As homeowners, we are concerned about the possible dangers posed by dryer vents clogged with lint. According to the US Fire Administration, this causes roughly 2,900 fires each year. This leads to injuries, deaths and millions in property damage. This is disturbing data, but you do not need to become part of the statistics. Here are some important do’s and don’ts to keep your dryer functioning at optimal levels, and to prevent a lint fire in the home.

Things to Do

The first thing to note is that this is not your average do-it-yourself job. It is best to call a professional to install your dryer vents so you can be sure that heat will pass through the system freely. Other important steps are:

  • Have the correct outlet installed for the dryer
  • Go through the manual before using the appliance
  • Clear the lint trap each time you use the dryer.
  • Vacuum out the dryer vents every few months.
  • Have a professional clean your vents every year. If you use the dryer frequently, this should be done more often.
  • Pay attention to the function of the appliance. If it takes longer for clothes to dry, there is too much lint in the line.
  • Check the connection at the back of the dryer to make sure that it is not damaged.
  • Check the vent flap to see that it is operating properly
  • Check the outside vent for birds’ nests or debris

Things to Avoid

If your dryer has started to take longer to dry a single load, you should stop using it and call a professional to check the vents. There is a good chance that this is happening because of excessive lint. Here are some things you should avoid doing to keep the appliance running efficiently and to prevent fires.

  • Check clothes labels for instructions as some are not suitable for drying
  • Don’t make the loads too heavy
  • Do not put in items that have rubber or plastic in them, such as rugs
  • Do not use the dryer if the lint filter is blocked by lint or if it is damaged
  • Do not leave the home with the dryer running

Your dryer is not likely cause problems and should continue to serve you for years if you treat it the right way. Like any other appliance, it requires can and proper use to increase longevity.

No matter what type of dryer or vent system you have, you can greatly reduce the risk of a fire with regular maintenance, which includes visits from a chimney sweep. Lou Curley’s Chimney Service is a local, family-owned and operated company with two CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps to better serve homeowners along the Main Line. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a dryer vent hose cleaning or inspection. Also follow us on Facebook for even more great information about keeping your dryer safe for years to come.