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Don’t Forget about Your Clothes Dryer Vent

In the year 2010, approximately 16,800 house fires involving clothes dryers were reported in the United States, and these fires were responsible for 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The leading cause behind these fires is the failure to clean clothes dryer vents. The NFPA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and other fire prevention safety organizations recommend that you have your dryer vent system professionally cleaned annually by an experienced dryer exhaust technician, such as one of our technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps. We would like to share with you some clothes dryer vent safety tips and other information to help you prevent a house fire started by your clothes dryer.

Lint from Clothes Dryer - San Diego CA

Clothes Dryer Safety Tips

The NFPA released a dryer safety tip brochure to inform the public about what they should do to keep their clothes dryers safe. The tips include the following:

  • Always have your clothes dryer professionally installed and serviced.
  • Never use your dryer without the lint filter.
  • Always clean the lint filter before or after every load you dry. Also, remove any lint that has collected around the dryer’s drum.
  • To keep the best air flow and drying time, rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used.
  • Be sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not clogged or restricted, and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is in use. The Weststar Chimney Sweeps technician will clean the outdoor vent pipe during the annual cleaning.
  • If you have a gas-operated dryer, it should be inspected by a certified professional to ensure the gas line and connection are secure and have no leaks.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions.
  • Never overload your dryer.
  • Do not leave your dryer running if you leave your home or when you go to sleep.
  • Your dryer should be grounded correctly.
  • If it snows, be sure to check the outdoor vent flap to see if it is covered in snow.
  • Keep the area around your dryer clear from anything that could burn like boxes,clothes, and cleaning supplies.

Why You Should Have a Professional Cleaning of Your Dryer Venting System Every Year

Our experienced technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps will inspect, clean, and verify that your clothes dryer’s venting system is sized and installed correctly. These annual inspections will prolong the life of your clothes dryer as well as increase its efficiency.

If you need to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today. Our expert technicians will be sure your dryer vents are not a fire hazard.

By Mike O'Mara on February 23rd, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

How Earthquakes Affect Chimneys

California is known for having earthquakes that can damage your chimney

California is known for having earthquakes that can damage your chimney

As residents of California, we are familiar with dealing with earthquakes and the property damage they can cause. Did you know the most common earthquake property damage is chimney collapse? Not only is this true in our state, but also in other areas that suffer earthquakes in this country. The number of chimneys lost every year to earthquake damage is staggering. One reason for this great structural loss is chimneys are often ignored when preparing for earthquakes and the damage they can cause. Weststar Chimney Sweeps would like to tell you more about the effect of earthquakes on chimneys.

How do earthquakes cause a chimney to collapse?

It goes without saying that earthquakes cause the ground to shake resulting in buildings enduring forces to which they are not normally subjected toward. These forces lead to a deterioration of the brickwork and can cause a chimney to collapse. Even minor seismic events can cause this to happen to your chimney, so it’s important to have your chimney routinely checked – especially in seismic hotbeds.

What is the best prevention against chimney collapse during seismic activity?

The chimneys that are most commonly damaged are un-reinforced chimneys, according to InspectAPedia, an online encyclopedia of building and environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, and repair topics.

What are the dangers of a chimney collapse?

No one can predict which way a chimney will collapse. If a chimney were to collapse on the house, it could be deadly. People have even become trapped inside by a collapsed chimney. Even if the chimney does not fall onto the house, it could fall on a neighbor’s home or on someone outside.

What can I do to prepare my un-reinforced chimney for an earthquake?

You can have your chimney braced, but this does not guarantee it will not collapse. You can also remove the masonry and use a metal flue that is surrounded by a wooden box. This box can be covered with brick veneer above the roof line.

What is the best thing I can do to be sure my chimney is sturdy enough to withstand seismic activity?

The best way to ensure your chimney is safe from earthquake damage is to have it inspected every year by Weststar Chimney Sweeps. We have experience in knowing where earthquake damage can occur and exactly what to look for to be certain your chimney is safe during seismic activity.

Have any questions about how earthquakes can affect chimneys? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to find out whatever you need to know.

By Mike O'Mara on February 6th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment