Fires caused by obstructed home dryer vents are not uncommon. Dryers are the main culprit in more than 90% of house fires that are attributed to laundry units. Dryers combine two very flammable elements: high temperatures and fabric lint. If the combustion temperature is reached, excessive lint that has accumulated inside the dryer vent pipe may ignite and cause an extremely high-temperature fire that may spread rapidly into the structure of the house.
Home dryer ventilation ducts are designed to exhaust heat to the exterior of the house in order to maintain safe temperatures inside the dryer. The dryer incorporates a lint trap that filters out loose lint and prevents it from accumulating inside the vent pipe, where it may ignite.
Here are some ways to protect your home and family from dryer fires. Be sure to know the warning signs. A clogged dryer vent often produces certain symptoms.
It takes an unusually long time to dry clothes.
You notice lint particles escaping from the dryer while it’s running — often around the dryer-door seal.
Lint particles are noticeable on dried clothes.
The automatic safety shut-off turns the dryer off because internal temperatures have reached dangerous levels due to a clogged vent pipe. This is the most serious warning.
Clean the lint trap before every load. Remove any lint clinging to dryer vents with your fingers or with a brush. For best results, remove the lint trap and wash it in a sink with warm, soapy water at regular intervals.
Schedule professional preventative maintenance. Maintenance on dryer vents should be performed once a year by a certified technician. The process includes inspecting the entire length of the vent pipe for blockages, kinks, leakage, and other issues. The vent pipe, as well as the dryer, are vacuumed to remove any residual lint or other material.
For more information on safety issues related to dryer vents, contact the professionals at Energy 1 Heating & Air Conditioning.
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