Any business or home with a clothes tumble dryer in frequent use must also have its ducts and vents cleaned regularly. This is especially important for commercial-sized drying facilities or anything in commercial use as higher volume results in higher risk. While mandatory cleaning is regulated and required annually for vent and duct cleaning in any business premises, most cleaning experts would recommend it more frequently, at least on a bi-annual basis. Why is that? Because the more regular cleaning, the more efficiently and safely machines will run. This saves both time and money while preventing circumstances that cause severe damage to your property that will put you out of business altogether, including fire, poisonous leaks, unnecessarily higher costs, and health hazards. All of these are explored below to help you assess your dryer safety.
One of the most significant reasons to keep tumble dryer ducts and vents clean is to prevent fires which is a safety catastrophe for any company or home. These large-scale and high-volume machines can collect excessive debris and lint in the duct and vent lines. Lint is an excellent firestarter, and with the additional heat from appliances creating the perfect ignition environment, it’s no wonder ducts are a common ignition point for dryer fires. These types of fires account for around 15,500 fires each year. Dryer vent cleaning is the easiest prevention method to avoid this outcome. With such a simple preventer available, there is no reason for these fires to happen if maintained. Cleaning your ducts and vents can save serious property damage and loss of life while preventing injuries. For more information on the UK’s fire legislation, take a look here.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Another significant danger, especially if your dryer runs off a gas system, is carbon monoxide poisoning. This hazard is created by restricted airflow that clogged ducts cause as it forces toxic chemicals back into the home or workspace instead of releasing them. There are hospitalisations and death nationwide each year, some from clogged dryer systems. Also known as a ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide is a real danger and can overtake people without warning as it is scentless. While in the UK, monitoring with carbon monoxide alarms is mandatory and also be prevented where possible in the first place with regular cleaning and duct unclogging.
Neglecting dryer ducts and vents can have more downsides than just the disastrous consequences of fire. Excess debris and lint can cause clogging and cause the machines to break down more often, decreasing business efficiency. The need for devices to work harder to do the same job can also create a lower energy use rating. Without regular vent cleaning, the debris build-up certainly affects the ventilation system. With this reduction, the air quality will reduce, causing restricted airflow and longer drying times. This will end up costing time, energy, and money for a business. Regular cleaning conversely means clothes dry faster with less wear on clothes and cheaper utility bills. Win-win all around.
Eliminating Mould and Mildew
A dryer has one job – to extract moisture from clothes, drying them fast and efficiently. This process only works well if the system is free from lint, debris, mould and mildew. If damp lint is allowed to sit in the ducts, this, unfortunately, creates a breeding ground for all the substances you don’t want, including toxic mould and staining mildew. These problems can cut machine efficiency, but when heated, as dryers are bound to do, they can create breathing and health issues for anyone working or living around the machine and grow further away from the machines, causing problems in walls and ceilings. Prevention ultimately is always better than trying to scramble for a cure, and it’s easy regular cleaning.
A Few Signs You’re Due for a Duct and Vent Clean
There are a few warning signs that mean your ducts and vents are clogged and well overdue for a clean.
- The dryer doesn’t dry clothes in one single cycle and may need to be run several times. While this is occasionally a dryer mechanics issue, more often, the problem is moisture can’t escape through clogged ducts. The damp stays in the machine, keeping the clothes damp and sometimes smelly.
- If you find lint gathering beyond just the lint-catching filter, there is a good chance that much more has already been collected in the ducts and vents. Once it has settled there, it can cause myriad issues for machine workings.
- The exterior vent won’t open, or you’re unable to feel air escaping when the machine is turned on. If there is no air able to be felt flowing from the outlet, then it’s most likely blocked in the ducting.
- If there is any scent of something burning, your ventilation issue has become critical, and it’s the most recognisable sign that your machines are in danger of starting a fire. It’s vital to stop the dryer immediately and have the situation assessed and complete a duct clean before using the dryer again. A burning smell means something is smouldering somewhere, even if not yet a full blaze.
- If clothes are too hot to touch after the cycle is finished, it can mean that the dryer is having trouble pushing the hot air out to cool items at the end. This is just one more indicator that your ducts need cleaning.
Call a Professional For Your Next Tumble Dryer Duct Clean
It’s always recommended to enlist the help of a professional for your dryer vent cleaning, and duct cleaning as experienced services can save you or your business time and effort while ensuring the job is completed properly every time. A good cleaner will bring the proper equipment, whether that be a vacuum, air compressor, and anything else needed for the job, while also having all the knowledge and experience to ensure your ducts and vents are always ready to go. They can also easily see possible concerns that require repair before they break, saving on costly repairs in future.