How much do you know about dryer vents and their purpose? If you're like most people, all you know is that your dryer is a very simple to use appliance that provides a much needed convenience. Most people take it for granted, like turning on a faucet to get water, or depressing a handle to flush a toilet. No one thinks about the mechanics of what is happening within a dryer vent system. Few have any idea of the danger that lurks in a dryer vent system unless they have had the unfortunate experience of a clothes dryer fire.
One of the problems encountered by most consumers with clothes dryers is caused by a lack of dryer vent cleaning and maintenance. Dryer ducts take the heat, moisture and lint from clothing inside the dryer to the dryer vent outside their home. The moist lint can stick to the sides of the dryer duct, later drying to a hard crust that hangs on and builds up, reducing the size of the opening for heat to escape. This causes reduced air flow and will eventually cause a fire. Lint build-up and restricted air flow also causes a dryer to work harder to do its job, costing you more in energy bills.
Did you know that you have a greater chance of a fire being caused by your clothes dryer than by your gas furnace? Hard to believe, isn't it? Most people know to change their furnace filter and have their furnace cleaned and inspected periodically to be sure it is safe. Unfortunately, few people do the same for their clothes dryer. This is why over $15,000 clothes dryer fires occur each year. Of course, with increase consumer awareness in the last few decades, the number of dryer fires has decreased, but we still hear about far too many homes and lives being lost each year due to improper dryer vent cleaning and maintenance.
Here are some tips to prevent a clothes dryer fire and ensure your dryer is working efficiently:
- Always check the lint screen before each load of laundry and clean it after each load
- Wash the lint screen every few months to remove residue build-up caused by fabric softener sheets
- Be sure your dryer vent system is up to code with the city, state and manufacturer
- Replace plastic and vinyl dryer duct material with semi-rigid or sold metal
- Do not place rags and clothing in the dryer that have been soaked with combustible materials, even if they have been washed. These items should be line dried
- Have your dryer vent system inspected by a dryer vent cleaning and repair specialist annually, or more often if you have a large family and are doing an excessive amount of laundry each week
- Do not leave the house or go to sleep while the dryer is running
Here are some warning signs of a possible fire hazard:
- Clothes are taking more than one complete cycle to get laundry dry
- No lint is visible on the lint screen
- Dryer repeatedly shuts off during a cycle
- Clothes have a moldy smell when you remove them from the dryer
- Clothes feel very hot after a cycle
Most of the above tips are pretty straight forward, but how do you know if your dryer vent system is up to code? How do you know if you need to have your dryer vent cleaned more than once a year? What is average use? These are good questions to ask a dryer vent repair and maintenance specialist. If you are in doubt, chances are you have never had your dryer vent system professionally inspected and cleaned. This is a good time to call a specialist and get the answers to these and any other questions you may have.
This article was written by Charles Dillard, owner of Dryer Vent Wizard of Oak Park, Michigan. Charles is a dryer vent repair specialist who provides dryer vent cleaning services as well as educating consumers on dryer fire safety. http://www.dryerventwizard services consumers in the following areas of Oakland and Livingston County, Michigan: West Bloomfield, Birmingham, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Waterford, Pontiac, Oakland Township, Clarkston, Beverly Hills, Hartland, Lake Angelus, Ferndale, Orchard Lake, Huntington Woods, Oxford, Oak Park, Walled Lake, Lathrup Village and neighboring cities and communities.
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