A version of this post originally appeared on The Kinney Company blog.
Ever get that niggling feeling in your stomach when you turn on the dryer as you’re leaving for work? If you do, you’ve got a healthy wariness for the fallibility of household appliances and perhaps more so for the ones that produce heat. (The other possibility is that you don’t feel like going to work.)
According to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, over 15,000 clothes dryer fires occur in the U.S. every year, and 80% of those fires are caused by clogged dryer vents. For safety, the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association recommend yearly dryer vent inspections. In addition to reducing the risk of fire, clear dryer vents decrease drying times and prevent the overheating that can damage clothing, thus reducing energy costs and increasing the lifespan of your dryer and your wardrobe.
Do-It-Yourself kits are available for about $20 at home improvement stores, but a professional inspection and cleaning is more effective, especially if your dryer is not located next to an exterior wall. (A centrally located exhaust vent needs to snake around inside your walls to its exit point, making it much more difficult to clean.) DIY kits sometimes don’t cut the mustard, and the cleaning elements may break off inside your ductwork. (You’ll definitely be calling the professionals to have those removed!) Most importantly, you may be left with a false sense of security that your vent is safe when it still poses a fire hazard.
To see how much a professional cleaning would set you back, I contacted a local business with a 5-star Yelp review that specializes in dryer vent cleaning. For the flat rate of $129 + tax, they will pull out the dryer, snake out the entire vent with a 4-inch rotating brush, and remove the debris with a high-powered vacuum. This particular provider is fully insured, provides a 6-month warranty, and provides same or next day service. I recommend the professionals.
Routine maintenance is easy to overlook, but it’s the best insurance for providing safety and security for your family. Luckily, all that long-term care shows when it’s time to sell and helps you get the best price for your home.
~Lazan Pargaman, Realtor®
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