I’ve been following a lot of posts on facebook about friends whose pipes are frozen. How awful is that? Pipes are the first thing I think of when I see the word “winterizing.” Yet there’s another item that’s good to keep on your list to keep an eye on: your dryer exhaust vent.
If your laundry is in the basement of your house, chances are good this information could be really helpful to you. Where does your exhaust vent exit your property? Is it possible for it to get closed by snow or ice? If so, go check on it. I’ll wait.
No really. I will.
It’s that important.
Dryers are one of the top culprits when it comes to fires in the home. If your dryer vent becomes iced over or snowed shut, it can lead to a few things. First, the lint that collects outside your dryer vent making wonderful nesting material for all the birds in your neighborhood isn’t getting out. Stuck inside the line, it’s a great firestarter, should it get hot enough. If the line becomes blocked with lint, you might see additional lint buildup on the backside of the dryer or lint might blow out of the dryer when it usually doesn’t. (And here’s a reminder for good weather: at least once a year, either change that line or clean it out. A leaf blower will do a fabulous job of blowing the lint right on out.) But back to winter.
If the dryer vent gets stuck, the lack of airflow will allow heat to build up in the line and in the dryer itself. Lint or no lint, too much heat retained isn’t good for the dryer, let alone the vent line, and it can lead to a dryer fire. Some telltale signs that the vent line is blocked is if it takes longer than usual to dry your clothes OR if the clothing is hotter than usual when it’s removed from the dryer. (Another hint for dryer efficiency is to place a dry towel in the dryer before you place the wet clothes in to dry. It helps to wick the moisture and the clothes dry faster. I just keep an old, clean bath towel in there.)
If your dryer is a gas dryer, a blocked line can also lead to CO build up. Carbon Monoxide can be deadly.
So take a look at your dryer vent line. And when you go next door to help out the neighbors with their shoveling... Check their dryer vents, too.
Batten down the hatches! I hear more snow is on the way. (Oh... Just not the dryer hatches!)