Signs of Dryer Lint Accumulation and What to Do About It

Most people don’t consider their clothes dryer to be anything but an ordinary appliance. However, the reality is that clothes dryers are a source of considerable danger in many homes, as they are responsible for numerous fires in the United States.

In fact, clothes dryers cause around 15 thousand fires per year, and the most common identifiable factor in those fires is dryer lint ignition. Dryer lint is extremely flammable, and it can be easily ignited by the heat of a clothes dryer.

Below are the warning signs of dryer lint accumulation as well as what can be done to minimize the threat through prevention and cleaning.

Warning Signs of a Potential Dryer Lint Fire Hazard

It is crucial for homeowners to understand the warning signs that lint may be building inside their clothes dryers. Ignoring these signs can lead to catastrophe, as a deadly fire may be the end result. Here are four signs that lint is becoming a hazard inside your dryer and will need to be removed before a fire occurs.

Clothing Is Still Wet After Cycle Is Finished

If you notice that clothes are damp when the cycle finishes, then there is a strong possibility of lint accumulation inside the dryer or vent. Lint prevents the moisture from exiting the dryer through the vent and prolongs the time necessary to dry a given item of clothing.

The Lint Screen Has Not Been Regularly Cleaned

While the lint screen doesn’t prevent the need to have a dryer cleaned on a somewhat regular basis, it does capture a significant amount of lint during a cycle. Failing to clean the screen can allow lint to escape into the system and may cause damage or overheating.

If you know the lint screen hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, you can safely assume that lint has infiltrated the vent network in large amounts and will need to be removed.

Dryer Exhaust Is Restricted

                Another warning sign of excessive lint accumulation is airflow restriction at the exhaust vent. While other things can clog dryer vents, such as pests and mechanical damage, there is a high likelihood the decreased exhaust flow is due to lint blockage.

The Dryer’s Cabinet Is Noticeably Warmer

Lint accumulation inside the dryer will interfere with heat leaving the dryer, and the cabinet will become noticeably warmer as a result. As the cabinet becomes hotter, you should recognize the increasing probability of a fire.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Lint-Related Fires

If you own a clothes dryer, the good news is that you can often prevent lint-related fires. Below are a couple of strategies that will help keep your dryer, home and its occupants safer.

Clean the Lint Screen Before Every Use

As mentioned, a dirty lint screen can lead to a possible fire, so cleaning the lint screen is an important part of the clothes drying process. Take a few seconds to remove the screen and pick off any accumulated lint.

If the lint screen develops a rip or hole, immediately look for a replacement screen, as a ripped one can allow lots of lint to pass through into the dryer. Be sure to never run the dryer without its lint screen, as its use is critical to keeping lint levels low.

Have Your Clothes Dryer Professionally Cleaned

While homeowners can and should clean the lint screen prior to every use, a clothes dryer and its related vent system can be tricky to clean. That’s why it’s important to find a reliable company that can deep clean the interior of your dryer. If done correctly, professional cleaning will restore the interior of a dryer to its nearly original condition in many cases.

Proper HVAC Care and Your Allergies

With pollen polluting the air in the Northeast, it’s common to hear those around you complain about their allergy symptoms. However, did you know that your symptoms could be stemming from more than just the outdoors? Your heating and air conditioning filters could be playing a big role in how your allergies are making you feel.

Since we spend so much time indoors, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that dirty filters can make your allergies symptoms worse. Indoor air is actually four to five times more polluted than the air outside. To make things worse, dirty filters and ductwork can hold onto pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold, all of which can trigger allergy attacks.

Not only can your HVAC system inside of your home hold onto these allergens, but they can also spread them throughout your entire house. It’s important that you change your filters about once every two months. Aspen Air Duct Cleaning can give you a variety of filter options to best suit your home and allergies.

If you suspect that mold may be growing in your air conditioning system, Aspen Air Duct Cleaning can help with that as well. Our air conditioning service professionals can help to get your vents cleaned or replaced to give your allergy symptoms some relief.

By Mr. Duct

Keep Out Rodents and Pests in Your Home with Duct Sealing

BY AGENCY-IT

A top concern for most homeowners is to keep rodents and pests out of their homes. As much as you may keep your home clean, use pesticides, or set out traps, rodents can still penetrate the property via vents in your HVAC system. A small gap in your vents is an entryway for mice, insects, cockroaches, and other annoying pests. When they enter your home, they get a perfect hiding spot and breeding ground where pesticides will not be able to reach them.

Air duct sealing is an effective way of keeping these annoying rodents and pests out of your home. During the sealing process, air ducts are insulated from the inside, covering up holes, leaks, and other vulnerable areas of your home.

