In heating ducts, the build-up of dirt and debris can cause health problems and inefficient operation of a home’s HVAC system. Most homes also contain a smaller type of duct – dryer vent – that can cause a different type of build-up, with a potentially life-threatening situation: dryer fires.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that more than 15,600 dryer fires occur annually, causing more than $75.4 million in property damage, injuring 370 people and killing 20. In most cases, the culprit is lint in the heating element—often caused by lint backing up and blocking air flow in improperly installed or dirty ducts. Even dryers with safeguards are susceptible to dryer fires.
In gas dryers, improper or blocked ducts also can cause flue gasses to back up into the house. The odorless, colorless carbon monoxide (CO) fumes can be fatal. At lower levels, CO poisoning mimics flu symptoms (without the fever): headache, weakness, nausea, disorientation and deep fatigue.