Aardvark Newsletter No.11
Inside this issue:
Clothes Dryer Venting Safety
Lint and additional debris can build up in your clothes dryer vent and may cause your dryer to exhaust at less than optimum efficiency. This creates potentially hazardous conditions including carbon monoxide intrusion and the possibility for exhaust fires. If a gas clothes dryer is improperly vented or the exhaust duct itself is blocked by lint or debris, carbon monoxide can be forced back into your living space.
When a certified technician inspects and cleans a dryer vent, they also verify that the correct type of duct is in use. For example, plastic transition ducts (joining the dyer to the wall) should be replaced with metal duct, because it is non-flammable, unlike plastic.
Annual dryer exhaust vent inspections (also known as dryer exhaust duct inspections) are more necessary than ever before due to the complex construction of homes built today. Newer homes tend to have dryers located away from an outside wall in bathrooms, kitchens and in hall closets which is convenient, but potentially dangerous from a safety standpoint. These new locations mean that dryers tend to be vented longer distances and vents are generally installed with more bends to accommodate the extended path they must take through the home. As a result, dryer ducts are harder to access and this additional length creates more places where lint can collect and animals and birds can hide.
General Fire Place Tips
1. Always check that your flue is open before lighting your fire and that you have adequate draft up your chimney.
2. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.
3. Never burn garbage or plastic.
4. Regularly remove ashes from your fireplace to maintain proper airflow. Always empty the ashes into a metal container with a lid and store outside on a concrete surface.
5. Use manufactured fire logs instead of wood; they burn up to 80% cleaner than an equivalent duration wood fire.
6. If you burn wood, use only dry, seasoned cord wood (dried for at least 6 months with less than 20% moisture).
7. Although gas fireplaces are often touted as the cleanest burning alternative to firewood due to their low fine particulate emissions, 99% of their combustion emissions are greenhouse gases from non-renewable fossil fuel.
What is Particulate Matter?
Particulate matter, called PM, is a mixture of solid and liquid particles in the air. The term PM10 is matter that is 10 micrometers in diameter. That would be about one-seventh the width of a strand of human hair. PM2.5, sometimes called fine particles, is even smaller – measuring 2.5 micrometers or less. Fine particles are emitted secondarily from multiple sources such as automobiles, fireplaces and industrial plants. When the PM2.5 concentration levels in the air reach a certain threshold, some air districts restrict the use of fireplaces to help improve air quality on those days. Exposure to particle pollution can aggravate health issues related to the lungs, such as asthma and bronchitis. Also susceptible are individuals in higher risk groups such as the elderly, children and persons with other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. For more information on health risks associated with air pollution, visit the American Lung Association® website.