dryer selecting, how to choose a dryer, dryer vent safety.

 

There are so many considerations that go into choosing a dryer. Many more than you probably expected when you decided a new dryer was in order. Today’s tumble dryers have so many options, it could easily feel like too many. So let’s start with the basics and we’ll walk through some of the new-fangled options too.

 

Measure the space

First thing’s first: how much room can you give to your new dryer? You will not be happy if the dryer you buy is one inch too wide, so don’t eye-ball it. Bust out the tape measure and write down what you find out. Remember that a tight fit may be undesirable too, especially if you want to swing the door all the way open.

 

Hinge Side

Have you ever had a washer and dryer whose doors swing into each other? Many people have, because they weren’t careful when selecting hinge side. You don’t choose based on your dominant hand or where the door to the room is, you want your dryer to open away from the washer, so that you don’t have to lift clothes over or around the dryer door. You will be asked when ordering which side you want it to open to, since all models have the option of opening either way.

 

Electric or Gas?

With the exception of your refrigerator, nothing in your home will use more energy than your dryer, whether it’s electric or gas. There are differences between the way each type of dryer uses energy that can have a big impact on the true cost of owning and operating one over the other. All dryers use electricity to keep your clothing in motion throughout the cycle. Electric dryers also use electricity to power the heater and fan that continually blows hot air through the machine. Gas dryers power these components using natural gas or propane. Gas dryers are harder to relocate, and tend to stay with the houses they’re installed in.

 

Steam Cleaning

Our dryers used to just dry things, but these days they tend to offer more than that. Steam Cleaning cycles are starting to become available in many models. This cycle removes light stains and odors, and can be used on things that you wouldn’t normally wash, like pillows or stuffed animals.

 

Eco-Mode Settings

Most of us are trying to make our daily lives as ecologically sound as we can, or at least not do maximum damage. Today’s dryers are on our side, as many of them have eco-mode versions of most or all cycles. The eco-mode may be shorter, cooler, or otherwise energy saving.

 

Smart Dryers

If you’re not keen on keeping track of when your dryer needs maintenance or checking if your clothes are dry, there are now models that will email or text you status updates on your drying load or reminders to schedule a vent cleaning. With some models you can even ask the Google Voice Assistant ALexa questions about your dryer or laundry status.

 

The Universal Constant of Dryers

One thing that has not changed, and will not likely change, is that dryer vents need cleaned by a professional regularly for your safety. If your dryer vents haven’t been receiving regular cleanings, you may have a safety issue on your hands. Contact the Irish Sweep today to have your dryer vents made safe again.

dryer fires, lint vent screen fire, safety

 

A high number of home fires begin in your laundry room. This is usually a result of your clothes dryer, although the washer is not immune. The source of a dryer fire can be either the machine itself, or the dryer that goes away from the home. Preventing dryer fires in your Bay Area home is critical and not too difficult. Here are some facts from NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) dated June 2017.

  • Fire departments answered to approximately 15,970 home fires involving laundry rooms. These fires resulted in approximately $238 million in property damage per year, 440 injuries, and 13 deaths.
  • Of these fire calls, 92% were the result of the clothes dryers.
  • The main items in the clothes dryer that can lead to a fire are dust, fiber, or lint.
  • In 31% of clothes dryer fires, the lack of proper trap or vent cleaning is what caused it.
  • Most of the clothes dryer fires occur between August and January, which is why cleanings are recommended over the summer.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg. The following are some key steps you can take to avoid such fires:

  • Ensure that you always have your lint filter in your clothes dryer.
  • After each use, clean out the lint filter and any lint within the clothes dryer drum.
  • When you purchase or move a clothes dryer, have it installed by a professional.
  • Make sure your dryer stays in good condition. You should have it inspected annually by a professional.
  • Have the dryer vent cleaned annually.
  • Do not leave your dryer running while you are out of the house or not awake.
  • Within your venting system, use proper materials to reduce the risk.

These tips are the beginning of what you can do to reduce your risk of fires from your clothes dryer. The Irish Sweep is an expert at dryer vent cleaning. We recommend doing this each year, particularly over the summer so you avoid the risks of fires.

dryer vent lint screen safety fire

 

We’ve discussed the importance of clean dryer vents, but most people don’t even know how a dryer works and the impact the vents have on things. I wanted to take a moment and explain how dryer vents work. The following is the simplistic explanation of how clothes dryers work:

  1. Air comes to the main body of the dryer through a hole in the front.
  2. The air then passes by a heating element in the dryer and goes into its tumbler to begin drying the clothes.
  3. Afterwards, the air then goes through the holes in the door and to the lint screen.
  4. Once it’s through the lint screen, the air goes past a duct in the front of the dryer and into the fan.
  5. The dryer fan pushes the air into the duct and out through the back of the dryer where it should make its way out of the house. However, if this passageway is dirty/clogged, it can be a very serious fire hazard.

Here are descriptions of some key features of clothes dryers:

Heating element

The dryer heating element is usually made of nichrome wire. Most people do not understand this terminology but think of the wiring you see in your toaster over to make it toast your bread. The heating element uses a high amount of power, up to 6,000 watts. In order to ensure the air goes through this key piece before it goes into the tumbler area, there is a metal stamping to direct the air.