The process of duct sealing

Duct sealing mainly involves identifying gaps, cracks, and other spaces in your vents so they can be sealed. At Aspen Air Duct, our contractors will typically begin by temporarily shutting off your HVAC unit and removing vent covers. They will then carefully inspect the vent and air duct system to identify any gaps and leaks.

Vulnerable areas will be appropriately sealed from the inside to prevent any entryways that pests can use to gain access to the home.

How duct sealing keeps pests out

Your air duct system is a comfortable and convenient channel for rodents and insects to enter the home. They can sneak into gaps that are present in the air ducts and form nests and breeding grounds within these areas. Rodents such as mice also reproduce very quickly, and an infestation can begin within your walls.

Methods such as pesticides and traps have limited potential for eliminating an infestation. Using poison can cause rodents to die in your vents and spread foul odors throughout the home. Air duct sealing controls pest populations by preventing them from accessing your vents from the outside. After air duct sealing, a series of traps can be laid out within the vents to capture any existing rodents that had already penetrated your property.

Additional advantages of duct sealing

In addition to keeping rodents and pests out, air duct sealing benefits are widespread. It ensures comfort in the home through better air circulation, air quality, and efficiency of your HVAC unit.

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling?

Are you having trouble choosing the most suitable heating and cooling option for your home? If you own a home, you might have faced this question. When you start to question which system would be most beneficial for your home, then it’s definitely time for a change. Here are a few reasons why you should consider central air conditioning and heating!

Fighting Off Humidity with Proper Cooling

Depending on where you reside, central air cooling is the most efficient way to regulate humidity within your home with expert performance. The central air conditioning system will help eliminate allergens and pollutants, in order to control the humidity that may accumulate inside your home. Humidity introduces a few issues if you are considering a window air conditioning unit. This system tends to create more humidity, due to the moisture it creates. You won’t be the only one sweating!

Even Your Cooling System Deserves a Hug (From Insulation)

Is your home insulated well enough to handle a window air conditioning unit? Believe it or not, this is a very important aspect when deciding which system to implement into your home. During the summer months, a poorly insulated home can cause damage and discomfort. Central air conditioning creates the perfect balance between the temperatures inside and outside of your home. Insulation creates the base for proper cooling processes. Not only is insulation vital inside your walls, but attic as well. If you don’t possess proper insulation, then your unit will cause your attic to heat up drastically. No matter your insulation a central air unit will be most effective.

Cost Effective Way to Maintain Heat

If you are questioning the effectiveness of the current cooling system in your home, then you should be equally worried about heating. You aren’t the only one worrying about this vital aspect of your home. The classical baseboard heater may not be the right solution for you. Unfortunately, this approach may hurt your wallet more than improve your home’s heating. This is due to the amount of energy it utilizes to run throughout your home. With the issue of high cost, follows the inconsistency in temperature levels. Often times, baseboard heaters have a difficult time regulating and staying put at a certain temperature. A central air unit will maintain heat in your home without a hassle.

Easy Is Better with Your Central Air System

Central Air is not only easy to control with a click of a button, but it is much more compact and visually pleasing. While window air conditioning units and baseboard heaters may get the job done, they come with their share of unforeseeable issues. They have to be placed separately in many rooms of your home to have any effect on the cooling and heating instead of having the ability to control them in one, convenient space. Additionally, when using baseboard heaters, you must always be careful what you place in front or above, as they can be a fire hazard.

By Mr. Duct

DUCT LEAKAGE 101: WHAT IS DUCT LEAKAGE?

Heating & Cooling

You cannot talk about ductwork or duct work without talking about duct leakage. It’s a significant and often overlooked aspect of homes and buildings that causes issues associated with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Duct leakage is when conditioned air gets distributed from a SEER AC unit or AFUE furnace and leaks through holes/cracks/seams in the ductwork (a.k.a. air ducts) before it reaches the desired rooms/spaces in a home or building. According to ASHRAE (industry authority for HVAC stuff), 75% of buildings have duct leakage. Furthermore, the majority of homes leak on average 10-25% conditioned air!

There is also different types of duct leakage. The Journal for Light Construction (JLC) outlines them in a nice article:

  • Supply Leakage: When supply air ducts leak, airflow from the AC unit or furnace to the desired rooms/spaces is decreased.
  • Equipment Leakage: This leakage can often be the most overlooked. HVAC equipment components like coil cabinets and furnace cabinets all have “seams” that either suck or blow air. If those small pieces of the equipment are not sealed, then airflow is also decreased.
  • Return Leakage: When return air ducts leak, unconditioned air from unconditioned spaces like attics and wall cavities gets sucked into the ventilation system and distributed back to the equipment. This added load creates more work for your HVAC equipment. Instead of simply reconditioning air, it’s conditioning air from unconditioned spaces.

