Clothes Dryer Lint: The #1 Cause of House Fires!

Clothes Dryer Lint: The #1 Cause of House Fires!


clogged_dryer_hoseYou probably have heard it a million times: the build up of lint in a dryer vent can cause a fire. So you religiously clean out the lint screen after each load of laundry and think that you’re averting the risk. Read more to learn about clothes dryer safety and gain a few tips to keep you safe.

The reality is that while you are reducing the risk, you’re not eliminating it because those lint screens are only catching roughly 25% of the lint. The remaining 75% goes into the dryer vent and sticks to the walls. And that’s all part of what makes dryer vent fires the NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF HOME FIRES.

If you want to make sure you have safe and efficient vent system for your dryer, you have to address these issues related to the dryer vent hose:

Length: The longer the dryer hose, the more chance for lint buildup. The more chance for buildup, the greater risk of fire. Check the specifications on your dryer; it will quote the maximum distance for your duct/hose. Also, check your town code requirements. (They tend to range between 25′ and 35′ maximum.) But “the shorter the better” is the rule to follow.

dryervent_fireBends: Every bend is the equivalent of adding additional feet to your dryer hose. (We read different numbers: every bend adding the equivalent of somewhere between 2.5 and 5 feet to the risk because as you can imagine, bends catch lint!) Combine that with the information above about duct length when you’re planning where to place a dryer in your home.

Material: Use METAL DRYER DUCTS. Flexible dryer ducts made of foil or plastic can sag and let lint build up at low points. Ridges can also trap lint. So metal ducts, either flexible or solid, are much safer because they don’t sag, so lint is less likely to build up. Plus, if a fire does start, a metal duct has a greater chance of containing it.

Cleaning: Clean the duct regularly (and keep cleaning that lint screen with every load of laundry). You should also clean inside, behind, and underneath the dryer because lint builds up there as well.

Warning signs that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned include:

  • Drying times are taking longer.
  • Your dryer is getting hot when you’re using it and your clothes are being damaged.
  • You can’t see any steam or hear any noise outside your house at the wall vent when you run the dryer.

Taking these guidelines into consideration when placing your clothes dryer in your home, selecting the proper duct, and keeping it clean will significantly reduce your risk of a dryer vent fire. Plus, you’ll enjoy the additional advantages that your clothes will dry faster, you’ll use less energy, and your dryer could potentially have a longer life!

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