Clothes dryers are a great convenience in our lives. We often take them for granted and forget to take the time to inspect them periodically and make sure that they are not becoming fire hazards. Dryer vent fires are commonplace with thousands occurring each year. One of the main causes is excessive lint in the dryer vents. Here are some warning signs of lint build up:
- Clothes do not dry completely on the normal cycle
- It takes longer to dry clothes
- Large amounts of lint are in the lint trap
- Clothing is hot to touch after the cycle ends
- The outside dryer vent has a lot of lint or debris around it
Keep in mind, cleaning your dryer vent is not just taking lint out of the lint trap. It involves clearing out the connections to the dryer. These vents could be 15-25 feet long. In most cases, your best bet is to hire a pro to handle the job.
Here are a few safety tips to decrease debris in your dryer vents:
- Limit the use of dryer sheets, cut them in half or switch to regular liquid fabric softener
- Keep air flow better by limiting your dryer time to 30-40 minutes per wash load
- Avoid drying heavy items (comforters, pillows, etc.) in the dryer
- Check your outside vent for debris
- Clear the outside vent area from any blockage-especially important if you live in a high snow area.
You want to keep your appliance running efficiently and give it a longer life span. More importantly, you want to prevent one of the 15000+ fires a year related to dryer issues. Don’t become a statistic because of lint. Take the time to look for the warning signs of lint buildup in your dryer vents.