Dryer fires are a real problem for homeowners in the United States. They are the cause of approximately 15,500 fires every year. We often assist homeowners with dryer maintenance and dryer vent cleaning in effort to prevent dryer fires. Here’s what you can do to prevent them in addition to scheduling a professional cleaning at least once a year.

Proper Installation

The dryer, like any other appliance, must be properly installed. The area around the dryer should be open enough to allow adequate air flow. The dryer pulls air from the room and expels it through the dryer vent hose. It will begin to overheat if it cannot pull enough air or if it has resistance while expelling the hot, damp air.

The dryer vent hose, or duct, is the round tube that connects to the exhaust on the back of the dryer and carries hot, damp air outside. The hose needs to be made of a flexible, nonflammable material. Don’t kink or crush the hose during installation, and make sure that the dryer doesn’t have to be pushed against the hose when it is put properly into place. You can always shorten the hose to prevent creating loops and kinks.

Dryer Maintenance

The dryer must also be maintained like most other appliances. You may need to defrost your refrigerator or change the water filter for the ice maker from time to time. The dryer is no different from any other appliance.

  • Clean the lint filter after every load of laundry.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to clean the area where the lint trap is stored if possible.
  • Disconnect the dryer hose from the back of the dryer and clean away the lint once or twice a year.
  • Clean the entire dryer vent to ensure that all of the lint is removed.

Be extremely careful if you attempt this on your own because a spark can cause the entire hose to suddenly burst into flames. The lint that is trapped in the hose is extremely dry and flammable.

More Dryer Safety Tips

  • Read the dryer manual. I know; manuals are usually boring, but you should know everything you can know about your dryer before using it.
  • Never leave home while the dryer is running. It’s actually more dangerous than hair appliances or coffee pots.
  • Never go to bed with the dryer running. Dryers have a reputation for creating carbon monoxide and releasing it into your home in addition to their ability to cause fires.
  • Consider using a spin dryer to extract excess water out of things before you use the dryer to finish drying them. The washer’s spin cycle does a pretty good job extracting water, but a spin dryer removes even more. This reduces the amount of time your dryer has to run and reduces the amount of heat, condensation, and carbon monoxide it creates.

The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified and we have years of experience under our belts. We strive to continue our education as often as possible so we’re always in the position to offer you the best possible chimney services in Drexel Hill and all along the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney needs or to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, or chimney repair.