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Dryer Lint Traps – Everything You Need to Know
Every time you use your clothes dryer, you should clean the lint trap. A clean lint trap helps the dryer to run at maximum efficiency and maximum safety.
Some dryer vent installations also have an external lint trap, which is also known as a secondary lint trap or a 4″ In-Line Dryer Lint Trap.
What Is a Dryer Lint Trap?
This device acts as an in line lint filter in the dryer’s exhaust pipe. Its purpose is to provide additional protection for your dryer booster fan, and it also helps to prevent the dryer exhaust pipe from getting clogged with lint as quickly.
External lint traps are usually installed on clothes dryers that are located on an inside wall, or when the length of the dryer vent exceeds 20-30 feet. The shorter the overall length of the vent pipe and the fewer the number of elbows or turns in the pipe, the better. New dryers will only carry the air and lint for about 18 feet, not including elbows and bends. Longer vent lengths and turns all add restriction to the air flow, causing dryer lint to build up inside.
Best Use Practices
A good way to do this is by having your dryer vent professionally cleaned on a regular basis. This is also where the secondary lint trap can help. Not everyone needs an external lint trap, and some homeowners who do have them often have questions about their use.
The most commonly asked questions about lint traps that are asked by people who already have one are:
1. How often should I clean it?
2. How do you open the door?
So to answer those questions, the lint trap has a clear door, so you can see through it. Check it before every load and you will quickly get an idea of how often your’s needs to be cleaned… something like every 3-5 loads is average. That’s for the secondary lint trap. The one that came with your dryer still needs to be cleaned at the start of every load.
While not every load fills the trap, cleaning it after each load will help reduce energy use.
And to open the door? That depends on the type of lint trap you have, however, they are all fairly similar. The most common one is a model called the LT-180. It has a plexiglass door with a knob on it. All you have to do is lift the knob up and pull it out on the bottom. To replace the door, you reverse those steps. Its very easy once you try it a few times.
Your LT180 lint trap can be installed either on the wall (highly visible) or inside the drywall. If this is the case, then you would only see a plexiglass door with two small folds of metal on either side. This could be on the ceiling near your dryer or on the wall.
The photo above shows an extremely dirty lint trap. The condo owner had recently moved in and did not realize they even had one of these.
Home Depot Dryer Lint Traps
The LT-180 is the best we have found so far. It is made in Canada, is constructed of thick metal and is of commercial quality. This lint trap is a permanent model.
Over time (years) the door may crack or the screen may become damaged or frayed. It will help to know that the door and screen can be replaced seperately, and those cost about $20. If you have a broken door on your model LT180 lint trap, feel free to call us and we can send you a new one.
Some Do-it-yourselfers prefer to buy a dryer lint trap from Home Depot, but they also offer several other models as well. There are cheaper quality plastic ones, but it is recommended that you purchase the more durable and slightly more expensive model LT180. The metal one is much more sturdy and will be problem-free.
Risk Of Dryer Duct Fires
Dryer duct fires are a very real and serious threat. They have become more frequent with population growth, and stories of dryer duct fires have been steadily increasing and are now fairly common in the news.
Any home or business that operates a clothes dryer needs to take proper precautions to reduce this risk as much as possible, regardless if your machine is gas or electric.
Dryer lint is very flammable and can accumulate inside a vent pipe fairly quickly. It is recommended that most dryer exhaust vents be cleaned once per year.
More Info About Secondary Lint Traps
It is always a good idea for homeowners to educate themselves about the operation of their HVAC systems and clothes dryer. Everyone knows how to use the dryer, but you can still learn some helpful and useful tips with a small amount of research.
Below are some useful links that we’ve found regarding the safe operation of your clothes dryer, and how to help prevent a
dryer fire in your home or business.
Taking care of your clothes dryer is important for home fire safety.
Tips to prevent dryer fires at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html
More dryer tips at http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/118931/5022.pdf
10 Things To Do On A Rainy Day
Stuck in the house on a rainy day and have nothing to do? Why not take this opportunity to work on some of those simple household maintenance items that you rarely seem to have time for?
We really know how to have fun! These are all energy-saving items and need doing anyway.
- Vacuum out your floor registers. And if you really want to go to town then check the dampers inside and maybe even wash some of those vents too.
- Take your return vents off the wall and vacuum them out too. Wash the vents if they need it.
- Change your furnace filter. And if you really want to go to town again, get the vacuum cleaner and clean the bottom of the furnace fan compartment. Check the side of the furnace fan motor too. It probably has dust on it. Just make sure to turn off the furnace switch before you do this.
- Check your furnace humidifier and change the pad. Turn up the humidistat and make sure it comes on. Make sure water flows through when its supposed to, and make sure it drains out properly.
