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Is Your Clothes Dryer a Potential Fire Hazard?

clothes dryer vent cleaning

A professional dryer vent cleaning will not only protect your home from a dryer vent fire, but it will also increase the efficiency of your dryer.

Every year thousands of fires are caused by clothes dryers in the United States.   Last year in Ansonia, Connecticut, for instance, an apartment complex caught fire due to an overheated dryer; and three families were displaced.  In early 2013, a clothes dryer caught fire in a house in Bethel, Connecticut.  Statistics show that there are about 15 fatalities caused by clothes dryer fires annually, and there are also about 400 clothes-dryer-related injuries every year.  An important safety measure is to get your dryer vent cleaned and inspected annually.

The dangerous situation with clothes dryers is that lint and debris tend to gradually build up in the dryer vent, which causes less efficient venting and which causes your dryer to heat up more than it’s designed to.  Gas clothes dryers have an additional hazard in that a clogged vent can result in a release of potentially deadly carbon monoxide into the home.

The design of homes today places clothes dryers in other places besides next to outside walls.  The more complicated venting makes dryer exhaust vent inspections more important than ever before.  Dryer ducts can be up to 25 feet in length, but the additional length means more possible clogs as well as the potential for animals to find their way in and live in the ducts, blocking the exhaust.

dryer vent fires

If your clothes come out of the dryer still damp, it may be time for a dryer vent cleaning.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends trusting a professional chimney sweep or a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician® to inspect and clean your clothes dryer annually.  Dryer Exhaust Technicians are specially qualified to ensure the safety of your clothes dryer vent because of the extensive exam they must pass to earn that distinction.  One of the best benefits of hiring a professional to inspect and maintain your clothes dryer is that the wear on your dryer will be decreased and its efficiency increased.

A clothes dryer cannot run efficiently when the vent is clogged.  The dryer will run at higher temperatures than it’s supposed to, which decreases the lifespan of the appliance.  The heating element could burn out and the safety controls could be overworked, both situations which could cause a fire to ignite.

The leading factor in clothes dryer fires which take place in residential buildings is the failure to clean the exhaust ducts.  Many people are simply unaware of the potential hazard caused by clogged ducts and that a dryer vent cleaning can prevent them from taking place.

Want to know more about clothes dryer exhaust safety?  Check out the following facts:
– All dryer venting systems should terminate to the out-of-doors.  They should not, for instance, lead the exhaust to chimney space or an attic or crawl space.
– All dryer ducts must be at least 4” in diameter.
– A dryer duct must not be smaller than the outlet on the appliance.
– When measuring the length of an exhaust duct, 90º turns add 5 feet to the calculation, as a rule.
– It is unsafe to use flexible transition ducts in a wall, attic, or crawl space; and it should not be done.
– There should be metal transition ducts between the exhaust duct and the clothes dryer.
– The outside dryer exhaust vent termination hood should include a back draft damper, to prevent exhaust from entering into the home.
– At this time the CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician is the only nationally-recognized credential for maintaining and cleaning dryer venting systems.

When is the last time your dryer venting system was cleaned?  Contact the professional dryer vent cleaners at Dr. Lint for Dryer Vent Cleaning today, and they will help to ensure that the vents are free of lint and debris and that your home is safe from dryer vent fires.

Dr. Lint
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: (860) 356-0905

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