Is a Hidden Danger Lurking in Your Laundry Room?
Do you know a hidden danger could be lurking in your laundry room? Many people don’t realize that clothes dryers can be a major fire hazard if not properly installed, cleaned and maintained.The U.S. Fire Administration and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that clothes dryers account for over 15,000 fires a year. Failure to keep them clean is the leading cause of dryer fires.
Lint accumulation and reduced airflow are two major causes of dryer fires. Lint is a highly combustible material, and while you may think you are taking care if this issue by cleaning your lint filter regularly, lint can escape the lint trap and build up inside the dryer and dryer vent. Any blockage can cause the dryer to work harder and overheat or malfunction. The heat build-up can create sparks or even flames.
A dryer vent blockage is a bigger problem these days due to the design of new homes and the preference for open-floored plans where the laundry room is typically located in the center of the house. Asa result, the vent can run a long distance until it reaches the exterior. And the longer the dryer vent, the harder it is for the dryer vent to remain clean.
Warning Signs in Your Laundry Room
Some warning signs that your dryer vent might be experiencing blockage include the following:
- Laundry takes much longer than normal to dry, or feels hotter than normal after a load is done.
- The dryer’s exterior feels very hot when you touch it.
- Less dryer lint than normal is on the filter, indicating lint may be lodged inside the dryer instead of the filter.
- Visible dryer lint is accumulating on the exhaust vent or elsewhere.
- Drying time for clothing takes longer than Safety40 minutes.
Saftey Tips for Your Laundry Room
Take these easy steps to keep your family and home safe:
- Never operate your dryer while you are sleeping or out of the house
- The flexible transition hose between the dryer and wall outlet should be metal and not kinked or crushed
- Clean the lint filter after every load to save energy, improve performance and minimize fire hazards
- Use a vacuum attachment to remove accumulated lint from under the lint trap and other accessible places
- Have the dryer taken apart and thoroughly cleaned by a qualified service technician every one to three years to reduce fire hazard and increase efficiency and lifespan
- Check the outside exhaust vent while the dryer is operating to ensure air is escaping
- Clean behind the dryer where lint can build up and keep the area around the dryer clean and clutter-free
- Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the number of volatile chemicals on the clothes or consider hanging them to dry. If using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down period at the end of the cycle.
- Avoid using plastic, vinyl or aluminum foil venting materials
Dryer vents should be cleaned once a year; cleaning is relatively inexpensive. According to Angie’s List, a cleaning typically costs between $100 and $150, depending on the length and location of the vent. In addition to the reduced threat of fire, a cleaning can pay for itself over time through improved efficiency with less drying time required.
To schedule your dryer vent cleaning, call Anderson Brothers Steamatic at 800-968-2453.