Preventing Dryer Vent Fires

By Robert Robillard on Home And Personal Safety


Image: allianceairqualityservices.com

Dryer Duct and Vent Fires

Dryer vents should be cleaned in order to increase the airflow through your dryer and as a major step toward preventing dryer vent fires.

By cleaning your dryer vent regularly, you increase airflow efficiency, decrease cost of dryer operation, reduce the amount of time required for clothes drying and prevent plug ups which cause problems.

Yearly Dryer Related Fires

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that over 15,000 dryer-related fires occur each year, causing an estimated $ 97 million in property loss.

Lint Buildup Is the Culprit

Clothing lint builds up inside the dryer vent, on the heating element and in other places in the dryer, reducing airflow, cause it to run hotter, overheat, waste energy and very possibly catch on fire.

Clogged dryer vents cause your dryer to work harder and greatly increase the time it takes to dry your clothes [up to 2 or 3 times more] which wastes energy and increases your operating / energy costs!

Signs Of A Duct Blockage

1. It takes a long time to dry your clothing.
2. Clothing is hotter than usual at the end of the drying cycle.
3. The vent flap on outside vent hood does not open when dryer is on.
4. The dryer shuts off early, before the timer ends its drying cycle.

Tips To Increase Dryer Efficiency

Inside the Dryer:

Empty the lint screen each time you use the dryer.

Use a vacuum with a nozzle attachment to clean in the lint trap and any place it will reach.

Every three years, have the dryer taken apart and thoroughly cleaned by a professional.

Outside the Dryer

Keep dryer ducts as short and as straight as possible. [Check your dryers manufacturers specifications for duct lengths and follow them]

Check the outside exhaust vent to make sure dryer exhaust air is escaping, visually inspect that the exterior vent flap is opening and there are no clogs.

Disconnect, clean and inspect your dryer duct run on a regular basis.
[photo below of a duct cleaning brush]


Image: repairclinic.com

Use Metal Duct-Work

Use only metal ducts. Avoid the flimsy plastic or foil ducts.

Check for kinks in the duct, crushed sections, excessive amounts of elbows or long duct runs; all of which, which can greatly reduce the airflow. The less turns or bends in the duct the more efficient.


Images: appliance411.com

Avoid pushing the dryer tight to the back wall to avoid crushing the duct. Consider installing a dryer box. A Dryerbox “safely and efficiently collects the flex transition hose, allowing the dryer to be installed flush against the wall.” See photo:

Avoid Kinks in duct.

BEFORE: installing a Dryer Box:

AFTER: installing a Dryer Box:

stay safe ~ concord carpenter

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor / Video Talent

Robert Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter and editor of AConcordCarpenter.com and principal of a full service renovation company located in Concord, Massachusetts; A Concord Carpenter, LLC. Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals, he also hosts the Concord Carpenter Cable TV Show, offering the do-it-yourself audience in Boston’s Meto West region expert advice on home repairs and maintenance. On his website, Rob covers all aspects of home improvement, remodeling, and specializes in problem solving for home maintenance. Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter’s motto: “Well done is better than well said!”. Rob is a a regular contributor to DIY magazine Extreme-How-To Magazine and assistant editor at ToolBoxBuzz. He is also a tool safety and training coordinator for Push America on their Build America project.

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Comments

  1. Concord Carpenter says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your question. I will post my response today at my home page on todays date.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the information. I have a venting dilemma.
    In order to vent outside from the basement of my colonial with several additions, I either have to vent about 15 feet using 5 elbows, or 23 feet using 3 elbows. I want to use stiff metal vents. I could get away with 2 elbows on the longer run if I use one bendable hosed in one section. I'm going through an old exterior wall cellar window that is now an interior wall, and then to the outside from the addition.
    Which is safer if either? Thanks, Mark

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