Dryer fires are more common than you might realize, in fact in 2010 there was an estimated 16,800 reports of fires in the US which involved dryers or washing machines. These fires were responsible for 51 deaths, 380 injuries and about $236 million in property damage. So, what can you do to help protect yourself and your home from a fire as a result of your dryer? Here are some tips to help.
- Keep dryer vent hoses as short as possible. Try not to have excess hose, they should only be as long as you need in order to properly vent moist hot air from the dryer.
- Use a metal vent tube that is at least 4-inches and rigid. Flexible tubes along with foil tubes can both pose fire hazards. In fact the foil tubes are highly flammable and should be avoided all together.
- Keep the venting system outside the house. Do not allow your dryer venting system to run inside the home in attics, chimneys, or crawl spaces. The safest place to run the venting system is outside the home.
- Routinely check and clean your vents. Dryer lint is highly flammable; in fact you can use dryer lint in toilet paper tubes to make fire starters for camping or survival, so the last place you want dryer lint hanging out is inside your home. Keep your vents cleaned regularly. Also check the outdoor vents to ensure no critters have gotten into the vent or damaged it in any way.
- While talking about cleaning lint from your dryer vents it is also important to clean the lint from the lint trap inside the dryer after every single use to prevent build up. This will go a long way in ensuring that your dryer is operating efficiently and that the hose and vent are not taking on a lot of lint during each dry cycle.
- Routine maintenance and inspections are very important. Hire a professional to come at least once a year to service and inspect your dryer and its components to ensure it is working and running properly.
Keeping your appliances working properly is the key in any situation to avoid issues and fires, so take the time to get a professional in routinely to check everything; they might find a problem that you and I could miss and think was ok. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your family and your home.
You should have your dryer vent and hose inspected or cleaned once a year by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified professional. Both of the licensed and insured chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA certified and CDET (Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians) with experience dealing with dryer hoses and vents, common chimney problems and complex issues that homeowners may face with their chimney. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to discuss your dryer vent or dryer hose, especially if you haven’t had it cleaned in a while.