Nobody likes to think of fire breaking out and destroying their homes or possessions, let alone perhaps even taking the lives of loved ones. No doubt to mitigate this danger, you’ve installed smoke detectors, your wiring is up to code and you periodically check your home for situations that could be fire hazards.
But here’s one fire hazard you may not have thought of: Do you ever check the dryer vent?
Nationwide, around 3000 dryer fires occur every year in this country. Most of these fires occur when lint from the drying clothing catches fire.
Okay, so most of us do bother to clean that lint filter regularly. However, not all the lint is captured in the filter. Lint, which is highly combustible, also travels through the vent system along with the moist air that’s being exhausted as the clothes dry. Lint can accumulate in the dryer vent and reduce airflow, creating a fire hazard. Furthermore, many modern homes have long, twisting vented systems that make it more difficult for lint to be exhausted, compounding the risk of accumulation.
Another type of blockage may occur when small birds or rodents build nests in the dryer vents. Also, the dryer venting system may be damaged and not properly exhaust excess lint and moisture to the outdoors.
Fires that are ignited in the vent may spread rapidly to the clothes in the dryer and to surrounding items in the laundry room or garage.
Fires can also be started when lint accumulates on the heating element and at other locations inside the dryer, causing it to heat up and ignite.
Preventing Dryer Fires
Of course, a smoke alarm should be installed where you operate your clothes dryer. There should always be an adult at home (and awake) while the clothes are drying; a smoke alarm, unless it’s alerting emergency personnel, isn’t much good if no one is home to hear it.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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