- Make sure your ceiling fans are turning the right way for the season (in the summer, air should blow down. In the winter, the air should be pulled up). And clean the fan blades too.
- Remove and clean your washroom exhaust grills. Wash them off in the shower then use a spray bottle and wipe dry. If you’re really adventurous then maybe you can remove and clean the exhaust fans too. Use a dry paint brush or compressed air to do this.
- Check the condition of the flex pipe on your dryer. Make sure the flex is not brittle and is free of cracks or holes. Maybe take it off completely and clean it out if needed? While you’re there, why not vacuum behind and under the dryer and also check the condition of the water hoses going to your washing machine? It is good practice to do these items at least once every six months.
- Clean behind your fridge. Pull it out and make sure you clean the coil.
- Check your computers and clean that little fan that every one has. These things can really build up alot of dust over time. And those clogged fans can suck the life out of your computer pretty quick sometimes. If your computer has ever died because of this then you’ll really appreciate this one!
- Clean the grease filter in the kitchen exhaust above your stove.
If you’re looking for a bonus item and still haven’t had enough yet then maybe you could also clean out your central vac!
This is the dirtiest job. Definitely save it for last!
How Clean Is The Air In Your Home?
Ever wonder about the quality of the air that you and your family are breathing?
Today’s tightly-sealed homes trap indoor pollutants and might actually contribute to poor indoor air quality. Here are some of the steps homeowners can take to improve the quality of the air they breathe:
- Have a high-efficiency ventilation system installed to ensure good indoor air quality;
- Have carpets cleaned once or twice a year to remove pollutants, dust and dirt;
- Have your duct system cleaned every three or four years at a minimum;
- Use low-emission paints to reduce vapors;
- Whenever possible, use green household cleaners that eliminate toxic fumes;
- Ensure kitchen and bathroom exhausts are vented to the outside of your home;
- Change the filters on your furnace monthly;
- Change the pad in your duct-mounted humidifier annually;
- Install a high-quality electronic air cleaner; and
- Open windows on nice days for an hour or so to recirculate and freshen the air in your home.
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with Plants .
Did you know that you can strategically use household plants to improve your indoor air quality?
People spend as much as 90% of their lives indoors. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics show that indoor air quality is five times worse than outdoor air, making it one of the top threats to good health. It’s linked to allergies, sickness and fatigue. Fortunately, indoor air quality can be improved with the help of home air filters, purifiers and living house plants. Plants cycle the air by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. But plants also have the ability to purify household air by naturally filtering harmful chemicals found in the air known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which come from man-made products in the home.
Check out this video we found that explains how you can do this, how to select the right type of plants to use in your home, how to care for them, how many plants to have, and all kinds of useful information. There is some controversy about whether house plants actually effect the air in your home, but still, this is good information. It looks like it might well be something to consider in your struggle for clean, healthy indoor air.
Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning
Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning
Cleaning your dryer exhaust vent is a very important maintenance item and should be done at least once very two years.
Dryer vent duct cleaning is done with our high-pressure air snake system, while the dryer lint itself is collected by our truck-mounted vacuum.
During the procedure, we clean and inspect any flexible dryer vent connectors as well as the outside discharge vent.
Cleaning your dryer duct can help you save money on your energy costs because of the amount of hydro that your dryer uses. A clothes dryer is one of your home’s biggest energy users, and making sure that the duct is clean will help it to run more efficiently.
A clean exhaust system will help your dryer to run for shorter periods of time and will also reduce the possibility of having a dryer duct fire.
Dryer Duct Cleaning
Cleaning the dryer exhaust fan and ducts in your condo
Clothes dryer maintenance and fire prevention tips
You May Be In Danger Of A Dryer Duct Fire
The danger of a dryer duct fire is very real. Check out this video which offers some excellent tips on how to prevent a dryer duct fire from occurring in your home.
Dryer vent cleaning will significantly reduce this fire hazard and will give you peace of mind. It also reduces the amount of time it takes to dry each load, which in turn saves you money on your hydro bill.
If you notice ANY of the following it may be time to schedule a cleaning:
- Damper (flappers) on outside exhaust termination barely opens when dryer is on.
- Clothes are damp or hotter than usual at the end of the cycle.
- Laundry room feels warmer or more humid than normal.
- Clothes take an unusually long time to dry.
- Outside of dryer is unusually hot.
- It has been over a year since you had your dryer vent cleaned.
My Animals Urinated in My Duct System Again! What Can I Do?
Pet Urine is difficult to locate in any home, even though it is very easy to smell. Pet urine can be removed out of your duct work. To determine where your pet has urinated, provide yourself with a UV black light. Make sure you turn all the lights off on that floor, so that you can be sure to see the glow.