For more information about these different types of duct leakage, read the full JLC article. https://www.jlconline.com/how-to/hvac/quality-control-for-ductwork_o

Duct Leakage Causes Common HVAC Issues

Since air is obviously invisible, many homeowners and building owners don’t realize duct leakage causes common HVAC issues:

  • Hot/cold spots in rooms
  • Excessive dust, dirt, and airborne allergens
  • High energy/utility bills for heating and cooling

To identify duct leakage, HVAC contractors can use infrared technology to make invisible air visible. Then you can actually see duct leakage!

By Aeroseal

Getting Your House Ready for Winter

No matter what climate you live in, your home needs some TLC when the seasons change. Northern climates brace for bone-chilling cold and winter storms, while Southern climates may still enjoy warm, sunny days, but cooler nights. When the temps start dropping outside, it’s time to look at what you can do inside to help your home get ready for winter. Having a winter preparation plan for your house not only helps keep an eye on your home’s energy efficiency, but also on your health.

Energy Efficiency Matters

According to the United States Department of Energy, heating and air conditioning systems account for most of the energy use in a typical home.  Whether you’re firing up the furnace or just cranking down the air conditioning, winter is prime time to think about how you can save some money—and help the planet—with a more energy efficient home. There are many factors that impact the cost to heat your home over the winter. Two top considerations affecting your energy expenses related to your furnace are the type of fuel used to power your furnace (electricity, natural gas, oil or another type of fuel), and the size of your home. A large home will require more power to heat, driving up costs.

One way to keep heating costs under control is to maximize your system’s efficiency. Help your furnace run better by replacing the filter and cleaning the ductwork. Removing built-up dirt and dust helps air move through the system easier, requiring less energy to operate.

Breathing Better Air

In addition to controlling energy costs, a clean heating and air conditioning system improves the overall quality of the air you breathe inside your home. Dirty systems can contribute to poor indoor air quality and health issues, especially in people with respiratory conditions, autoimmune disorders or certain allergies. Dirt and dust are pulled into the heating and air conditioning system and recirculated through the home up to six times a day. The buildup in the ductwork creates continuous exposure that only duct cleaning can address.

While you’re gearing up for winter, don’t forget to prepare your home by maintaining your home’s heating and air conditioning system. It can save you money and help keep you and your family healthy!

By NADCA

How to Save Money on Your Home’s Heating Bill

You may have heard the recent news: This year, homeowners are slated to pay record prices to heat their homes. The average homeowner is likely to see a more than 10 percent hike in heating costs. That figure is particularly distressing when you consider that up to 40 percent of the energy used for heating is wasted. Cleaning your home’s heating/cooling system can do a lot more than improve the quality of the circulating air. It can also make a huge difference in your monthly utility bills and help you save money on your home’s heating bill. Save money with air duct cleaning

The Problem with Dirt

Dust and debris reduce the ability of a home’s heating and cooling system to work properly. Consider that dirty systems—especially dirty coils—use up to 30 percent more energy to heat and cool the home. Meanwhile, dirty filters block airflow through the system, increasing your energy bill and shortening the equipment’s life. Dust and dirt that doesn’t get caught by either the filter or the coils is then blown through the rest of the system. These contaminants build up in the ductwork over time, so the system must work harder and longer to achieve the desired comfort level, using more energy and costing more.

So, what’s a homeowner to do? Start with changing the filter on your furnace. Standard sizes are carried at most major retailers and often cost just a few dollars per filter for a basic filter. Changing the filter regularly can help, but eventually, the system must be cleaned to run at optimum efficiency. This involves bringing in a professional with specialized equipment to trap and remove the dirt and dust that has built up in the system. After a thorough professional cleaning, your home’s heating system will function better and more efficiently, saving you money when it counts.

By NADCA

What Could Be Lurking Within Your Home?

Is the air in your home as clean as it could be? Sure, dusting and vacuuming the high-traffic areas can help get rid of dirt, dust and pet hair…but simple cleaning may not be enough. In fact, the most dangerous particulates such as asbestos and mold are usually found within spaces like your ductwork or behind the walls within your home. And, if left unattended, they can pose a real threat to your family’s physical and respiratory health.

Common Airborne Contaminants in the Home

Asbestos

Most commonly found in homes built before 1980, asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral with unique fire-resistive properties. For most homes built during this time, it may have been used as a spray or applied as a wrap to protect certain components from fire, such as plumbing, electrical work and HVAC equipment.

If the asbestos is disturbed in any way (think home renovation projects), the material can become released into the air and inhaled or ingested by those living or working within the home. Although the fibers are too small to be seen once airborne, they can become stuck within the lungs, heart, and abdomen if inhaled, opening risk for developing mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an asbestos-caused cancer that can take up to 50 years to develop but may be avoided with proper treatment after asbestos exposure.

