Owning a laundromat, hotel, or other business in the service industry that requires the operation of many commercial-grade dryers demands exceptional attention and maintenance. Fires caused by commercial dryers cause over $100 million in damages including about 15,600 structure fires and 15 deaths every year. While dryers used in homes pose dangers as well, the injury rate from commercial dryer fires is 78 percent higher.
The best way to avoid fires and other injuries is to perform regular maintenance activities which include cleaning all vents. If you don’t have a regular service schedule yet or don’t know how frequently you will need to have the vents cleaned, don’t worry. There are several ways to tell that the vents need to be cleaned, including the following:
- It smells like something is burning. The fibers or lint that get sorted out during the drying process are very fine and short which makes them easily combustible. When they collect into large masses in the lint traps or dryer hoses, they can catch on fire easily. The worst scenario is when the fibers get into the dryer’s heating element. If a burning smell is detected, the best course of action is to turn the dryer off and avoid using it until it can be inspected by a professional.
- The drying process is taking longer than it should. A very efficient commercial dryer should be able to fully dry a load of clothing in about 20 minutes. Most commercial dryers take about 30 minutes. When it is taking two or even three times longer than that, one of the most common causes is congested vents. The vents are designed to let the moist hot air escape so that cooler dryer air can be drawn inside the dryer to complete the process. In addition to complaints and extra costs for patrons, vent blockages also cause increased wear and tear on the heating element and blower, higher utility bills, and wasted energy.
- The dryer itself and the laundry area are hotter than usual. Another complication of clogged vents not allowing hot air to flow out of the dryer is that the entire machine gets hot. Sometimes the entire laundry area also collects that heat and it becomes noticeable to anyone using the room. The clothing or items inside the dryer and the inside of the dryer itself can also be plainly hotter than normal. This overheating can be dangerous enough to ignite a machine fire.
- No recent inspections or cleanings have been done. If it has been longer than one year, it is time to schedule a cleaning. Not only can obstructed vents cause fires, they can also cause the buildup of hazardous gases like carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes in the place of business. Poor indoor air quality is another concern that can affect the success of businesses.
When it’s time to schedule vent or air duct cleaning in New Jersey, check for proper licensing and experience. In New Jersey, businesses that perform vent and air duct cleaning services must be licensed to ensure that you receive the best quality service.