Once you detect the area(s) where the pet has urinated, you must clean that area in its entirety. Most times animals will go to the bathroom on carpet or hardwood floors, which can be located close to your duct system. Once an animal has urinated in one spot then it is very instinctive that they keep re-soiling that specific area.
To remove the odor, it is highly NOT-RECOMMENDED to use any products that are ammonia based. As you know, if you have this problem, most urine has ammonia in it, which does not effectively clean the soiled area, and will keep the animal still interested to keep re-soiling this spot. We do recommend the use of baking soda with white vinegar. Please always do a test spot first to ensure that it does not create more damage, by discoloring your carpets or hardwood floors. Make sure that these products do not enter your heating and cooling system. If any of the products do enter the duct system, you should open all the windows and doors and call us.
Once the surrounding areas around the vents are cleaned, you will need to hire a professional duct cleaner. Dust, debris, crevices, or cracks can hold in the pet urine odor. Once your system is running it will distribute this awful smell throughout the home. At City Duct Cleaning we have the proper chemicals that can remove the urine smell from inside the ductwork, without contaminating the rest of your system.
We have a long-time customer who had a kitten that took a liking to urinating directly over one particular air vent in her home.
The heat from the furnace would dry it out and spread the stink throughout the entire floor that vent was serving.
It was necessary to replace the metal boot and the first pipe leading into it. Due to the nature of normal ductwork installations, where one pipe goes into the next one to enhance proper air flow, there was a gap where the two fittings connected that could not be reached to be cleaned. So we replaced those two parts and the air vent even though it was necessary to put a hole in the drywall directly below that air vent.
We also encapsulated the entire duct system, paying closer attention to that duct run. Our chemical also happens to work perfectly on drywall, concrete and wood, so while we had the space open we also sealed all around the area where the vent was (between the floor and the ceiling below). This procedure solved the problem with the odor completely.
It is not clear how she was able to get her kitten to stop peeing in the vent.
What about the exterior condenser?
Your outdoor air conditioning condenser unit is an integral part of your HVAC system. It contains the compressor, a fan and a coil.
The smooth and dependable operation of your air conditioning system overall, depends in large part on how clean your condensing unit is.
When your air conditioning is on, the compressor runs, as well as the condensor fan. This moves the required amount of air across that coil.
Grass, weeds and shrubs can severely impede the air flow across the coil, to the point where your system can freeze up. And as with anything, if you want it to work efficiently, it must be clean.
Your outside air conditioning condenser needs attention just like the interior air duct system does. The maintenance required to keep this part of the system clean is very minimal considering the amount of work that it is required to do during Toronto’s long, hot summers.
The compressor and fan will very rarely require any maintenance from a homeowner. Those parts of the system are best left to a trained professional.
The outside coil, however, will need to be cleaned from time to time though, and this is the part that anyone can do themselves if they want to take the time to do it.
It is best to check the cleanliness of the coil at the start of the cooling season, or whenever you first turn on your air conditioning. The coil should also be visually inspected at a minimum of once per month during the cooling season as well, and especially so if you notice that your outside unit is starting to sound louder than it normally does when it is running.
If you have determined that your unit needs to be cleaned, this can be easily accomplished with your garden hose and a stiff brush.
First, make sure the power to the unit is off. Then use a strong spray from your garden hose and thoroughly wash the coil with water only. You can use the brush if needed, but be sure to brush any part of the coil in the same direction as the fins. You do not, under any circumstances, want to bend the fins at all, as this will restrict the air flow going across the coil.
If you forgot to turn the power off first and the unit comes on while you are cleaning it, you will get wet for sure!
Once you have the coil looking clean, that is it. It is not recommended that the homeowner remove the top part (condensing fan) in any case. If your unit requires further service at this point it is best to call in a professional.
Keeping your condensing coil clean will save you money because the system will not have to work nearly as hard to do its job.
Some quick tips for starting up your air conditioning at the beginning of the season include:
- If you have a cover on your exterior unit, remove it first.
- Visually inspect the condition of the outside coil and clean as necessary.
- Check or replace your furnace air filter.
- Check the drain tube that comes from the inside coil (normally above your furnace) for proper drainage.
- Close the damper in the bypass tube of your furnace humidifier.
Once the system has been on for about half an hour, go back and check that water is draining out of the drain tube properly.
For best operation of the system in every home, you will need to adjust the air vents at the start of each heating and cooling season.
To set up your air vents for cooling, close the basement vents completely or block them off with vent magnets. On the main floor you want the vents, including dampers, to be half-way open. This setup will help to push more cool air upstairs, where you will need it most.
