Since its introduction to the public in 1938 the clothes dryer has steadily become as common household fixture. It’s one of those things that you might not think to much about until it breaks. With an estimate of over 80% of the homes in America that have a clothes dryer, my guess is that you know the use of it has a byproduct of lint. While most of this lint is captured by a removable lint screen that can be pulled out and cleaned after each use, did you know that not all the lint is captured by this screen? Some of the lint will pass through the screen and begin to build up in the exhaust vent piping. When this happens, it restricts air flow exposes the flammable lint material to heat.
Local cleaning expert Ron Papke from QCC had this to say. “What many people don’t know is a partially restricted dryer vent not only is a fire hazard but it causes longer drying time which wastes energy costing the homeowner more to operate it.” While it’s recommended that you clean the removable lint screen with each use, Ron says annual inspection of the vent piping system for damage or obstructions and a thorough cleaning is highly recommended. “We’ve seen many vents quite obstructed and crushed and kinked flex hoses that travel through crawl spaces and attics that the homeowner may never see.” Ron continued by saying, “a telltale sign of a problem is the need to run the dryer for more than one cycle. Many times, the dryer is too close to the wall and causes kinking and obstructs the vent piping.”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration website, there’s over 2,900 home clothes dryer fires reported each year that cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million dollars in property loss. They state that failure to clean the dryer properly is the leading cause of home dryer fires. Data shows that more home dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.
It’s been said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Meaning that a little precaution before a crisis occurs is preferable to a lot of fixing afterwards. If you’re interested in learning more ways to save time and money on your home, feel free to contact me about a Homeowners Insurance Review.