The dryer is a pretty impressive piece of equipment. We can throw clean, wet clothing into it and within 45 minutes to an hour, they’re dry. Most of today’s models are even energy star approved and help save money over older dryers. But they all still have the same issue; they have to be vented outside, and the vent becomes clogged with lint over time, creating a fire hazard.

More than 15,000 home fires each year begin with the dryer. That’s a pretty staggering number. Several of those fires do not destroy the entire home, but some do. This fire could have been prevented had the homeowner known to have the dryer vent and hose inspected and cleaned and cleaned at least once per year.

Common dryer problems include overheating or not heating at all, taking too long to dry clothing, and not producing enough air to dry anything. The array of problems with the dryer is quite diverse. Here are a few ways you can troubleshoot your dryer on your own:

  1. Move it: Look behind the dryer at the point where the hose exits the home. Is it in line so that air flows easily or is the hose being crimped and preventing air flow? Sometimes simply moving the dryer to improve air flow will fix the problem of the dryer not drying clothing in a timely manner.
  2. Touch it: The dryer should feel warm to the touch, but never so hot that it burns your skin. If it’s operating well above the intended temperature, it could have a clogged lint screen, exhaust hose, or vent. Look at the exterior of the vent and make sure you don’t see lint stringing down from the vent.
  3. Listen to it: The dryer may sound different as it begins to have overheating problems or air flow problems. Pay close attention to the way it sounds, and if you hear odd noises call someone to repair it.

Dryer fires are scary because they really sneak up on you. You’re doing laundry, minding your own business, and then all of a sudden you smell smoke. Try not to panic if this happens to you. Drop what you’re doing, call 911, and reach for your fire extinguisher. Don’t try any heroics, but if you can safely put the fire out before emergency personnel arrive, do it. If you’re more concerned with getting yourself and your family to safety first, do it. Your safety and the safety of your family are the most important things to keep in mind in this situation.

Give us a call at Lou Curley’s Chimney service at 610-626-2439 if you’d like to schedule a dryer vent cleaning. Both of the chimney inspectors who work here are CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified, Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians (CDET), and pursue continued education and additional certifications throughout the year. We’re confident that we’re the solution to all of your chimney needs as well as your dryer vent issues.