Let Your Appliances Breathe: Update Appliance Vents

From on June 30, 2008 in Air Conditioning & Heating

air ventWe’ve established before how important ventilation is throughout the home. Just as you need to keep air flowing throughout the house, you also need to keep air flowing to and from appliances. In order to keep appliances running efficiently, vents will need to be cleaned, maintained, and updated if necessary.

Dryer Vents

Dryer vents are critical because an unclean, clogged vent will release lint and dust into the air and, aside from creating a mess over time, can cause respiratory problems for you and your family. Vents should be checked regularly and changed when necessary. It is not too difficult to tell when the vent is clogged or inefficient because the laundry room air will get noticeably humid and even taste stale or starchy. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) highly recommends that homeowners with plastic dryer vents upgrade to metal vents due to the high flammability of plastic. You can purchase vent upgrade kits to do the project yourself. Just note that different brand dryers have different vents and require different parts, so buy a kit that fits your Maytag, Amana, or whichever brand.

Refrigerator Vents

The vents in your refrigerator supply the flow of frigid air that keeps your food cool. First of all, it is important to make sure that these vents are not blocked by food containers. Refrigerator vents are built into the refrigerator itself so the best way to update refrigerator vents is to update the refrigerator itself. In this case look for the EnergyStar label. Energy Star rated refrigerators use at least 12% less energy than conventional designs. If you do not want to upgrade, but would like to improve the efficiency of your refrigerator, a common solution is to check and vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge. Also check the fan that stimulates airflow through these coils as they tend to heat up.

Vent Fans

Vent fans are common in attics to facilitate airflow and, especially in hotter climates, they are essential in minimizing your heating and cooling costs. It is essential that you inspect vent fans, including exhaust fans in the bathroom or kitchen, to make sure they are working adequately. Regular cleaning will be necessary and upgrading to newer, more efficient models is recommended. You can also check out solar fans that are effective and require no wiring and can reap significant savings over time.

Oven/Range Vents

Range hoods are essential for exhausting smoke and excess moisture from your many adventures in cooking. Range hoods are often neglected and often result in the annoying cry of the smoke detector or worse. Before updating your range hood, check and clean the filter by letting it soak in the sink for awhile, then scrubbing both sides of the filter. Placing it in the dishwasher will certainly get it clean, but it will leave a greasy build-up in your dishwasher that can lead to clogged drains and an ineffective dishwasher. If you’re tired of your unsightly vent hood there are plenty of more aesthetically pleasing options available, from the sleek and quiet model to the wild, loud version. Check out some products from last year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.