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Overheated Clothes Dryers Can Cause Fires

February 7, 2011 0 Comments
To achieve maximum drying efficiency, clean the lint trap before and after each load. Clean and inspect your dryer vent system yearly.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600 fires, which resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers.

Clogged or partially clogged dryer vents can also result in increased operating costs with longer drying times.  This will also cause premature failure of components or the dryer.In a recent independent study it was found that a load of 7 large bath towels in a dryer with 62.5% vent restriction took 60% more time to dry the same size load and used 77% more energy than the load without the restricted vent.

The following are steps the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends Homeowners should take to prevent dryer vent fires.

  • Clean the Lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes.  If clothing is still damp when removed after a normal dryer cycle or requires a much longer than normal dryer cycle, this may be a sign the dryer vent needs cleaning.
  • Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct (hose connected to the dryer) periodically. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission gives no recommendation as to cleaning frequency, most manufacturers recommend annual cleaning for the dryer to work at maximum efficiency.
  • Check and clean the outside dryer vent exhaust for obstructions and make sure the flapper opens and closes properly. If the flapper is not fully closing, birds and rodents can nest in the dryer vent line.
  • Clean behind and around the dryer where lint can build up. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of lint and clutter.
  • Replace old style flexible plastic/vinyl hose with corrugated or foil hose. The plastic/vinyl hose is no longer allowed in most states and is not fireproof and can actually cause a fire to start and spread quicker.
  • The interior of  the dryer chassis should be cleaned by a qualified service person periodically. Lint and debris will build up inside the dryer as well as in the dryer duct.

If you suspect that your dryer vent is clogged, or want to be on the safe side and have it professionally cleaned, call AdvantaClean!

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