Product Review (August 2015)
In-O-Vate Technologies Inc
LintAlert Alarm System

By Laura Hamano


LintAlert SystemLint buildup in dryer vents is a common problem and the fire hazards associated with this poses a serious danger to consumers. We have had at least two lint related incidences over the past several years that resulted in the ignition of the lint within the dryer. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 15,500 fires associated with clothes dryers occur annually causing 10 deaths, 310 injuries, and more than 84.4 million dollars in property damage. In-O-Vate Technologies has been focused on the dryer venting business for years and it quickly became obvious to them that dryer fires were quite common. As a result, the company launched LintAlert®, a self-calibrating back pressure sensing system. The company even has a dedicated LintAlert website with a lot of information on the product including videos.


Clogged VentAir Duct Restrictions
Research indicates that the most common cause of dryer fires was the lack of maintenance on the exhaust system. Over time, lint accumulates like cholesterol in arteries, eventually restricting flow to dangerous levels. Our own dryer had an extreme amount of lint build-up similar to the photo that caused severe flow restriction. Once I cleaned out the lint, the flow was excellent. The problem most people encounter is knowing just when to perform this maintenance on their exhaust system. The solution is being able to monitor the gradual change in pressure in the dryers' exhaust duct and provide adequate warning of the air flow restriction to the user. Unfortunately, there are so many different
dryer designs currently available that no single set of parameters can be used to detect a flow restriction. The LintAlert® system uses a sensitive electrical differential pressure sensor with digital feedback wrapped around a microcomputer. The onboard electronics can capture and record the “like new” pressure levels and then detect and display a progression of lint buildup (with a visual LED array) as the pressure changes over time.


LintAlert SmartTapInstallation
The LintAlert® system requires the user to install a SmartTap fitting into the flex transition hose as close to the dryer as possible. A clear 6-foot 1/8-inch hose attaches to the SmartTap on one side and the LintAlert® unit on the other. Cleaning your vent or getting a new one at the time of the LintAlert® installation will result in the best performance. Any restriction at the time of calibration will decrease the intervals on the blockage display making it less reliable.

SmartTap Fitting
Measuring the air flow in the dryer's exhaust is key to making this product work. The SmartTap fitting is designed to penetrate the dryers' exhaust hose while remaining virtually invisible to minimize lint buildup on the penetration fixture itself. The thumb nut is used to tighten down and secure the SmartTap fitting with the felt washer onto the hose. The curved contour on the fitting should match or align with the interior radius of the flex hose along with the air-flow indicator arrow.


LintAlert SystemAlarm Module
The LintAlert® has Pass Through Terminals with a non-switched outlet,
providing a convenient plugin for items such as an iron, washing machine or dryer. The LintAlert gathers water column inch (WCI) pressure data through a highly discriminating digital pressure sensor in the unit. It is designed to detect very small changes in pressure by sampling minute amounts of airflow from the SmartTap. The onboard computer determines whether there is an increase in back pressure that may create a potential fire hazard.

This display shows the level of dryer exhaust pressure in the exhaust conduit as well as the microchip status. The LEDs go from green to yellow, and then red as pressure becomes more problematic.


LintAlert IndicatorsUsing the Indicators
The optimal (calibrated) performance is shown with a single green indicator glowing. As airflow naturally becomes restricted over time, the second, then third green indicator will illuminate. This is a good time to clean the dryer and duct system for best energy efficiency and safety.  In the event the system is not cleaned at that point, the yellow and red indicators will eventually illuminate. Once pressure becomes dangerous (or there is a sudden obstruction in the vent) all LEDs flash in unison and an audio alarm sounds.


Introductory Video
Technical Video
Introductory Video
Technical Video

Summary
The LintAlert® is designed to continually monitor the airflow in your dryer's exhaust system and show the relative pressure based on a calibrated level.  This will not only save energy, but ensure that your dryer is operating at safe levels. The LintAlert® is easy to install, but does require access to the back of the dryer for the SmartTap fitting. Once connected with the 1/8-inch hose, the unit can be calibrated to the optimal non-restricted flow setting. When lint begins to build up over time and causes the flow to become restricted, the lights on the LintAlert® unit will progressively increase until the alarm finally sounds to warn the user of the issue. This device can not only save you money by keeping your dryer at its peak performance, but also save you from a potential fire. We wish we had this in our system years ago. LintAlert is available at Home Depot and ATGStores.

 



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Review at a glance


In-O-Vate Technologies Inc -LintAlert Alarm System


Features

  • Air Pressure Sensor: The LintAlert gathers this information through a highly discriminating digital pressure sensor. It detects extremely small changes in water column inch (WCI) pressure by sampling minute amounts of airflow. Because of the very small volume of air sampled, there is zero impact to air pressure in the duct.
  • Onboard Computer: The air pressure samples are then analyzed by a programmable integrated circuit. This small onboard computer evaluates data to know whether the dryer is on and how the exhaust system is performing. Most importantly, it learns each unique system (click here to learn more about computer calibration) so it can compare current airflow to optimal, then report changes over time.
  • LED Indicators: These changes are shown through a simple to understand LED interface where green indicators, turn to yellow, and then red as pressure becomes more problematic. Optimal performance is shown with a single green indicator glowing. As airflow naturally becomes restricted over time, the second, then third green indicator will illuminate. This is a good time to clean the dryer and duct system for best energy efficiency and safety.  In the event the system is not cleaned at that point, the yellow and red indicators will eventually illuminate. Once pressure becomes dangerous (or there is a sudden obstruction) all LEDs flash in unison and an audio alarm sounds.
  • Dryer Duct Connection: For the sensor to sample pressure in the system, a self-tapping fitting, the SmartTap™, attaches to the transition hose behind the dryer. This fitting is connected to the alarm module by a 1/8" tube and provides flexibility to plug the alarm module into the nearest power outlet (to conserve available power sources, the LintAlert includes a pass through terminal into which other electronic devices can be plugged).

Company Information
In-O-Vate Technologies Inc
810 Saturn Street #20
Jupiter, FL 33477

Technical Support Hours: 7 am to 11 pm EST, 7 Days a Week
Email: support@lintalert.com

Sales and Billing Open M-F 8:30am - 5:30pm EST
Toll Free: 1.800.803.2537
Local: 561-744-0473
Fax: 561-745-9723
Email: sales@lintalert.com

Model Number: ALRT31
Source: Manufacture Supplied
Price: $60 (Street price)
URL: LintAlert


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