Updated: Aug 6, 2018
Preventing Dryer Fires!
Have you cleaned out your dryer vent this year? Yes, I said this year, not have you ever cleaned out your dryer vent. This critical home maintenance needs to be done every year. According to the NFPA from 2010-2014 dryer fires killed 13 people and did $238 million in property damage. Before you go pick up a dryer vent cleaning kit, make sure your dryer vent was installed correctly. The first thing to do is check if your dryer vent is connected to a flexible duct like the white duct shown below or the silver duct shown above?
If it is, you need to replace it, these flexible ducts increase the chance of lint building up on the inside of the duct that can lead to a fire. Flexible ducts should be replaced with smooth metal ducts (silver duct in picture above) and are attached with foil tape, not screws. Screws will catch lint and make it more difficult to clean. Next let's check the length of the vent, your dryer owner’s manual will have specific measurements that need to be followed, but generally, most dryers state the following. If you have a straight run of vent with no bends, you must be less then 25’-0” from where the vent exits the building to your dryer. Since I have never seen a straight run of duct, we need to do some math, for each 90˚ bend subtract 5’-0” and for every 45˚ bend subtract 2’-6” from 25’-0”. So, a typical setup might have 2 90˚ bends, so your dryer must be located no more than 15’-0” of vent length from the exterior of the building. Please notice I said EXTERIOR of the building. I see a lot of vents that discharge into an attic or out soffits which will increase the chances that you will have mold in your attic.
Now that you have verified that you have the proper ducts installed we should circle back to cleaning your dryer vents. I use the LintEater Dryer Vent Cleaning System and have had good success with it, but there are many on the market all with different accessories available. Just follow the instructions with your cleaning system or hire a professional to clean it out for you.
Now that you have cleaned out your vents create a calendar event to clean out your dryer vent for next year and set it to reoccur every year.
To book a home inspection online visit www.grandviewinspection.com.
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