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Magic Sweep Blog

Why Dryer Vent Cleaning Should be Part of Your Spring Cleaning

Your dryer vent is working for you as often as you do laundry. It’s just as important as every other system in your home but is likely the most overlooked. Homeowners assume that once the dryer is bought, delivered, and installed, it’s good to go! This is not the case, because most homeowners don’t have the dryer vent professionally installed, and fail to have it serviced regularly.

The Danger of a Dirty Dryer Vent

Your dryer vent is designed to direct lint, heat, and moisture out of the dryer and house, and terminate it outdoors. The microscopic lint particles that travel through the vent, cover the walls and become packed down as it mixes with the moisture. If the vent isn’t cleaned regularly, this debris will build-up until it forms a clog that disrupts the airflow completely. When the dryer vent is obstructed, the lint, heat, and moisture are pushed back into the dryer, and the result is always the same: malfunction, and malfunctions lead to fires.

Clothes Dryer Fires

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires reported each year, resulting in about 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. The leading cause of these fires is simple: failure to clean the dryer.

In Case You Need Another Reason to Clean the Dryer Vent

The biggest benefit of a clean dryer vent is safety, but there are other great reasons to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, at least every 12 months.

  • The dryer will work better. The dryer is designed to work with a vent system. If the vent doesn’t work properly, the dryer won’t work properly.
  • The dryer will use less electricity. The loads that used to take two or three cycles to get completely dry will no longer be an issue. Don’t assume the dryer is worn out. If it doesn’t work in one cycle, and the settings are correctly adjusted, you have a clog!
  • The dryer will last longer. When you run the dryer two or three times to dry one load, it not only takes 2-3 times more energy but also shaves down the life of your appliance! Instead of lasting the ten years it should, it will end up sputtering out after 3-5.
  • The dryer will stop warming up your house. This is especially important during the summer. The dryer should not affect your heating and cooling bill. If it does, then the vent isn’t properly venting the excess heat outdoors.

Schedule Your Dryer Vent Cleaning with Magic Sweep

At Magic Sweep, we take fire safety seriously. That’s why our technicians install, inspect, clean, and repair dryer vents. When you schedule a dryer vent cleaning with Magic Sweep, we will clean the lint and debris away without hurting the ductwork, and without making a mess. Then we will check for leaks and problems that may cause recurrence.

Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 and schedule your dryer vent cleaning today.

Spring Cleaning Means Cleaning Your Dryer Vent Too!

When the weather turns warm is when homeowners start decluttering their homes and tending to their properties before summer is in full spring. This year, don’t just focus on packing away seasonal clothes and clearing away winter debris from the yard. While you’re completing your spring cleaning to-do list, don’t forget the dryer vent too!

Prevent Dryer Vent Fires

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are approximately 2,900 home clothes dryer fires reported each year, resulting in five deaths, 100 injuries, and approximately $35 million in property loss. A great deal of these fires (34 percent) are preventable because they are directly caused by dirty vent and dryer appliances. These fires happen most often during the fall and winter months, but can be prevented when you have the dryer vents serviced annually.

Dryer Safety

Dryer vent fires are so prevalent in modern society and result in lost lives and property loss that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has started the C-DET program. CSIA Certified Exhaust Technicians are trained in the classroom and in the field to install, clean, and maintain dryer vents so that they are safe and functional. It’s our goal at Magic Sweep to offer dryer vent and chimney services that continue to keep those in our community safe month after month, and year after year. A clean dryer can prevent a devastating fire that destroys property, creates health problems, and even results in death. Not only will regular dryer maintenance keep your dryer safer, but it will also work better in the long run.

Save Money with a Clean Dryer Vent

When a clothes dryer is manufactured, it is designed to last up to 10 years. This is unfortunately not the case in most American homes. In fact, clothes dryers often only last half that amount of time before homeowners need to replace them or have them repaired. So, what is the problem?

  • Professional Installation – Your clothes dryer should be professionally installed, including dryer vent installation. The delivery people from the store do not install the appliance. Their job is delivery and setup. In order to have the dryer professionally installed, up to code, and safe for use, you should call a C-DET professional.
  • Proper Use – Read your owner’s manual so that you understand the proper installation and maintenance standards required for your unit. You may have a warranty that requires certain services. Your owner’s manual should also explain how to empty the lint trap, clean the unit, and more. Are you sure you’re using your clothes dryer correctly? If you’re using more than one cycle to dry a moderate-sized load of clothes, you aren’t using it properly. Not only is this improper use of the dryer, but it indicates a problem with the system.
  • Professional Cleaning and Maintenance – Your clothes dryer should dry a load in one cycle. If it doesn’t, the dryer vent is likely clogged and in danger of causing a fire. Not only is it a serious fire hazard, but it also costs you money! Using your dryer two or three times more than should be necessary can shorten its lifespan and potentially double or triple your electricity costs.