Tumbler

This piece is where you place your clothes for drying. After going through the heating element, the hot air goes through your clothes to dry them.

Door holes

Following the clothes being dried, the air then goes through holes in the dryer door and head to the lint screen.

Lint Screen

This is the dryer section that traps some of the particles that are on clothes and in the air.

Fan

This is a big device that pushes the air out of the dryer and to the outside world through a duct/dryer vent.

Dryer vents serve an important role in being a highway for the exiting air from dryers. If it gets clogged or too dirty, it poses a fire hazard. We highly recommend regular cleanings.

Now that your chimney is clean, take a moment and have your dryer vents cleaned to avoid issues and provide choices. If you have questions or want to have your Bay Area home inspected, please contact Sal at the Irish Sweep.

Impacts of a Dirty Dryer Vent

 

 

Many people who buy washers and dryers notice the rising inefficiency of their appliances over time. The wash cycle that used to take 30 minutes is now taking almost 1 hour. The dryer can no longer dry the same amount of clothes within the 30 minutes you allotted. While some of this is related to the age of the unit, water supplies, etc, this can often be attributed to dirty dryer vents. Doing regular dryer vent cleaning ensures the following:

Safety:

A dirty dryer vent has been found to pose a fire hazard. The material build-up is quite flammable and if left untreated, it is like kindling for a campfire. When moist air in the dryer is trapped, the air can build up in the dryer. A small spark can develop as metal and air meet and move quickly, and the next thing you know, a house fire has started. It is recommended that you clean your dryer vents annually to prevent issues.

Pest Control:

While the build-up of lint can be a super handy fire starter, it can also be a hidden home for those ugly pests or rodents you hate seeing in the home. Many houses have problems as a result of leaving this entryway untreated. Through proper cleaning, pests won’t find the bedding they desire or have the privacy needed to inhabit your vent as their next home.

Efficiency:

When a simple drying task is now taking twice the time, it shows that the dryer is having difficulty. What can you do? Work with your local dryer vent cleaner to get rid of its excess lint.

Now that your dryer vents are clean, take a moment and have your chimney cleaned to avoid issues and provide choices. If you have questions or want to have your Bay Area home inspected, please contact Sal at the Irish Sweep.

There’s nothing like gathering around a fireplace for warmth and ambience. However, many people are aware that fireplaces are not the most environmentally friendly way to heat your home. The amount of smoke produced by fireplaces and the inefficiency of their heating performance can be a concern. However, with these 4 innovate techniques, you can make your fire more environmentally friendly while preserving the charm of sitting around the fireplace.

Choose A Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

A wood burning fireplace insert takes the benefits of a wood burning stove and fits into the layout and structure of your traditional fireplace. Wood burning fireplace inserts are enclosed and boost the efficiency of a fireplace to 65-80% (versus 5-10% for an open fireplace).

Wood burning fireplace inserts can heat a room for 3 times longer and burns wood slower and hotter. They also keep the fireplace sealed when not in use, keeping your home warmer, more insulated and more environmentally friendly at all times.

Environmentally Friendly Fireplace, Fireplace Repair, Chimney Sweep, Orinda Chimney Service, Orinda Chimney Repair, Orinda Fireplace Service, Orinda Dryer VentConvert to a Gas Log Fireplace

A traditional fireplace can also be converted to a gas log burner for a cleaner and more environmentally friendly heating source. Gas is a slightly more expensive fuel source than wood (if you get firewood free) but it reduces the costs of fireplace maintenance. On the other hand, quality firewood can also be costly, so gas can sometimes be the more cost efficient option.

Gas logs can look and feel just like a real fireplace without the smoke, ash and chimney buildup. Because a gas log fire produces no smoke and provides more efficient heating, it’s a cleaner and more eco-friendly option when compared to an open fireplace.

Keep Your Fireplace Efficient

No matter what type of fireplace you have, keeping it efficient will make it more environmentally friendly. Regular chimney servicing clears build up and boosts efficiency, allowing wood to burn more effectively. A chimney sweep clears creosote and ash buildup from the chimney interior to improve ventilation, achieving a more complete wood burn. This helps to make your fireplace more environmentally friendly, while also reducing the risk of chimney fires.

Use Quality Wood

Wood that doesn’t burn effectively means a less eco-friendly fire and more fireplace buildup. You should never burn trash, wood with glue or paint, driftwood or moldy wood as these can release chemicals into the air. Instead, always choose hardwoods to burn on your fireplace, as these burn longer, cleaner and hotter than softwoods. Hardwoods burn more efficiently, providing more heat for longer for the same amount of carbon released. Always choose hardwoods to burn on your fire, and make sure every piece of wood burns hot.

Choosing to convert your traditional fireplace to a more environmentally friendly option means you can retain all the charm and ambience of your traditional fireplace while greatly improving the efficiency. While traditional fireplaces have a bad environmental track record, these modifications can help you enjoy a home heating luxury. Talk to your local chimney service and fireplace professional about the options for making your fireplace more environmentally friendly today.