The Ugly Truth about Dryer Vents and Chimneys

This information is especially important when living or managing apartments or condos.

Chimneys and dryer vents are a mystery to many homeowners and even experienced contractors. Both vent flammable or toxic gases to the exterior of your home, and both are horribly ignored. This information is especially important when living or managing apartments or condos.

Let’s start with dryer vents. There are codes and standards for how they are built. Many times, a homeowner’s heating element in their dryer will fail, causing them to replace their unit. In some cases, the dryer was never the problem, it was incorrect installation of the vent or heavy lint accumulation. This essentially overworks your dryer and shortens its lifespan significantly. In 2010 the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) stated over 15,000 dryer vent fires occurred in the U.S. due to dirty dryer vents.

The good news is it is 100% preventable! The NFPA also recommends your dryer vent be inspected and cleaned as needed on an annual basis which would drastically reduce your risk. When your experienced professional comes out to service your dryer vent they should also make sure it was installed properly. There should be no vinyl hose connections, no PVC venting, and certainly no screws holding it all together which act like lint catchers. These are only a few of the standards and codes checked.

Now on to chimneys! It is said that less than 10% of all chimneys nationwide have ever been professionally inspected. That’s a problem. Not only does this cause potential CO poisoning and chimney fire risks, but neglect can cause you expensive repairs.

For example: During your chimney inspection cracks were noticed at the top of your chimney. This doesn’t seem like a big deal now. Fast forward 5 years later, and those cracks have gone through significant freeze and thaw periods resulting in massive exterior damage. The small cracks which would have been relatively inexpensive to repair have now incurred a bill in the thousands, as the contractor now has to rebuild your chimney.

But wait, I have a metal factory built chimney or gas fireplace. Did you know that these are considered disposable appliances? Their shelf life is typically 25-30 years before you start seeing failure in the chimney and appliance itself. The shocking truth is, you cannot simply repair a factory-built unit or chimney. It comes with a UL listing by the manufacturer with very few aftermarket parts available. You will void that listing if you do a repair not according to the manufacturer. In most cases, the only repair is a total replacement.

The bottom line is preventative maintenance is always a good idea. We don’t change the oil in our cars only when we come across an issue with our engine. Similarly, we should not wait until we have an issue with our chimney or dryer vent before we have them inspected. So how long has it been since your last inspection?

Contact us to give you peace of mind and a thorough inspection you can trust. We clean chimneys and dryer vents in Lake George, Queensbury, Saratoga Springs, Malta, Burnt Hills, Greenwich, Niskayuna, and the surrounding areas. We look forward to meeting you!