Most people are conscientious about having their furnace cleaned, however, very few people think of clothes dryer in relation to fire prevention. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports an estimated annual 15,500 fires, some resulting in deaths and injuries, due to clothes dryer fires. Besides fire, improper dryer venting also poses a carbon monoxide risk. These accidents can be prevented with properly installed and maintained dryer venting.
A clothes dryer fire occurs when lint accumulates restricting airflow which then leads to overheating. The heat and the combustible lint are the main ingredients for a clothes dryer fire. Dryers produce a lot of lint and simply cleaning the lint screen is not enough. The lint screen catches most of the lint, but some ends up underneath it. It is even possible for the lint to build up on the heating element. The best way to be sure your dryer venting system is safe is to have it professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
Another issue is the length of the vent; the shorter, the better. It used be that most clothes dryers were in the basement, on an outside wall, with a relatively short, straight vent to the outdoors. These days many newer homes tend to have their laundry area located away from an outside wall; some are on the second floor. This means dryer vents are much longer and contain some bends where lint can accumulate. They're also harder to reach therefore more difficult to keep cleaned. The ideal dryer vent system is short and straight. The pieces should also be joined together to leave the inside smooth and free of screws or fasteners that lint can catch on.
It is important that the venting be made of rigid material, not the flexible, foil type tubing that crushes easily, restricting airflow. Allow enough clearance between the clothes dryer and the wall; some people push the dryer too close, crushing the venting and creating an air flow problem right off the bat.
This article was written by Bryan Linz, owner of Dryer Vent Wizard in Central Pennsylvania. Bryan wants all consumers to be aware of how dangerous their seemingly innocent clothes dryer can be. For more fire safety tips and easy, measures for preventing a clothes dryer fire visit http://www.dryerventwizard.com