Remember, asbestos hasn’t been entirely banned in the United States and was designed to be unseen and untouched, so if you’re living in an old home, be sure to get it inspected and tested by a certified professional!

Mold

Poor ventilation + excessive moisture = a breeding ground for mold. Commonly found in dark and damp locations, it grows well on ceiling tiles, wood framing, and other surfaces that remain undisturbed. It can then be spread throughout the home by circulating into the air handling unit—your home’s air conditioner or furnace.

Common allergic reactions to mold can include a stuffy nose, watery eyes, wheezing and rashes. The EPA warns against long term exposure especially for people with severe allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues.

How can you prevent and eliminate mold? Control the humidity in your home. Try using fans to circulate air towards dehumidifiers and air conditioners—they’ll help remove excess moisture and leave your home between 30-60% humidity.

For homes facing extreme humidity or frequent mold outbreaks, it could be a larger ventilation or moisture issue, so consider consulting a mold professional. Remember, airflow is key and clogged air filters prevent circulation, so check and replace filters often, and perform home inspections and HVAC cleanings annually. For some more tips on preventing mold growth check out this recent blog post.

Allergens and Pet Hair

Whether it’s your furry friend or a house full of kids, chances are something is going to be tracked indoors. Constant cleaning schedules help ensure a contaminant-free home, but for people with severe allergies, it’s often not enough. Seasonal allergens, pet hair, and other loose particles can clog filters preventing sufficient airflow within the equipment and living space. These conditions can make it easier for mold to grow within the system, filters, and ducts. Then, once the filter is replaced, those loose contaminants can become dispersed through the home.

By NADCA

Common Misconception about the HVAC System in Newer Homes

With most all newly constructed homes comes freshly installed flooring, crisp cabinets and high expectations. But what about the air handling system of the home—the largest source of energy? Despite popular belief, the duct work and HVAC system of a newly constructed house may not be in top-notch condition and immaculate, like the rest of the home.

Since a common misconception among homeowners is that the HVAC system of a new build is clean, the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) urges homeowners of new-construction builds to hire a company with a NADCA certified technician on staff to inspect ductwork and the air handling system of the home. HVAC ductwork is sometimes one of the first systems to be installed in a home and construction dust and drywall dust can make its way into a system during the building process.

Homes undergoing renovations can be exposed to similar amounts of dust and debris, which can impact the functionality of the air conveyance system. NADCA urges homeowners who are renovating their living space to consider the following:

  • Install high-efficiency disposable filters before beginning the renovation process and change them frequently.
  • If you hire a contractor, ask that the return vent, supply registers, and diffusers be sealed and the HVAC system is shut off during renovations that include demo work or other dust-contributing activities.
  • Discuss with your contractor ways to minimize the amount of airborne dust within your home.
  • Ask that poly-plastic barriers be installed and HEPA-filtered negative air scrubbers be used in the work area to “scrub” clean the air and keep dust from migrating to other areas of the house.

NADCA urges homeowners to refer to the Residential Consumers checklist, available on the NADCA website. The checklist is designed to help homeowners understand NADCA’s recommendations regarding the process of HVAC cleaning.

By NADCA

Facts About Your Air Ducts that Will Gross You Out

As a leader in air duct cleaning, the professional cleaning staff at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning isn’t surprised to see dirty air ducts on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many of our clients are shocked – it’s extremely unsettling for many people to see just how dirty your air ducts can become. Before you turn on your ventilation system today, read over these surprising air quality facts:

  • Did you know your indoor air quality is linked to your overall health?

Asthma patients, individuals suffering from seasonal allergies, children and the elderly are all susceptible to poor indoor air quality. Regular air duct cleaning can help everyone in your home by reducing the amount of bacteria, dirt, and mold in the air. Regular cleaning can alleviate asthma symptoms and aid in allergy prevention.

  • Poor indoor air quality can keep you sniffling and sneezing throughout the whole year.

If your ventilation or duct system hasn’t been professionally cleaned recently, it’s likely that your vents are harboring bacteria, dirt, and mold. Before you blame your workplace or child’s school for getting you sick, consider that your dirty vents and air filtration systems are likely the culprits.

  • Dirty vents could easily lead to pest problems.

Dirty and damaged vents could easily be harboring pests in your home without your knowledge. When you see a spider on a second or third floor, remember that ventilation and air duct systems are often to blame. If your system is dirty, you could be providing a haven for pests to invade your home.

  • Clean Your Air Ducts Today

We here at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning don’t want you to be frightened of your air ducts. If you’re unsure about what you might find in your air ducts or think you need air duct sealing, we’d be happy to take a look. Call us today at 978-681-5023 to schedule a professional cleaning appointment.

Written by Collin Creek Home