dryer vent cleaningIf you’ve inspected your clothes dryer, but can’t determine whether or not you need dryer vent cleaning, here are some common indicators that your vents need to be cleaned.

#1: Your Dryer Takes More Than One Cycle to Dry. If your dryer is taking longer than one cycle to dry, this is an indicator that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned. Because your dryer needs free airflow to dry properly, any obstruction in the vent can reduce the efficiency of the dryer’s performance. If your dryer is not drying, this can mean that your vent is clogged with excess lint and dust. Call your local appliance repair specialist and schedule an appointment to have your dryer vent cleaned as soon as possible.

#2: You Haven’t Had Your Vent Cleaned in More Than a Year. The United States Fire Administration recommends that you have your dryer vent cleaned periodically by a qualified service professional. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your dryer vent cleaned, consider scheduling an appointment within the next month or two. With dryer fires occurring most commonly during the fall and winter months, we recommend scheduling regular service in the late summer so your unit is performing at its optimal condition during the ‘hazard months.’

#3: Your Hose Is Attached, But There is Excessive Lint Around the Outside Vent. If everything looks good inside your laundry room, but there is lint accumulating around the vent outside of your home, it is a good idea to have your vent cleaned. The lint build-up has likely adhered to the inside of the hose and ventilation system. A service professional will have special tools to remove lint stuck on the inside of the vent hose.

 

The United States Fire Administration
Reports on Dryer Fires

In August 2012, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) released an eleven-page case study titled, “Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2011).” According to the study, an estimated 2,900 dryer fires are reported in residential buildings each year, resulting in 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and an upward of $35 million dollars in property damage. Seventy-one percent of these fires occurred in single-family homes.

FACT: 34% of Residential Dryer Fires are Preventable

According to the USFA, forty-seven percent of residential dryer fires are caused by “operational deficiency.” Operational deficiency is defined as an error that occurs during operation such as overheating and blocked airflow. Seventy-four percent of operational deficiencies result because of the owner’s failure to clean the dryer’s vent. Translation: 34% of all dryer fires are caused by dirty vents, and therefore completely preventable.

FACT: 82% of Dryer Fires Occur in Designated Laundry Room Spaces

Consider where your dryer is located. Eighty-two percent of residential dryer fires occur in rooms specifically designed as laundry areas. Because of the laundry room’s confined area, the dryer hasless space to accommodate necessary ventilation hoses, which can often result in more extensive clogging and accumulation of dryer lint. Other dryer locations were reportedly safer with only 2.6% fires occurring in garages and other open structure spaces.

 

United States Fire Administration Recommendations:

  • Have your clothes dryer installed by qualified personnel.
  • Clean the lint filter before and after each cycle. Do not forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up.
  • Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged, crushed, or restricted.
  • Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is operating.
  • The interior of the dryer and venting system should be serviced and cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel.
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
  • Have gas-powered dryers inspected by a professional annually to ensure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  • Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.