I recently had a customer's dryer vent cleaned. (Pictured above) They found nearly 1 1/2” of lint on a screen which covered the roof vent. Since the roof vent already had a flap which opened automatically when the dryer was operating, this screen should have been removed at the time of installation to prevent this very problem. This sure explains the unusually long drying time the homeowner was experiencing. Once again, dryer fires are one of the top 5 causes of house fires. Fortunately, in this case we avoided one by taking action sooner than later.
Here are some tips from the US Fire Administration to help prevent dryer fires:
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
- Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
- Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
- Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
- Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
- Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
Things to avoid
- Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
- Don’t overload the dryer.
- Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
- Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
- Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
- Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.