Hope you saw Steve on Great Day St. Louis!
I’ve read that a clogged dryer vent is a fire hazard. Why is it a fire hazard and how do I clean it?
A clogged dryer vent can indeed be a fire hazard. If you think about the vent being stuffed with lint and the hot dryer air trying to get past it, it isn’t difficult for a fire to get started. I’ve heard that hikers sometimes take a small bag of dryer lint with them to help get a campfire started. That should give you an idea of the danger.
If you don’t clean your vent regularly, you might notice that the dryer takes longer to dry a load of clothes. In most cases, there is nothing wrong with the dryer, it’s just that the circulation of the heat is reduced by not being able to exit. Cleaning the vent and keeping it clean can likely reduce the running time of the dryer.
The easiest way to clean a dryer vent is to use an electric leaf blower, if you have one. Begin by moving the dryer out to gain access to where the vent goes into the wall. Remove the vent hose, which is usually attached to the dryer with a 3” or 4” clamp. Loosening the clamp with a screwdriver will allow you to do remove it. For the leaf blower, you’ll need an attachment to go on the motor body (instead of attaching the long tube pieces that are normally used). We use a PVC 4” to 3” reducer, but this may not fit perfectly for all leaf blowers, so you may end up just taping this reducer to the end of the leaf blower.
Next, on the outside of the house, remove the vent cover housing, if you’re able. Sometimes these housings are just screwed on, so removing it shouldn’t be difficult. Then, insert the leaf blower where the dryer vent begins at the dryer location and let the air blow all of the lint out. This may take a few minutes. It is also a good idea to physically check the outside housing, as sometimes the lint may build up here, just before it exits the house. If so, just remove as much as you can here by hand, then run the leaf blower again. Afterwards, it’s just a matter of putting things back the way they were.
If you don’t have an electric leaf blower, you may have to disassemble the duct work in order to clean it. If you have the solid, rigid ducts, this can take quite a bit of time. If you have the flexible ducts, it is usually easier to simply replace it, as the cost is about $15, and no matter what you do, you’ll never get all of the lint out of them.
We recently moved into a new home, and I’m noticing a damp smell in the basement. Also, my son seems to be experiencing more symptoms of his allergies. Can this be related?
Great question! I’ve recently been getting a number of calls regarding allergies and asthma related issues. So many in fact, that I recently received training from the National Center for Healthy Housing, receiving their Healthy Homes Specialist credential and am partnering with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter (AAFA-STL) to help get the word out on how our home environment can affect our family’s health.
The program consists of many different issues surrounding seven basic premises:
Keep it dry, keep it clean, keep it ventilated, keep it pest-free, keep it safe, keep it contaminant-free, and keep it maintained.
Ignoring any one of these categories can cause issues that will affect allergy and asthma sensitive individuals.
As an example, if you are noticing a damp smell in your basement, chances are that water is penetrating the interior somehow. Dampness in drywall, even cement, especially in a dark area, can lead to mold, which in itself can cause allergy symptoms in sensitive individuals. In addition, if the area is moisture, it can also attract ants and other bugs, which can also trigger reactions.
Mold and moisture can affect individuals greatly, causing upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, wheezing, as well as asthma symptoms. Keeping things dry is a key factor.
Through our recent training to become a certified healthy homes inspector in conjunction with AAFA-STL, we have developed a 65-point, whole house inspection for families who deal with allergy and asthma issues to help identify and remedy environmental issues that can cause problems. We’re offering this inspection at a reduced rate of $90 through the end of this year for anyone affiliated with or who mentions AAFA-STL when scheduling their appointment (normal value is $140). What’s more exciting about this inspection is that for every five purchased, Get It Done is offering one hour of service to AAFA-STL clients.
AAFA-STL is a nonprofit organization has been serving the asthmatic and allergic needs of the St. Louis community for over 31 years. AAFA-STL’s medical assistance program, Project Concern, provides uninsured and underinsured children with life-saving asthma and allergy medications, equipment, education, and support. Our educational programs and resources reach families, schools, and nurses all over the Greater St. Louis area. (www.aafastl.org)
Get It Done is celebrating our 17th year in business!
We wouldn’t be here with our wonderful customers who trust us with your homes! Each year we recommit ourselves to our goal of providing the best quality service and craftsmanship you can find.
We’re offering a special discount for NEW customers this month! Be sure to pass this along to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers!
During the month of September — new customers who mention this discount will receive 50% off their first hour of service.
That’s 1/2 hour of free labor on any job booked using our hourly rate (sorry but this discount can’t be applied to jobs requiring written estimates).
Ask THE Handyman St. Louis