Now that you know your dryer vent should be cleaned semi-annually, here are some things to look out for. You may need a dryer vent cleaning annually or as these issues arise.
- When it takes longer for your clothes to dry than it used to.
- If your dryer is running hot. (Check to see if the top surface is hot to the touch)
- If you cannot remember cleaning your dryer vent in the past.
- If you dry a lot of fuzzy blankets, or have multiple animals.
Paying attention to these things can reduce the risk of a fire and increase the efficiency of your dryer. These tips will help you keep your dryer working properly for more years.
If you’re wondering how often you should have your dryer vent cleaned; the answer is about every 2 years. According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, 15,000 fires occur each year due to obstructed airflow because of lint buildup in consumer clothes dryers. Lint from textiles (clothes) is extremely flammable.
Not only is a clean dryer vent more safe, it’s also more efficient. A dryer vent clogged with lint reduces airflow so your dryer doesn’t dry as efficiently as it used to. An inefficient dryer wastes energy, wastes money and presents a fire danger to your home.
Check out our blog for more information about dryer vents.
It is good practice to check if your damper is open before EVERY fire. Some dampers become loose and can close on their own. Sometimes a relative or child can close a damper without informing other members of the household. If you find a rusted, warped or worn damper when you check it – Call Mike’s Mobile! We have a replacement damper with an AIR-TIGHT seal that mounts on the TOP of your chimney. Old-style metal throat dampers can cost you over $200 a year in lost energy. Upgrading to a Lock-Top damper keeps air inside, so that no heat or air-conditioning gets lost up your chimney.
Professional chimney technicians identify potential chimney problems when they do cleanings and inspections. Some problems, however, are more easily diagnosed with the homeowner’s help since you can identify them as they have to do with particular burning situations when we might not be around. The following guide is written especially for homeowners who have issues with a smoking chimney.
Consult with this checklist to gain control of your smoking chimney. If you’re still having problems call Mike’s Mobile today and we can help!
Chimneys use a lot of air to fuel their fires. This air has to come from somewhere. Some houses are so air tight that a negative-pressure system can develop, ensuring that your fire will not draft properly. This problem can be made worse by other appliances competing for the same air (i.e. Range hoods, bathroom vents, clothes dryers, forced draft services.
Fortunately this problem is very easy to diagnose. If your chimney is beginning to smoke you can crack a nearby window or door and the draft should fix itself. Mike’s mobile can install an air vent for makeup air if this is your problem. These vents can be closed when not in use so energy is not wasted.
Firewood should be completely seasoned- any excess moisture in the wood takes energy out of the fire and can cause a weak draft. Firewood should be properly sized for the fireplace- it might be necessary to split logs to have smaller, dryer wood.
If your fireplace smokes or has draft issues when the wind blows it is usually because the chimney is too short (or too close to nearby structures) Don’t worry, you don’t have to replace the chimney. This can be corrected in a variety of ways; Mike’s Mobile has special wind blocking caps or flue extender caps that can fix this problem at a reasonable cost to you.
Although it’s a small piece of equipment, a fireplace grate should not be overlooked. Fireplace grates maintain consistent airflow around a fire which aids in complete combustion (a cleaner burning fire!). If your chimney tends to smoke towards the end of your burning season, you may be in need of a new fireplace grate. A fireplace grate also performs a variety of other important fire burning and safety functions.
Fire place grates are usually available seasonally at your local hardware store (be sure to get the correct size for your fire box opening) or, we carry a full selection of high quality grates all year around! To get the correct size grate, measure the smallest width of your fire box (usually the back).
If you’re having smoking issues you may have a cold chimney. Exterior masonry chimneys are known for giving homeowners fits. However, a little knowledge can go a long way. Exterior masonry chimneys collect moisture when not in use (GREAT reason to have a chimney cap!) and are often much colder than the rest of your house when starting a fire. If fireplace gasses cool off before the smoke exits the chimney, a draft is going to be weak or non-existent. It is important to get a good draft and a strong fire going right away. If this is an issues you are having you will notice that starting fires gets easier the more often you use your chimney since it dries out throughout the season.
Is your chimney clean or dirty? When was the last time you’ve had your chimney cleaned? If you burn often, your chimney should be cleaned after every cord of wood that is burned. Soot and creosote buildup can seriously affect the performance of your chimney. Birds, small animals, leaves, twigs, bees, etc are some of the things we see on a daily basis clogging up chimneys. Chimney caps help without outside debris, but there is no replacement for an annual chimney inspection or cleaning.