On the top floor, all vents should be fully open, unless you have an excess amount of air going to very small rooms such as washrooms or closets. And always make sure that return air vents are free and clear of obstacles or obstructions.
Making these small adjustments to your system as needed can have a huge impact on the proper efficiency of your HVAC system, and will do alot to add to your family’s overall comfort level inside your home.
Also remember, on hot days you should always block out direct sunlight, as this will add alot more load to your air conditioner.
If you ever have any questions about your furnace, air conditioner or duct system, no matter how small, feel free to call us and ask. We would be very glad to help!
Not So Cool?
Considering the extremely hot summer we are having, you are most likely operating your air conditioning system more than not. But why is it not cool in the house?
If you are experiencing a lack of cooling, chances are that your air filter is very dirty, or possibly plugged, therefore inhibiting proper air flow.
Your furnace and air conditioning systems both require clean air filters to run properly. Dirty air filters is the number one cause for “no heat” and “no cooling” service calls.
Before you call for service, check the condition of your air filter and clean or replace it as needed.
Also be sure to check the position of any volume dampers in your air duct system, and check to make sure that the damper in your humidifier bypass tube is closed for the summer.
If your air conditioner still does not seem to be cooling, check the outside condenser unit. When the air conditioning turns on, the compressor and the fan outside should come on immediately, as should your furnace fan.
You can hear the compressor, and you should see the outside fan when it is running. If either of these two items do not appear to be working when your air conditioning is on, then you should first confirm that the breaker or switch is “on”. Note too, that both your furnace switch and the air conditioning breaker or disconnect box should both be switched to “on” . If these steps fail to rectify the situation then you should call for service.
It is our hope that these quick central air conditioning tips will help prevent at least some people from prematurely calling for service unless it is 100% required.
Enjoy your summer and please stay cool!
How to help keep your HVAC system clean during a renovation
It is generally a very good idea to have your air ducts cleaned after doing renovations or new construction work on your home.
Air duct cleaning is a general maintenance item that should normally be done every three to four years on average, but is also done when and if you have ever noticed mice or insects living in them. Poor airflow may also be a problem that would lead a homeowner to consider duct cleaning as well.
You might also want to consider cleaning your ducts if you just moved into a newly built home. No matter how careful the construction crew is, construction debris and even garbage of all kinds could end up in your ducts.
Some builders are very conscious about this, and have us clean the duct systems in all of the new houses they build. That’s because they want to provide a quality product all around. We’ve been doing duct cleaning for some builders for the last 25 years and more. Some builders in the GTA are pretty cheap though, and say they want to leave this to the new homeowner instead.
Don’t believe any builder who says you don’t need to clean the ducts in your new home. 99% of builders know everything about building your house but actually know nothing about duct cleaning. Everybody seems to think they’re an expert on this subject.
During new construction it rarely matters how careful your builder may be about protecting the new duct system… Dirt still gets in there! Besides, you’ve just spent a million dollars or so for a brand new house, so why wouldn’t you spend another $300 or so to get your ducts thoroughly cleaned and know that you’re starting off with an entirely fresh and clean system?
Don’t believe the ducts in your newly renovated home are dirty? We can show you what comes out!
Other times during a renovation, the furnace filter gets so dirty during the process that the contractor will go and remove it. They do this because the filter gets so plugged with dirt that no air will even flow through it any more. But they keep running the furnace anyway, even without any air filter at all. They need heat so their drywall compound will dry. But the duct system and all your furnace components get extremely covered in dust. I have seen this many, many, many times.
If you are having trouble with airflow from your heating or cooling system, a duct cleaning will quite often solve the problem.
It is worth noting, however, that not every air flow problem can be solved by cleaning your ducts alone.
If you have heat everywhere else in the home but not in one or two rooms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need your ducts cleaned. Check to see if there are any dampers closed, or if any return air vents in these rooms are blocked by carpets or furniture. Sometimes just keeping the door to the room open most of the time can make all the difference.
Air flow from any vent can be checked with a meter, and the readings are then compared to the other vents in your home. This helps the technician to balance the air duct system. If it is determined that any of the ducts are blocked with debris, which is often the case too, then cleaning of your entire duct system would be absolutely warranted.
If you are experiencing any type of air flow problems and live in our service area, we will most certainly be able to figure out what the problem is and will tell you the best way to fix it. When it comes to air flow, we are very experienced at solving these problems.
Here are some ways to help reduce the amount of dust during a home renovation.
- seal off the supply and return air/intake registers or install filter media in each air vent
- keep your work area clean
- close doors to rooms which are not in use
- don’t operate the heating and cooling system until after thoroughly cleaning up the dust
- use the highest efficiency air filter
- if an air duct cleaning is required then call City Duct Cleaning