirrels, chipmunks and birds make nests in your venting system. This can cause your dryer to work too hard, run longer, overheat and potentially lead to a fire.
Cleaning the lint trap after every use will only remove a portion of lint generated: some excess lint will travel into the dryer vent leading to a clog which reduces adequate airflow. When your dryer’s vent hose becomes crushed between the wall and your dryer, clogging occurs quicker, causing a safety hazard. If your dryer is taking longer to dryer your clothes or hotter than normal, or if you notice condensation around the duct system, it most likely means your dryer vent is clogged and you should call a professional as soon as possible.
It is recommended to have your residential air ducts cleaned about every 3 years, while commercial buildings should be cleaned every year. This will help clean out any dust, dirt or other build up in the air ducts that could potentially cause allergies, illness or even a fire. Anytime there is a buildup of dust, dirt or any flammable substance, there is a potential chance of fire.
Another important item not to overlook is your air filters. These should be replaced every 30 days to help cut down on excess dust and dirt circulating through your air ducts and vents.
While there is not a state mandate yet for chimney inspections, it is strongly recommended that you have a professional inspect and clean your chimney and fireplace every year. These routine inspections will ensure that your fireplace and chimney are burning efficiently. Routine cleanings will eliminate creosote buildup in the chimney that could cause a fire and severe damage to your home.
Have you ever wondered what the chimney looks like up there? Ever think of sticking your head up the flue? Think again.
Many types of creatures find the safety of your chimney flue to be desirable. The make nests, sleep and even raise families in your chimney flue. Therefore, before you burn your first fire, have it professionally inspected by a CSIA certified technician to ensure your chimney is good to go.
Chimney Safety Tips
- Have your fireplace inspected once a year
- Have your chimney cleaned after each cord of wood burned
- Use only hard seasoned wood
- Burn hot fires and limit the amount of smoke
- Keep items away from the front of your fireplace
- Inspect the outside chimney chase periodically
Also, if you just moved into a new home it is important to have your dryer vents, air ducts and chimney (if you have one) inspected and cleaned. Since it is uncertain the last time these items were properly cared for, you want to ensure your home is clean and safe from fire hazards and allergens. Giving you a fresh start with less worries in your new home. Give Apex a call today to schedule an appointment: 732.257.4590