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Dryer Ventilation Safety All Homeowners Should Know

Dryer Ventilation Safety All Homeowners Should Know Adequate dryer ventilation not only makes the unit more efficient, it could save your home, too. According to the National Fire Protection Association over 14,500 dryer fires occurred in homes during the period between 2004 and 2010, causing $218 million in property damage.

Issues relating to dryer ventilation including excessive lint build-up and inadequate vent pipe maintenance figure prominently in the majority of these fires. Despite these statistics, dryers are often overlooked when evaluating potential home safety threats.

Here are some facts about dryer ventilation to reduce these hazards as well as increase the function and efficiency of the dryer.

Clean the lint trap before every use. A clean trap maintains full flow of heat out of the dryer. Internal overheating is a major cause of lint fires that may rapidly spread into the wall of the house.

While the dryer is in operation, go outside where the vent pipe terminates. Make sure you can feel a substantial flow of hot air emitting from the vent pipe. If you don’t, turn the dryer off and call for professional service. A blockage in the dryer vent pipe—perhaps caused by lint accumulation or a collapsed pipe—is an immediate fire safety hazard.

Vent pipes should meet the Underwriters UL 2158 standard for dryers. This specification permits metal pipe only. Flexible plastic pipes commonly used in the past are no longer approved due to flammability issues. The metal pipe must have a smooth interior surface—not ribbed—to minimize accumulation of highly combustible lint.

The recommended length of a dryer vent pipe should never exceed 25 feet.

Dryer vent pipes should vent into fresh air outdoors—never into an attic or crawl space.

Don’t start the dryer and then leave the house with the unit running. Also, don’t dry clothes while you are sleeping.

Because spans of the dryer vent pipe are not accessible for DIY inspection and cleaning, it’s a good idea to schedule a professional inspection and cleaning of the vent pipe every two years.

For professional service to ensure safe dryer ventilation, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.