A home is a structure that encases a variety of systems. These systems, by their very nature and design, require regular maintenance.
At Home Run Inspections, LLC, in addition to providing an incredibly detailed and comprehensive home inspection, we do our best to educate our clients about the home and the systems they will need to attend to over time: where the furnace filters are located, where the breaker panel is located, where the sewer clean out is located, for example.
One of the most utilized and arguably most ignored systems in a home, is the dryer exhaust vent. Depending upon how many people live in a home, this vent is utilized weekly and often several times weekly (if not daily).
After completing over 100o inspections personally and overseeing over 4000 as a company, I can confidently tell you most dryer vents we inspect have problems. We have a long list of potential recommendations based on the training we gain as home inspectors, but more importantly, from experience. Issues range from the most common, a disconnected exhaust pipe in the attic or crawlspace or a missing dryer exhaust, to the more difficult to identify as in difficult to observe obstructions or incorrect vent discharge point.
All of our reports tell you about your dryer vent, what it is composed of and where it discharges. Most of our inspectors like to take a picture of the discharge point, along with an up-view of the vent to identify blockages or missing parts.
By far, the most common recommendation is to clear blockages. I’ve read in more than one place that obstructed dryer vents are one of the most common starting points for residential home fires.
One of the cooler aspects about our jobs as home inspectors is discovering innovative ways to deal with common home system problems. These upgrades often come in the form of a new product offered by service companies, but they often may be a resolution created by the home owner.
The above photos show an ingenious way to slow the accumulation of lint in the dryer vent pipe. A common problem for a typical home in the OKC metro is that the vent pipe, carrying hot moist air, flows through a cool, unconditioned space(the attic) during the winter. This can cause a massive build up of lint as condensation on the inside of the pipe collects lint as it makes it way to the exterior vent. I’ve also seen a booster fan mechanism that you can insert in the pipe to help move the moist air to the discharge point more quickly and presumably reducing problems.
Which brings us to one of the most important aspects of the dryer vent system; the exhaust vent exterior. This is a point that also often experiences a collection of moist lint over time, and thus an obstruction. This point is often at the roof, but it can also be in a number of other locations such as an exterior wall, roof soffit, or even the crawlspace.
As you can see, out of sight out of mind does not always end well. Moisture and lint in the attic or crawlspace is a no-no. Exhausted air should always discharge to the exterior.
Check out our blog articles often to keep you thinking about how to best take care of your humble abode so it can take care of you and those you love. Keep us in mind when you or someone you know needs a residential or commercial property inspection. We look forward to exceeding your expectations while we Cover all the Bases!