Dryer Safety Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

dryer vent cleaningDid you know that average U.S. household cleans 50 pounds of laundry every week? Over the course of a year, a family of four could easily generate more than a ton of dirty clothes; that’s a lot of stress to place on your washer and dryer. As you can imagine, quite a bit of lint can build up and accumulate in your dryer over time. When this happens, not only does your dryer have to work harder, but it also places your family in danger. According to Consumer Reports, dryers cause more than $80 million in property damage each year. The majority of this damage is attributed to fires due to lint build-up inside and around the dryer, most of which could have easily been avoided through routine maintenance and annual cleaning.

Signs Your Dryer is at Risk

How do you know if your dryer is a fire risk? There are some signs that may signal your dryer needs immediate attention. These include:

  • Excessive heat in the room where the dryer is located
  • A musty odor after it runs
  • Lack of lint in the trap after each cycle
  • Debris accumulating around the outside vent opening
  • Clothes that do not dry after a typical 40-minute cycle

Pay close attention to how hot your dryer is to the touch (especially the top of the machine) after each load, as this too can be a sign your dryer is not working properly and may become a fire risk.

How to Prevent Dryer Fires

Most dryer fires can be prevented with a small investment of time and money over the life of the appliance. Follow these simple steps, if you want to keep your family safe:

  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry – if it builds up, lint can block air flow, making it harder for your dyer to work properly
  • At least once a month, clean inside, outside and under the dryer – pay close attention to the duct connection areas and back vents
  • Frequently check and clean the outside exhaust vent – if the air cannot escape, it can easily create a fire hazard
  • Place larger, heavier items on a clothes line to dry – comforters, pillows and other oversized items place too much stress on your dryer

In addition, you should also replace older plastic and wire exhaust ducts with rigid, non-ribbed metal ducts. Unlike the older accordion-style ducts, the newer metal ducts do not have areas where dust and debris can collect and the metal is more resistant to heat, which significantly reduces the fire threat inherent with older exhaust systems.

Finally, have your dryer vents professionally cleaned by an HVAC specialist each year. Many a/c companies provide this service, which includes cleaning out the ventilation pipes where most people cannot reach without the proper tools, as well as the exhaust system and vents. Prices and services vary, so be sure to ask what is included before hiring anyone. It’s also important to work with certified technicians to ensure the work is done correctly.

If you live in Northeast Florida, contact Cool Connections today to schedule a dryer vent cleaning. Our NATE certified technicians are experienced and can help keep your home safe. Call 904-9008-5252 for an appointment or to learn more about our HVAC services.