The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 75 million U.S. households have either a gas or electric clothes dryer. They go on to state that in one year more than 15,000 fires resulting in $80 million dollars in property damage, 300 injuries, and 20 deaths were attributable to clothes dryer fires.
Electric dryers are more than 2.5 times more likely to cause fires than gas dryers, probably due to the higher heat discharge. Because fires usually originate from lint buildup in the dryer vent or lint trap, the higher heat is more likely to ignite a fire in these two places.
Although safety standards for dryer vents have been developed over the years, improper venting and lint buildup occurs quite often because there is still considerable confusion about dryer vent systems and their maintenance.
Proper Venting and Maintenance
For both gas and electric dryers, rigid and semi-rigid metal vent pipes are the accepted methods for venting according to Underwriters Laboratories’ voluntary safety standards. Although metal has always been the preferred material for dryer venting, white plastic hose kits were often sold and installed as dryer venting. These kits are combustible, and a major contributing factor in many dryer vent fires. While they are not sold for this purpose any longer, some homes still vent their dryers utilizing this dangerous product.
In 2006 Underwriters Laboratories established UL2158A as an approved standard for flexible dryer venting. However, if you are installing or replacing your vent, it is important not to confuse dryer vent ductwork with other flexible metal duct, which is not rated for high temperatures.
What to Look For
If you want to make sure your dryer is as safe as possible, while the dryer is running, check the outside dryer vent for a strong discharge of warm air. If you don’t feel this, your vent or duct may be blocked. Other symptoms of a clogged venting system are clothes that take longer to dry, don’t fully dry, or are hotter than usual at the end of the drying cycle. Also watch for an excessively hot dryer, a burnt smell in the laundry room, or your laundry room becoming more humid than usual.
You can do several things to help prevent a dryer fire including cleaning the lint filter after every load, keeping the area behind and around the dryer free from lint and combustible materials, correct improper venting, and once every couple of years, have a qualified service technician clean the interior of the dryer chassis.
Air Care Services Dryer Vent Cleaning – Naperville
If you are not sure the last time your dryer vent was checked and cleaned, you may be at risk of a fire occurring in your home. Air Care Services can send out an experienced dryer vent cleaner in Naperville to inspect your dryer, remove any lint buildup, and replace any improper ductwork with ducting that is appropriately rated for your appliance. Give us a call today at (630)-963-2099 to book a dryer vent inspection/cleaning and keep your home and family safe.