Hidden Dangers in Dryer Vents and Screens

Did you know that dryer fires and dryer vents are one of the leading causes of house fires? The statistics are alarming with 2,900 clothes dryer fires reported each year causing an estimated 5 deaths,100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss according to the National Fire Association. The most common causes of home clothes dryer fires is the failure to clean lint screens. The second cause revolves around improper venting of heat. Since more clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, here are a few simple safety tips to keep your home from becoming one of these horrific statistics this fall and winter.

Lint Screen Safety

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s requirements for cleaning the dryer lint screen.
  • Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, paint, flammable liquids, cleaning supplies and clothing.
  • Make sure you thoroughly clean the lint filter before each load of laundry.
  • Remove lint that has collected around the drum.

Vent Safety

Since vent pipes can overheat and cause a fire, take safety precautions for this part of your dryer as well. Many dryer manufacturers and local municipalities require a metal vent duct, not a flexible vinyl vent. The metal duct should have as few bends as possible and be routed outside with as short a duct as possible. The manufacturer of your dryer may have specific requirements but please note – LOCAL CODE always supersedes manufacturers requirements.

Other safety tips include:

  • Have your venting installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not restrict the air exhaust vent pipe and make sure that the outdoor vent flap is opening when the dryer is operating.
  • Never install screen on the exit vent pipe (blocks lint from escaping leading to hazardous buildup)
  • Once a year clean have your vent pipes professionally cleaned. If you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, this should be done more often.

If you have a vinyl dryer vent, call us as soon as possible for a free estimate on replacing it with metal venting. Vinyl is not only against code, it is extremely dangerous. Don’t delay.

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