Don’t hesitate to schedule dryer vent maintenance. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400. Do you have rental properties to service? We’ll handle that too!

Creosote Removal

Your chimney works constantly while there is a fire burning. Whether you burn a fire every day, or infrequently, it still releases byproducts that coat the inside of your chimney. Every fire releases soot and creosote into the chimney to be vented. These fine particles stick to the walls of the flue liner because of their sticky composition.

What is Creosote?

Much like soot, creosote comes from every organic fire. It’s made up mostly of tar, which makes it sticky and flammable. A fine coating of creosote can quickly become a dangerous buildup. This is due to the nature of creosote sticking to itself and reacting to heat. When it is left unchecked it becomes a dangerous level 3 buildup, also called glazed creosote.

Glazed Creosote and Fire Risk

When creosote is subject to high temperatures, it melts from it’s solid form and evaporates. It then leaves behind a highly concentrated, glazed fuel. Glazed creosote is not only highly flammable, but extremely hard. It also disrupts airflow and causes further creosote and soot buildup within the flue. When the airflow is compromised and the chimney’s efficiency drops, the hot air and sparks slow in the flue. This ignites the creosote, thus resulting in a creosote fire!

Creosote Fire Versus Flue Fire

When creosote ignites, it is in the flue, so it’s referred to as a flue or chimney fire, but a creosote fire is far more serious than any flue fire. Because of the concentrated fuel present in the glazed creosote, the fire burns at such a high temperature and intensity, it can crumble and destroy mortar, can shoot fire out of the chimney and onto the roof, crack or warp flue liners, and flames can quickly spread to the rest of the house causing fire and smoke damage.

What You Can Do

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), most flue fires go unnoticed. They end up dying out, because of a lack of oxygen or fuel. This is an ideal scenario, but is not the case if there is creosote in the chimney. Creosote adds fuel to the fire! You can prevent a creosote buildup by scheduling a regular chimney sweep with your trusted chimney professionals. At Magic Sweep, our technicians are experienced and trained to clean every chimney until it’s safe and clean.

When a Magic Sweep technician comes into the home to sweep your chimney he will use drop cloths to protect your floors. Also, use a state of the art vacuum system to protect your belongings and air. Using hand tools and brushes, the chimney is swept clean of soot, creosote, and debris. If there is a buildup of glazed creosote, the removal is slightly different. It requires a chemical treatment to transform it into a brittle, easily-removable substance. This process is the easiest way to prevent a flue fire, keep your chimney working at its best, and keep it working longer.

You should not depend on amateurs or chimney sweeping products to clean your chimney! Not to mention, any store-bought product stands NO chance against glazed creosote.

Let the sweeps that put your safety and comfort above all else. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 or schedule your sweep using our convenient online appointment manager!

Reducing Fire Hazards in Your Home

Safety is our number one priority at Magic Sweep, and we have shared with you some tips on reducing fire hazards around the fireplace in the past. It is always important to remember safety precautions when you are using your fireplace, and we would like to share some other tips from the American Red Cross. This organization cites some statistics that prove how essential it is to practice fire safety in the home. In this country, an average of seven people die from a residential fire every day, and 36 million people suffer from injuries due to a home fire every day. Every year, seven billion dollars in property damage occurs from home fires. To keep yourself and your family from becoming part of these statistics, follow these tips to reduce fire hazards in your home.

Home Hazards - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

Cook safely.

Never leave anything that you are cooking over an open flame. Accidents can easily happen when frying or grilling, so you need to keep an eye on what you are cooking to prevent accidental fires.

Be careful when smoking.

If anyone in your household smokes cigarettes, be sure that they never smoke in bed as many home fires are started this way. Better yet, make it a rule that smokers need to smoke outside of your home.

Watch your electric outlets.

If you use a space heater or other similar appliance, be sure it is plugged into a wall outlet or a power strip that can handle the wattage of the appliance.

Keep your kids safe.

You should keep all matches and lighters locked away from your children. Kids can be curious and want to play with these things, and that can lead to a very dangerous situation.

Have smoke alarms installed in your home.

Experts recommend that you have both of the different types of smoke alarms, ionization and photoelectric, installed in your home because they detect fires in different ways. It is recommended to have smoke alarms installed in the rooms as your heating appliances, outside each bedroom, and on every level of your home. You should replace the batteries in these alarms when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time, and you should replace the alarms every ten years.

Want to know more ways to reduce fire hazards in your home? Contact us at Magic Sweep to learn how you can keep your home safe from an accidental fire.

All About Chimney Liners

According to the CSIA, problems in your chimney’s flue can pose serious risks to your home and family, as it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the products of combustion to the outside of your home.

Give Magic Sweep a call at 757-828-0404 to schedule an inspection to ensure your flue liner is doing its intended job properly!

Give Magic Sweep a call at 757-828-0404 to schedule an inspection to ensure your flue liner is doing its intended job properly!