Dryer Vent Safety
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, clothes dryers contribute to nearly 3,000 fires, 5 deaths and over $35 million in property loss each year. So making sure your dryer vent is clear is a simple but important way to keep your home and family safer. Even in the absence of fire, clogged vents cause your dryer to be less effective resulting in greater use of electricity and more breakdowns. If you find your dryer is taking longer and longer to fully dry a load of laundry, chances are your vent has become blocked with lint.
Failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. (Over 34 percent)
- Dryer vents should be cleaned at least one a year but there are a number of factors that may dictate more frequent cleaning.
- The greater the length of the vent duct, the more frequent the vent should be cleaned. Dryers, which used to be located almost exclusively in basements or outside laundry areas, are often located adjacent to living areas in newer dwellings. This frequently requires a greater distance to vent to the outdoors. Clogged vents with gas dryers in living areas can result in poisonous carbon monoxide back up into the home.
- Straight is better: the fewer bends in vent conduit, the slower the build up of lint and the less frequent the necessity of cleaning.
- Older or smaller dryers are generally are less efficient and will promote somewhat greater lint build up.
Some other safety considerations:
- The dryer duct should be at least the same diameter as the dryer vent.
- Duct material, particularly if concealed, should be made of semi-rigid, non-flamable metal material. Avoid accordion plastic or foil.
- The dryer should vent outdoors, not into a crawl space or attic and not into a chimney or other vent.
- Dryer duct should be secured using metal tape, not screws or non-metal tape.
- Never leave home with the dryer running.
- Be sure to clean the lint filter before drying each new load of clothes.
- Consult you dryer installation manual for exact requirements for you dryer.