Your clothes dryer is an appliance that makes life easier, but it can also be a hazard in your home if not maintained properly. When dryer vents become clogged or blocked, it presents a potential fire hazard. You may also notice that it takes your clothes dryer longer to dry your clothes; this is due to inefficient air flow.
Each year, there are thousands of house fires associated with clothes dryers. It is essential that you periodically perform certain tasks to ensure that your clothes dryer runs efficiently, and that your home and family are not in danger of a potential fire.
Dryer vents may become clogged with lint, dirt and other materials. They may also be crushed or restricted, meaning that the hot air cannot escape through the exhaust properly. Always avoid placing rugs or other objects underneath your dryer, as this can block air flow. It is also important that you do not place your clothes dryer too close to the wall, as it may cause the exhaust hose to become crimped, which prohibits lint and warm air from escaping.
How can you clean dryer vents yourself? At least one time per year, disconnect the hose and inspect it for a buildup of lint both inside and out. A vacuum cleaner or stiff-bristled brush is usually sufficient to remove the lint that may have accumulated. Also check the area where the vent hose connects to the dryer to make sure it is clean and free of dirt and lint.
The build-up of lint is the most common cause of house fires related to clothes dryers, so you may want to have a professional clean your dryer vents and ductwork. If you do decide to do it yourself, always be sure to unplug your dryer to prevent the possibility of electrocution. Clean lint filters each time you dry a load of clothes to help prevent the build-up of lint.
T.F. O’Brien services the Long Island, New York area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about preventive maintenance and other HVAC topics, please download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.