The majority of us use our clothes dryers several times a week without realizing what a fire hazard the appliance and its venting system can be. In 1998, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found clothes dryers were associated with approximately 15,600 residential fires that unfortunately resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Most of these fires were caused by lack of maintenance like not having the dryer vent system professionally cleaned on an annual basis. Although, improper installation and incorrect duct material also contributed to these fires. At Ashbusters, we have experienced dryer exhaust technicians who can perform the annual recommended vent cleaning and inspection to prevent your clothes dryer from being a dangerous fire hazard. To bring public awareness to this danger, the CPSC released a safety alert about overheated clothes dryers causing fires, and we wanted to share with you a few of the tips from this alert to help keep you safe from a possible clothes dryer fire.
Most importantly, schedule a professional annual cleaning of your dryer venting and exhaust system.
Many homeowners do not even realize they should have the venting and exhaust system of their clothes dryer professionally cleaned every year. However, to prevent a devastating house fire, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), and other fire safety organizations all recommend an annual cleaning of your dryer’s venting and exhaust system. To guarantee this procedure is done properly, schedule the cleaning with an experienced dryer exhaust technician such as one of our qualified technicians at Ashbusters.
Always clean your lint screen filter before or after every load you dry.
Even this small step helps prevent a fire caused by your clothes dryer. If you ever notice damp clothes after a complete drying cycle or if clothes are taking a longer time than usual to dry, these are signs that the lint screen or exhaust duct is clogged.
In between annual cleanings, clean the outside exhaust vent periodically.
While your dryer is in use, feel for air coming out of the outside dryer vent to be sure the exhaust air is escaping properly. If you cannot feel any air, there is more than likely a lint accumulation clogging that duct. The exhaust vent from the dryer may have to be disconnected to remove this clog. Do not forget to reconnect the ducting to the dryer and to the outside vent before using the dryer again.
Change all plastic or foil accordion-type ducting material to rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal ducting material.
Specified for use by most clothes dryer manufacturers, rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal ducting material allows for maximum air flow. Accordion-type duct work actually traps lint inside the folds and creates more clogging and blockages.
Keep the area around your dryer clean.
Remove all clutter, including baskets of clothing, from the area around your clothes dryer. You want to be sure this area is always clean and clutter-free as an important step towards fire prevention.
When was the last time you had a professional cleaning of your clothes dryer exhaust system? Click here to contact Ashbusters to set up an appointment with one of our dryer exhaust technicians.