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Dryer Vent Safety in Your Home: What You Need to Know

Dryer Vent SafetyDryer vents are implicated in destructive house fires each year. The function of a dryer vent is to exhaust hot air produced by the dryer through a metal conduit that extends to the outside of the home. It sounds simple. But if lint from drying fabrics accumulates inside the vent, a hazardous condition exists. Lint is composed of tiny fibers which, when exposed to extreme heat inside the vent, may ignite suddenly. The high-temperature fire that results can spread to the house itself, causing major damage.

Dryer fires account for more than $230 million in damage to residences annually. More than 25% of these fires are directly related to accumulation of excess lint inside the dryer vent.  Here are some suggestions to help ensure that your home is safe — and not the next statistic.

Be Alert to Danger Signs with Dryer Vents

Certain symptoms of a potential blockage in the vent can be a red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.

  • Clothes taking an unusually long time to dry.
  • Lint blowing out of the dryer, usually around the door seal.
  • Particles of lint stuck to clothes after drying.
  • A burning smell emitting from the dryer-vent outlet.
  • Automatic safety shut-off turns off the dryer because the internal temperature is excessively high.

What Else Can You Do About Dryer Vents?

The dryer lint trap should be cleaned before every load of clothes — with no exceptions. Remove lint with your fingers or use a brush for even better results. At regular intervals, it’s a good idea to also remove the lint trap and wash it in warm soapy water.

Schedule an annual inspection every year by a certified technician. A typical inspection includes opening up the dryer lint pipe and examining the entire length for blockages due to lint accumulation, as well as bent or collapsed pipe segments. The vent pipe and the interior of the dryer will also be vacuumed and the lint trap removed and washed.

For more information about safety issues with dryer vents and how to avoid potential fire hazards, contact the professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.