Safety

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Dryer Vents

Dryer vents are one of the leading causes of house fires.  If they are short through-wall vents, maintenance is fairly simple.  Slide the dryer out so you have room to work.  Disconnect the flex hose from the wall.  Slip a dryer duct brush through the duct and out the other end. This should be inspected annually and cleaned as necessary.

 

Dryer Vent

Dryer duct packed full of lint. Very little air can move through this duct.

If your duct runs up through the attic and out through the roof, you’ll probably need a professional to clean it.  These are even more troublesome as dryers are not built to move air through a long length of duct.

The Dangers of DIY Electricians

Here we see an electrical panel that at first glance looks professional.  The wiring is neat.  The wires are bent and terminate properly.  Upon closer examination, we see where a circuit has been added for an additional outlet in the garage.  This was obviously not done by a professional licensed electrical contractor.

The wiring for the additional circuit was not done by adding a breaker even though there was room in the panel. Instead, the wiring was added directly to the main buss of the panel.

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You can see the two wires screwed directly to the buss bars.  This essentially created a 220 volt, 20 amp circuit that is protected only by the 150 amp main breaker.  This is very wrong and very dangerous.  This circuit could be overloaded to the point that the insulation could melt on the wiring and the wiring could get hot enough to create a fire.

 

Dryer Vents

In many homes, the dryer vent does not exit an adjacent exterier wall.  Newer homes typically have the dryers in an interior closet and the dryer is vented vertically through the roof.  If that is the case, the dryer vent should be metal pipe with each joint sealed with metallic tape.

Occasionally, something happens during the life of the home, perhaps during the dryer install, perhaps during the ductwork install during the homes construction.  When really does not matter, what matters is that the vent pipe has been damaged and become disconnected.  This will allow lots of warm moist air into the attic, leading to fungus and mold growth.  In addition, dryer lint that gets through the filter will be deposited in the attic.  This lint is not treated with flame retardant like your attic insulation, but is very flammable.

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This should be repaired as soon as possible. Left un-repaired, it will lead to ruined insulation, wood rot, mold issues and possible fire hazard.

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Interior Key Locks

Occasionally I come across exterior doors with keyed locks on the interior.  This is often done in the mistaken belief of security. Because there is a window near or in the door, there is a false need to put a keyed lock on the inside.  A burglar could break the side window and reach in and open a thumb latch.  That is somewhat true.  But, glass in a door or next to a door is supposed to be tempered glass and is much harder to break than regular glass.  Secondly, I’ve never seen a home without a window that could not be broken to gain access to the home. In fact, this is the usual manor of entry I see in empty homes.

 

But most importantly, in the event of a fire, the occupants are going to need to leave the house quickly.  When seconds matter, and your brain is in panic mode, the last thing you need to do is spend minutes looking for the key to the door.  As one of my firemen friends said, “This is where we’ll find the bodies after the fire.”

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