REGULAR DRYER VENT CLEANING IS IMPORTANT
Few people realize that dryer vent cleaning will significantly reduce the risk of fire. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries associated with the dryer vent. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryer vent cleaning and installation. The financial costs exceed $97 million dollars per year. Many, if not all dryer fires could be prevented with proper dryer duct cleaning and maintenance.
Why dryer fires occur
Lint accumulation and reduced airflow feed on each other to provide conditions ripe for a fire. Lint is a highly combustible material and buildup of such is caused by many different factors. See how to prevent the fires.
A growing problem
Traditionally most clothes dryers were located in the basements. However, nowadays many newer homes tend to have clothes dryers located away from an outside wall in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and hall closets. These new locations mean dryers tend to be vented longer distances and vents are generally installed with sharp turns and bends to accommodate the structure of the home. As a result, dryer vents are harder to reach and also create more places for lint to gather. The ideal solution is to have short, straight dryer duct venting. In addition to creating a fire hazard, if the venting is too long and/or has too many bends, it will cause the dryer to take much longer than necessary to dry loads. This places unnecessary strain on the machine and shortens its life. It also wastes energy and increases utility bills!
Most important dryer vent mistakes
1. Dryer vents are too long and/or have too many bends resulting in dryer lint buildup. In the case of dryer vents, shorter and straighter is better.
2. NEVER use flammable, flimsy plastic or foil duct extenders. Only metal vents should be used, per manufacturer’s specifications and state fire codes. Metal vents resist crushing better than plastic and foil, which allows air and lint to be carried more easily out of the system. Reduced air flow from lint buildup or crushing can cause overheating and wear out the clothes and the appliance much quicker. Many state and local municipalities have placed requirements on new and remodeling projects to include only metal dryer ducting.
3. Dryer Vent Cleaning was forgotten.