Dryer vent fires are common and one of the leading causes of house fires in the United States. You can help prevent them by keeping your dryer vent clean and performing regular maintenance. Some basic steps to use to keep your dryer vent clean are:
- Cleaning the lint screen: It is a good idea to clean the lint screen before every load of laundry. Even if there is not much lint on it, you want to develop the habit of keeping the screen clean.
- The vent hose: This is the hose that attaches to the back of your dryer and leads the heated air outside through a vent. The length of the hose is important, as the shorter it is, the better it will help prevent lint build up. Check for kinks in the hose and replace it if this can’t be straightened out. The bottom line is, the shorter and straighter the vent hose is, the better.
- The dyer: The inside of the dryer need to be cleaned often to remove lint and dirt. The lint trap does not catch all the lint, so some may end up on the heating element and any available space inside the dryer. A vacuum cleaner is often a great piece of equipment to use to do this. More modern dryers are a little more difficult to pull apart to enable you to get to the crevices of the dryer, so a professional should be contracted to do this clean up.
- The external area: The areas outside the dryer should also be kept clear. This will prevent a bigger blaze in the event of a dryer fire. Objects like boxes, clothes and paper left close to the dryer can easily feed a fire. Too many things around a dryer also reduce the air flow which also contributes to a fire blazing out of control.
- Replace old gas lines: If you have a gas dryer, the gas line should be in good condition. If it is old or seems to be damaged, you need to get it replaced.
These are important steps in dryer vent fires since the accumulation of lint is a contributing factor to these types of fires. While you can periodically do much of these steps yourself, you should have a professional do a maintenance check periodically. The frequency will depend on how often you use the dryer and the size of the loads.
Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if Lou Curley’s Chimney Service can assist you with your chimney needs this year. Make sure to schedule your post-winter chimney inspection and cleaning by spring so we can get you on the schedule. Don’t wait until the end of summer, because that’s when our rush starts. Plan early and get it over with early.