Dryer Vent Cleaning and Maintenance – Winter Time Carbon Monoxide Warning

Dryer vent cleaning is very important maintenance to prevent dryer fires, increased energy bills and mold and mildew damage. Dryer vent cleaning and maintenance is especially important if you have a gas dryer. Poorly vented gas appliances can cause carbon monoxide to enter your home.

During the winter months, heavy accumulation or drifting snow can block vents on the outside of homes. Most dryer vents are just a couple feet above the ground. When they become blocked by snow the dryer is unable to release heat and moisture from laundry. The dryer vent system is also responsible for venting gas by-products, including carbon monoxide, from your home.

The snowstorm that hammered the east coast prompted New York lawmakers to require everyone in the state to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. Amanda’s Law went into effect after a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2009.

Battery-powered detectors can be installed in homes built before 2008. Newer homes must have hard-wired alarms installed. The law also requires contractors to put in a CO detector when they replace a gas furnace or water heater.

Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased at hardware stores. They set off an alarm when CO levels reach a threatening level. It is important that people follow the instructions and install the detector properly. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless. It is slightly heavier than air, but warm currents will mix it with the existing air in a room.

Alarms should be installed in a central location outside each bedroom and on every level of the home. Fire officials do not recommend putting them on the ceiling. CO detectors should be checked every month to be sure they are in good working order. They should also be replaced if they are over 10 years old.

Carbon monoxide is more of a threat in the winter time because homes are closed up tight to conserve energy. It doesn’t take much to make people sick. Carbon monoxide forms when fuels burn incompletely. High levels and extended exposure can be deadly.

The National Fire Protection Association advises people to make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow buildup. Generators should be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas and your stove should not be used for the purpose of heating your home.

Dryer vent cleaning is recommended annually to prevent dryer fires and reduce energy bills. Dryer vent cleaning also prolongs the life of your appliance and reduces the chances of mechanical failure.Dryer vent cleaning promotes maximum airflow to ensure your dryer operates safely and efficiently.

Bob Dougherty owns Dryer Vent Wizard, specializing in dryer vent cleaning, dryer vent repair, dryer vent installation for homes and businesses in Long Island, NY.